Who Invented the Typewriter?

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Several inventors created typing machines similar to a typewriter. The first person to develop, patent and mass-produce a typing machine was Rasmus Malling-Hansen of Denmark. Malling-Hansen first patented his writing ball in 1870, but continued to update and improve his typing machine for nearly a decade.

Rasmus Malling-Hansen received critical acclaim for his version of the typewriter. His writing ball used keys with a single character on each key. These were arranged in a spherical shape above a piece of paper held on a cylinder. The machine won awards at the World Exhibitions in Vienna, the Scandinavian Art, Agricultural and Industrial Exhibitions in Copenhagen, and the Philadelphia Centennial.

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously owned a Malling-Hansen writing ball. Some of Nietzsche’s original typed works have been preserved and displayed by the Malling-Hansen Society.