I can believe that the typing might be fast, but changing the paper looks complicated.


The Malling-Hansen writing ball was the world’s first commercially produced typewriter, and it was sold world wide. For his invention, Malling-Hansen received the First Price medals at the Scandinavian Art, Agricultural and Industrial Exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and 1888, at the World Exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1878 and at the Philadelpia Centennial in 1876. It was also exhibited on the first annual Kensington Exhibition in London in 1871.

The first model was patented in 1870, but soon went through a lot of improvements, even though the “ball” itself remained the same. On the picture to the right, the writing ball has gained it’s well known shape in 1878. The writing ball was not only the first typewriter to be produced and sold in a relatively large quantity, it is also the fastest typewriter ever made, because of the unique construction of the “ball”. Malling-Hansen was experimenting with the placement of the letters already in 1865 – and he succeeded in finding a placement of the letters that made the writing speed extremely fast. Not many people know that the traditional qwerty-keyboard was designed with the goal of preventing the arms from “hanging up” in each other, and in no way was designed to get the fastest writing speed – on the contrary!

via The International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society: The Writing Ball.