The Malling-Hansen Writing Ball is an early typewriter, invented in 1865. The Writing Ball was the first commercially produced typewriter. Malling-Hansen was a Danish inventor and director of the Royal Deaf Institute in Copenhagen, he developed the typewriter specifically for deaf and blind people. Friedrich Nietzsche had one, Nietsche was so taken with Malling-Hansen’s creation that he typed a little ode to it.

“The writing ball is a thing like me:
made of iron
Yet easily twisted on journeys.
Patience and tact are required in abundance,
As wel as fine fingers, to use us.”

The way a tool is designed impacts the use. Different usage of the tool will influence the result. For example the Malling-Hansen Writing Ball where Nietsche was a fan of. One of Nietsche’s closest friends, writer and composer Heinrich Koselitz, noticed a change in the style of his writing. Nietsche’s prose had become tighter more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” Koselitz wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, “my ‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.” “you are right,” Nietzsche replied. “Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.”

Carr, Nicholas. The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. WW Norton & Company, 2011, p. 18.


Avnskog, Sverre. “Friedrich Nietzsche and His Typewriter – a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball.” The
International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society: Friedrich Nietzsche’s Typewriter —-Free
Download—-, Malling-Hansen Society, 2 Feb. 2008, www.malling-hansen.org/friedrich-nietzsche-
and-his-typewriter-a-malling-hansen-writing-ball.html.


Carr, Nicholas. The shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. WW Norton & Company,
2011, p. 18.


Blechinger, Joel. “‘Our Writing Tools Are Also Working on Our Thoughts’: Kittler, Nietzsche, and
Richler’s Facit TP1.” & Between Media & Literature, 5 Jan. 2018, www.amplab.ca/2017/10/12/
writing-tools-also-working-thoughts-kittler-nietzsche-richlers-facit-tp1/.