Hansen, Hans Rasmus Johan Malling

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen (1835-1890), better known as Malling-Hansen was the inventor of the Hansen Writing Ball, which is the very first version of a typewriter.

Malling-Hansen came from a rather poor family and he lost his father at a very young age. As a little boy, he went into foster care - his guardian being his school teacher Rasmus Malling. He later took the name of his guardian and school teachers.

Malling-Hansen became a teacher himself and later studied theology at the University of Copenhagen with the help of Grev Frederik Marcus Knuth at Knuthenborg.

As a student, Malling-Hansen was hired as a teacher at the Royal Institute of the Deaf in Copenhagen and later became the principal at the Royal institute of the Deaf in Slesvig.

As a teacher for the deaf and the mute, Malling-Hansen realised that signwriting was way faster to use than pen and ink. The deaf could write three times as many signs per second compared to the hearing, a speed Malling-Hansen wished to transfer to a fast typewriter. This became lead to the invention of the Hansen Writing Ball, which he took out a patent for in 1870. It became the first typewriter in the world with a speed of up to 800 strokes per minute. The Hansen Writing Ball was awarded many medals in e.g. the world exhibition in 1873 in Wien and 1878 in Paris.

Malling-Hansen was knighted by Dannebrog.

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