The first electric typewriter was introduced in 1874 by Rasmus Malling-Hansen (see Wiki). Harper’s Weekly (Jan. 15, 1876) noted, “The race of fingers on keys in the type composing machine against fingers at the printer’s case has been adverted to in one of the earlier articles in this series. Another contest has arisen, and that is fingers on keys in printing letters, against the fingers with the pen in ordinary writing. It is claimed that a few hours’ practice will enable a person to write as quickly as with a pen, and by continuous practice a speed of five times that of ordinary writing may be acquired.”
The “Hansen Type-Writer,” more commonly the Writing Ball, was sold throughout Europe. These machines are exceedingly rare today. A CGI video of a mechanical Writing Ball is offered here. An unpacking video of a Writing Ball for the blind is offered here.
Full scan of the Harper’s Weekly page (click image to view full page):
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