Hansen Writing Ball (Commercial) (Denmark), 1878
This is a Hansen Writing Ball (Commercial).
Among the first commercially successful mechanical writing devices was the "writing ball," invented by Rasmus Malling-Hansen, a Danish teacher of the deaf, who wanted to provide a mechanical means of communication for the deaf and mute. In 1870, he patented a working model of the machine in Europe and received the first of three U.S. patents in 1872. The application for his "Type Writing-Machine" (US Patent 125,952), detailed how type-carrying plungers made an imprint on a paper wrapped on a cylinder. Controlled by a pendulum or electricity, the machine’s spring-driven mechanism rotated the cylinder line by line and letter by letter. He suggested that the "types"—today called "keys"—should be arranged in two clusters, vowels for the left hand, consonants for the right., Early adopters like German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche had embraced the writing ball long before businesses made typewriters viable on a mass scale.
It is credited
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, On deposit from Wyckoff, Seamans and Benedict, Cat. 181005.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 22.9 x 22.2 x 20.3 cm (9 in. x 8 3/4 in. x 8 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.