Miss Europe = Hansen Schrivekugle
The first commercially successful typewriter is Danish. Its spiritual father is ... a Father. Reverend Rasmus Hans Malling Johan Hansen (1835-1890) is the director of an institute for the deaf, and the archetype of a 19th century inventor. The first prototype of his "Skrivekugle" is ready in 1865.
Incredibly fine mechanics
The Hansen writing balls are masterpieces of precision mechanics. A porcupine with 52 quills, on which the pupils can learn to type 'blind' (sic). They all point to a central point and each letter has been obliquely cast with the utmost precision to ensure straight printing. Under the central pressure point, the paper glides past. In the first versions this is flat, but later bent into a half bow.
First mass production
From 1870 onwards, the writing ball goes into production: both in Denmark and - under license - in Austria. Hundreds are made, even Nietzsche uses one. Sadly, this beautiful design is also the reason that this curious writing machine was defeated by the offshoots of the Sholes & Glidden.
Incredibly high prices
A Hansen is for most collectors the 'nec plus ultra'.