Articles about Rasmus Malling-Hansen

Rasmus Malling-Hansen, 1835-1890, Danish inventor, scientist, minister and pricipal of The Royal Institution for Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen. Photo: Private

On this page you can read articles about Rasmus Malling-Hansen from different newspapers and periodicals, dating from 1884 to 1935. All articles will be pubished first in the original language, usually Danish, and then translated into English language by member of the Malling-Hansen Society and great grand-son of Malling-Hansen's brother, Johan Frederik Hansen; Jørgen Malling Christensen.

All articles are richly illustrated and contain comments and footnotes by Rasmus Malling-Hansen connesseurs, Christian Barnholdt, Sverre Avnskog and Jørgen Malling Christensen.

Rasmus Malling-Hansen – the Danish Inventor-Priest by Sverre Avnskog, 2006

Biography by Sverre Avnskog

 

 

Scrutinizing old descriptions of Rasmus Malling-Hansen, written by his contemporaries, it strikes you what a deep impression he must have made on those who met him in the flesh.  He is described as having a military officer’s figure with the charisma of an artist – and as an optimist who can be described by only using the most fiery colours – quoting some of the characteristics provided by his contemporaries. At the time of his sudden death in 1890 – only 55 years old, this man hailing from a humble background in the Danish countryside had become an internationally known figure, having put Denmark’s name on the international map, a friend of the king, had given lectures at international medical congresses and at Nordic teacher’s meetings and had sold patents in countries all over Europe. Besides, he was a much beloved father figure for many of society’s “outcast”. He dedicated his professional career to fighting for the cause of the weakest, the deaf-mute children who could neither hear nor speak, and in everything he undertook he was an innovator and a visionary reformer, for whom nothing was too small or insignificant not to be worth further investigation. His work with the deaf-mute was also the foundation for his inventions and scientific research. The idea for his most well-known invention – the writing ball, came from his observation of the speed of the sign language in comparison with handwriting, and his ground-breaking discoveries of children’s growth in cycles had their origin in the framework of his care for the welfare of deaf-mute children and investigations into whether their growth and development were satisfactory.

 

 

Malling-Hansen portreyed in 1860...
1877
1885
...an 1887. All photos from private collection

Childhood and Youth.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was born at Hunseby, Maribo, on the island of Lolland in 1835. His mother, Juliane Matzen, was a daughter of the lessee of Knuthenborg Manor, however she grew up in the home of teacher and cantor Rasmus Malling and his family. Rasmus Malling also became foster father of Juliane’s children after her husband and the father of her three sons, the teacher Johan Frederik Hansen, had died of typhus already after 5 years of marriage. After his death Juliane Hansen moved back into the house of her foster father, who assumed responsibility for Hans Rasmus (4 years), Thomas Jørgen (2 years) and Johan Frederik (1 year).

 

Juliane is referred to as being a very wise and sensible woman, and Rasmus Malling, hailing from Porsgrunn in Norway, was a courteous man, conversant with the company of counts and dukes, and growing up with these two people contributed to developing the self-confidence of Rasmus, as well as his ability to assert his opinions in a natural manner. Besides, he was a very able boy, noticed for his many talents, particularly in math and drawing, and his warm-hearted personality made him loved by everyone he met.

 

Education at the Jonstrup College and at the Faculty of Theology

 

Already at the time when he was studying for his confirmation as a young man, allegedly Rasmus had decided one day to become a priest; however, the prospects for a higher education were not bright, and so he began as an apprentice to a house-painter, and it was said that he never forgot his old skills. Many years later, when a house-painter had done a poor job on a door of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Malling-Hansen commented upon this, and the house-painter then asked whether perhaps he himself could do it better. And Malling-Hansen  took him up on it and by himself painted the door to his full satisfaction.

 

But somehow the rumours of the talented boy also reached the count of Knuthenborg, and thanks to his financial support Rasmus was able to enroll at the teacher training college of Jonstrup, where he passed his final exam in 1854, after merely two years of studies, with excellent marks. He worked for some time in the count’s employment as a private tutor, for his confirmation priest, and also as an assistant teacher at Maglemer School, before starting his theological studies in 1858 – still sponsored by the count. However, this did not last very long – in 1859 Malling-Hansen began his lifelong career at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, and this provided him an opportunity to fully develop his rich personality and make good use of his many talents. Interrupted by a couple of years as principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig, as well as some additional time dedicated to the theological studies, Malling-Hansen returned to the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen as a fully trained Bachelor of Theology in 1865, taking over the position as principal after the man that became his father-in-law that same year, Søren Johan Heiberg.

 

 

The teaching staff of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, photographed in 1861. Malling-Hansen is standing in the middle of the back row. On his right, seated, is the then principal, Søren Johan Heiberg, later to become Malling-Hansen’s father-in-law. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.

Husband and Caring Family Man

 

As a young man it is said that Malling-Hansen met a woman who made a lasting impression on him, Anna Steenstrup, the daughter of the local mayor cum chief of police in the district of Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. However, with the great social divides predominant in those days it was unthinkable that there could be a match between the young lad from the lower social layers of society and Anna, who belonged to the top social stratum of Copenhagen. Instead, Malling-Hansen was engaged and later married to Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, and already a year after their wedding their first of a total of seven daughters was born – Juliane (1866), followed in rapid succession by Engelke (1868), Emma (1869), Zarah (1870), Johanne (1873), Karen (1874) and Marie (1875). Malling-Hansen was a very loving and caring father, closely monitoring his daughters’ health and welfare, and the many letters that have been preserved from this period bring out the picture of a family with close and heartfelt ties – Malling-Hansen never forgot his mother and his two brothers and maintained a close relationship with them throughout his life.

 

However, Malling-Hansen was not spared tragedies in life – in 1876 he lost his beloved Cäthe in childbirth complications when she was delivering two more girls, and this must have been a very hard blow for Malling-Hansen’s sensitive mind. We don’t know who helped him with the 7 daugthers through these tough years, but after a few years he meets the love of his youth once again, and she had never forgotten her dear Rasmus and was still single – and in 1880 they married, Anna becoming a loving stepmother for the 7 girls.

 

 

Malling-Hansen's mother, Juliane Hansen, 1809-1885
First wife, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876
Malling-Hansen's children, Juliane, Engelke, Emma, Zarah, Johanne, Karen and Marie
Second wife, Anna Steenstrup, 1842-1897

Visionary Pedagogical Reformer

 

As principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Malling-Hansen promptly embarked upon a number of initiatives in order to improve the conditions of deaf-mute children.  The rate of sickness at the institute was high, as well as the mortality rate. In the initial period of the institute, 1839 – 1857, as many as 31% of the children died in the course of their stay, primarily succumbing to lung diseases. This was at a very early stage of the Danish education system, and there was still very poor understanding of children’s need for play and rest. They had to get up already at 5 o’clock in the morning, and in addition to the education they also had to work in the institute workshops every day until late evening. Malling-Hansen managed to increase and improve the outdoor recreation area, he made sure that they would work regularly outdoors in the garden and organized for them to have more free time. He also understood that the very limited space of the school had an important bearing on the spread of contagious diseases and made sure to make good use of all available teaching space. He prepared plans for an additional building and also for the installation of electricity, but unfortunately these plans were not approved by the authorities.

 

In 1868 Malling-Hansen undertook a study tour in Europe, the purpose being to study the teaching of deaf-mute in various countries. He became influenced by new ideas from Germany and wanted to try out new teaching methods also in Denmark. The deaf-mute pupils constituted a very heterogeneous group, ranging from what we today would call intellectually challenged, who could neither hear nor speak, to completely sane and otherwise normal pupils with some degree of hearing and speaking capacity. They were all provided the same kind of teaching according to the sign method. From an early stage on Malling-Hansen understood that it would be much more appropriate if the pupils were divided in accordance with their degree of hearing capacity and were taught by using methods better adapted to their abilities.  Consequently he pushed for the deaf-mute to be divided into three groups, namely the ‘proper deaf-mute’ who had no degree of hearing or ability to talk; the ‘not entirely deaf-mute’ with some degree of hearing and/or speaking; and finally the mentally challenged deaf-mute who not only lacked the ability to hear and speak but were also mentally handicapped. In cooperation with the Keller Institutions it was proposed in 1867 to divide these groups between the two institutions, and it was decided that the ‘proper deaf-mutes’ were to be taught at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in accordance with the sign method, while the Keller Institutions would teach the ‘not entirely deaf-mute’ in accordance with the speech method (lip reading), as well as the mentally challenged deaf-mutes, who would continue to be taught by means of the sign method.

 

This initiative was the first in the Nordic countries aiming at providing the deaf-mutes an education adapted to their specific capabilities, and it made Denmark a pioneer country in this field, initiated by Rasmus Malling-Hansen. He assumed a central role in the Nordic field of education for the deaf-mute and, among other things, chaired the chapter of deaf-mute issues at the big Nordic meeting for “abnormal schools” (= special education) in Stockholm 1876; the Danish authorities made use of him in the context of public planning commissions, and in 1890 he gave a major lecture about the development of the education for deaf-mutes in Denmark, addressing educationalists from all Nordic countries.

 

Malling-Hansen also wanted some of the ‘proper deaf-mutes’ to be taught in accordance with the speech method, realizing clearly that some of the pupils would be benefited by this method, and this aspect – in conjunction with the constantly increasing need for space, since the pupil target group was growing constantly-  made him in 1879 present a proposal for the establishment of a new public Institute for the Deaf-Mute, suggesting that such an institute be situated in a provincial town in Jutland. The authorities accepted his proposal, and in 1880 the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Fredericia was established. The last time the authorities made use of Malling-Hansen’s great competence was when he led the public commission established in 1888 with the authority to analyze and plan future organizing of education for the deaf-mute in Denmark, and Malling-Hansen served as secretary, formulating the proposal. It was discussed by the political establishment in 1890 and practically all the proposals of the commission were put into practice, albeit this was only after Malling-Hansen’s death. It was decided to set up yet another school for the deaf-mute at Nyborg, the state took over the private institutes for the deaf-mute after Johan Keller, and all deaf-mute pupils were from now on enrolled for a year at pre-school level in Fredericia. This served to examine and evaluate their abilities to learn and to hear, such that they could continue their education in the following year at the institute where method and teaching modes corresponded in the best way possible with their abilities.  By this, Malling-Hansen’s visions had been implemented – thanks to his initiatives a solution had been found that satisfied the needs for adapted education in accordance with the most modern pedagogical methods; deaf-mute pupils were provided very satisfying living conditions, and the need for additional space had also been well accommodated. During Malling-Hansen’s later periods as principal the mortality  at the institute had gone down markedly  and was by now lower than for corresponding groups of children with hearing ability. At Malling-Hansen’s death in 1890 the deaf-mute community showed their gratitude by appearing in their hundreds at his funeral. They had lost a true friend and a caring father figure and protector!

 

 

Teachers and children at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, photographed in 1881. Malling-Hansen is number 4 from the right in the back row. Photo: Historical Society for the Deaf.
Two early writing ball models
Both built for the first time in 1871

Inventor of the Writing Ball.

 

Parallel with his tasks as a principal, Malling-Hansen also worked on the idea of constructing a machine for speed writing. It is feasible that he wanted to help the deaf-mute to be able to express themselves in writing, but at any rate we know that it was the very speed by which one can communicate, using sign language, that gave him the idea of his typewriter. By means of hand signs one could “speak” up to 12 signs per second, while it was only possible to write a mere 4 signs per second, using pen and paper. It was this dexterity of the hand that Malling-Hansen wanted to take advantage of in designing a typewriter, and from Johanne Agerskov’s book “Who was the Inventor of the Typewriter?” we know that Malling-Hansen in 1865 was conducting experiments with a hemisphere of porcelain on which he had drawn the letters, and using his brother-in-law as timekeeper he experimented with alternative placements of the letters on the hemisphere with a view to  achieving the speediest typing. He ended by placing the letters most frequently used in such a way that they were pressed down by the deftest fingers. In addition, he put the vowels on the left hand side and the consonants to the right, such that the typist would use, as often as possible, a finger from the left and right hand, alternating each time. The end result of these measures was that one could type extremely fast on the writing ball, and 800 signs per minute were realistic to achieve for a trained writing ball typist. On the first model, patented by Malling-Hansen in 1870, the paper was put on a cylinder inside a wooden box, and the cylinder moved by means of an electrical battery.

 

Malling-Hansen traveled around with his writing ball, visiting various exhibitions in Europe. He was awarded the first prize medal at the industrial exhibition in Copenhagen in 1872, at the world exhibitions in Vienna in 1873, Philadelphia in 1876, Paris in 1878 and at the great art and industry exhibition in Copenhagen in 1888. He also had some commercial success, selling patents in England, Germany, Austria and the United States. He worked continuously to improve the writing ball, and in 1871 the cylinder was replaced by a platen that moved beneath the ball. Then in 1875 the first model of the well-known tall type appeared, featuring a mechanical solution to the movement of the paper instead of a battery. Thanks to his cooperation with skilled mechanics, and Malling-Hansen’s unique talent for finding technical and mechanical solutions, the writing ball had become a reality, based upon millimeter precision and industrial design of the very highest class. The first models of the writing ball were very expensive – the first version from 1870 cost as much as 1200 kroner, a very substantial sum at the time. However, the price steadily decreased in the course of the 1870s and 1880s, and the last model from 1888, issued with color ribbon and paper cylinder, cost only 150 kroner, and in fact the writing ball was cheaper than the typewriters that put it out of the market. The Remington machine did not have the typing speed of the writing ball, because it was equipped with linked typebars from the key to the letter, and the keyboard was the now so well-known qwerty-keyboard, which had been designed in order to prevent the typebars from jamming. Never the less, this was the machine that became market leader, and when Malling-Hansen died in 1890 his order for the production of 100 writing balls was cancelled, and no more writing balls were produced.

 

In our time the writing ball has once again risen to its proper place of honor and dignity. It is a highly coveted collectors’ item, and in particular in Germany there is considerable interest for the writing ball.  A price around 200 000 kroner is commonplace, however we have been told that a person in a high position in the Microsoft company bought a writing ball for no less than 1 million kroner. But in Denmark the interest is, strangely enough, not particularly great, and of the 9 writing balls owned by the National Museum of Science and Technology, at present only one is being exhibited.

 

Malling-Hansen also developed a duplication method that he called ‘xerography’, and by means of blue carbon paper and paper platens he was able to make as many as 100 copies in a few minutes. As far as we know it was Malling-Hansen who discovered the unique quality of the blue colour in copying. In addition, he also developed a machine for extreme speed-typing designed for use in large meetings as a substitute for a stenographer. According to Malling-Hansen it was possible to type up to 1200 signs per minute on this machine, called the tachygraph, and it had the same semispheric keyboard as the writing ball. Unfortunately no species of the tachygraph has been preserved, but we know it has been produced because there are photographs of a patent model.

 

 

 

The 1878-model of the writing ball, developed for the world exhibition in Paris, now with colour ribbon. Photo: Uwe Breker
The last model of the writing ball, designed by mechanic August Lyngbye with colour ribbon and paper platen. Photo: Sverre Avnskog
The tachygraph, patented in 1872 - for extremely fast speed typing

Scientific Researcher

 

Malling-Hansen did not lessen his efforts even after having invented the first commercially produced typewriter in the world. In connection with his monitoring of the health situation of the deaf-mute pupils, he wanted to investigate their growth and weight increase and started a grand scientific research project. With his usual meticulousness he wanted to weigh the pupils several times per day and had large scales made on which he could weigh the pupils in groups, such that the procedure was quick. Thanks to these weighing and measuring procedures he made a number of ground-breaking discoveries in relation to the growth of children. Until then it had been assumed that children grew steadily at an equal pace throughout the year, but Malling-Hansen discovered that children grew in cycles, independently of nourishment or time of the year but rather governed by some unknown factor. Malling-Hansen’s view was that this unknown factor was to be found in the variations of the sunlight, and he initiated grand and extensive measurements in various places on earth, from where the results were reported to him, and everywhere the same variations appeared, incidentally in humans as well as in nature generally. He gave a lecture at a big international medical congress in Copenhagen in 1884, and in 1886 published a book about his research and findings. The work was translated into German. Also in this area Malling-Hansen was a pioneer, and his research was ground-breaking. Thanks to his well developed talent for research and his ability to discern meaning and links even in the smallest items, Malling-Hansen made unique discoveries of connections that no-one else had seen before him.

 

But in 1890 it was all over. Malling-Hansen had for a long time suffered from angina and arteriosclerosis, and a massive heart failure ended his life as he was returning home from the freemason lodge on a dark autumn evening. He fell down on the street and died immediately. However, he managed to leave his personal mark in very many areas. He was truly an optimist – a man who did not settle for things as they were but rather had an unbreakable willpower to discover, think innovatively, develop further and invent. His care for the very weakest and smallest in society was unique and deeply rooted, and he reformed the Danish education for the deaf-mute. He invented the writing ball, still an object of fascination for those who appreciate unique industrial design, and he made ground-breaking and internationally recognized discoveries concerning children’s growth in cycles. Yet, he is next to unknown in Denmark today, and one may wonder why this is so? What is the reason why people in Denmark have not been more careful to preserve the memory of such a unique personality as Rasmus Malling-Hansen? It is not easy to come up with an answer, but hopefully a purposeful research endeavor into his work, and the presentation of the results in as many media as possible, will alert the relevant quarters. It is in this vein that yours truly hopes to be able to contribute by publishing the results of several years of study into the life of Malling-Hansen.

 

 

Bust made by the sculptor Ludvig Brandstrup
Brandstrup also did the memorial medallion on Malling-Hansen’s epitaph
The last photograph of Malling-Hansen, taken just a couple of months before his death

Toward the Light!

 

The Story of Rasmus Malling-Hansen would not be complete without a chapter describing what happened in his closest family in the decades after his death and about the book one of his daughters, Johanne, married Agerskov, published in 1920 and called Toward the Light! The last page of Toward the Light is, strangely enough, signed by the Danish inventor and pedagogical reformer, long since dead – and the year is 1916! This calls for further investigation, and the explanation why RMH could sign a document 26 years after his death is bound to surprise and amaze some people, but will probably also give rise to skepticism with others. At any rate, it is an exceedingly fascinating and well documented story, and all the persons involved were perfectly honest and talented people.

 

Johanne was married to lecturer and writer Michael Agerskov, 1870 – 1933, and in the beginning of the 20th century the couple made contact with the spiritistic milieu in Denmark and participated in table séances, leading to some extraordinary experiences for them. Through the contact with spiritual beings it became obvious that the extrasensory world was calling them, and gradually they realized that their help was wanted for carrying out particular deeds on earth; and the spirit who turned out to be the guide for their work was Johanne Agerskov’s late father – Rasmus Malling-Hansen, who in his discarnate state bears the name of Leo. Initially the Agerskov couple received poems and narratives from the spirits of dead people, but gradually the extrasensory spirits brought them deeply suffering spiritual beings who because of their sinful life were bound to wander about on earth or in the sphere of hell surrounded by Darkness – unaware that they were dead. And through the Agerskov’s loving prayer for them they were released from Darkness and could be taken home to their dwellings in the heavenly world, and subsequently God was able to erase the sphere of hell! This task culminated in March 1912, when the leader of mankind, Christ, brought them the spiritual being who has fallen deepest of them all: Lucifer – the Devil – Satan; he is known under many names, and according to Toward the Light! this was the spirit who together with his brothers and sisters succumbed to Darkness in the so called “fall of man” and caused life on earth to become a life in sin, sufferings and death for mankind instead of a life in a beautiful world of Light, such as God had originally planned it. And the Agerskovs forgave Ardor – as his name shall be from now on – the sin he had committed against them, and their prayer for him released him from Darkness, and the spirits of the light could take him home to God, who also immediately forgave him the sin and suffering he had caused. However, Ardor’s remorse and deep sufferings will not be over until each and every human being during their life on earth has forgiven him, and therefore God committed him to convey, after a year of resting, through the medium Johanne Agerskov the story of his fall and about his sins, whereby he ends by delivering an ardent prayer to the humans for forgiveness. And we are also told that if we forgive Ardor, we will be released from his curses and at the same time contribute to the power of Darkness in the earthly sphere slowly but surely fading away.

 

Ardor’s story is the basis of Toward the Light!, and in addition Leo has created an extensive comment to the story, in which he further develops and explains the themes taken up by Ardor. The text also contains a number of parables as well as a speech by Christ, and we are told that the work in which Michael and Johanne Agerskov participated was initiated by God, when He saw that the rising interest among humans in the 19th century in contact with the spirits could be utilized by the extrasensory side in order to seek contact with earthly assistants with which direct contact could be established, such that the many earthbound spirits could be won back into the Light, and many of the big issues concerning the origin of life, the struggle between good and evil, the true relationship to God etc, could be revealed to the humans. Christ was the one to lead this work from the extrasensory world, and Leo was one of his closest assistants.

 

Hence this is the explanation how there can be a book, published 30 years after Malling-Hansen’s death, bearing his name; in order to vouch for the veracity of the information provided through Toward the Light! he gave – in his capacity as the spiritual guide of the medium Johanne Agerskov – his name and his position from his last incarnation and let this be his testimony about his role in the elaboration of the book. How to assess this part of Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s life each and every person of course has to judge for himself and herself, but considering that Malling-Hansen in everything he did in his life was characterized by innovation, reformation and improvements, perhaps it is no wonder that he also after his death appears to be a person who wishes to take new knowledge and new truths to mankind, both in the area of religion and within science, history and ethics! He was a true scientist and innovator while he was alive – and appears to be exactly the same in his spiritual existence – through Toward the Light!, hereby recommended to everyone who seeks new answers to the age-old big enigmas and questions that humans have been pondering over for thousands of years!

 

See also www.toward-the-light.net

 

 

Oslo, October 11, 2006
Sverre Avnskog
Vice-President of “The International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society”

English Translation by

Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon om Rasmus Malling-Hansen

Rasmus Malling-Hansen, 1835-1890. Illustrasjon etter portrett fra 1885.

Research, transkribering og kommentarer af Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon var det største og mest ambitiøse danske leksikon i slutningen af 1800-tallet og begyndelsen af 1900-tallet. Salmonsens første udgave udkom i 18 bind i perioden mellem 1893 og 1911. Men allerede i 1912 besluttede forlaget at udgave en anden, aktualiseret udgave, og denne publiceredes mellem 1915 og 1928, plus et supplementsbind i 1930. Artiklen om Malling-Hansen, som vi bringer her, er fra leksikonets anden udgave. Artiklen er underskrevet F.B., og der er næppe tvivl om, at den er skrevet af Fritz August Bech, en nær kollega og ven til RMH – og desuden hans svigersøn. Vi håber at også kunne finde Salmonsens første udgave for at derfra bringe artiklen om RMH i denne, den første, version (hvis den adskiller sig fra anden udgaves artikel).

 

 

Malling-Hansen (egl. Hansen,  H a n s   R a s m u s  Ma l l i n g  J o h a n), dansk Døvstummelærer og Naturforsker, f. i Hunseby Skole ved Maribo 5. Septbr 1835, d. i Kbhvn 27. September 1890.  Efter Konfirmationen blev M.-H., der tidligt blev faderløs, sat i Malerlære, men senere ved Grev F.M. Knuth til Knuthenborgs Hjælp optaget som Elev paa Jonstrup Seminarium, hvorfra han dimitteredes med Udmærkelse 1854.  Saa kom et Aars Hjælpelærervirksomhed, før han, atter ved grevens Hjælp, naaede sit Maal fra Drengeaarene, at komme ind til Hovedstaden for at studere Teologi.  Student blev han 1858 og Aaret efter Lærer ved det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut.  Denne Stilling opgav han 1861 for paa Regensen at forberede sig til teologisk Embedseksamen; men saa traf det sig, at Regeringen ønskede en dansk Mand til Lærer og eventuelt Forstander ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig, og M.-H. greb chancen; 1862 blev han Lærer, 1864 Forstander for denne Anstalt.  Fortrængt ved Krigsbegivenhederne vendte han tilbage til Kbhvn og tog 1865 teologisk Embedseksamen, efter at han kort forinden, ved Prof. S. Heiberg’s Forflyttelse, var bleven konstitueret som Forstander og Præst ved det derværende Døvstummeinstitut.  M.-H.s Virksomhed i Døvstummevæsenenets Tjeneste har sat talrige Spor, særlig i Organisationen.  Det var efter hans Indstilling, Ministeriet 1867 foretog den første Deling af de Døvstumme i to Kategorier:  egentlige og uegentlige Døvstumme, til Optagelse henh. i Statsinstituttet og den private Keller’ske Anstalt; det var et efter ham udarbejdet Forslag, at det kgl. Døvtummeinstitut i Fredericia fremstod 1881, i hvilken Anledning han udnævntes til Underdirektør; og det var endelig ham, der skrev Kommissionsbetænkningen af 1889, der havde de Keller’ske Døvstummeanstalters Overgang til Staten og Opførelsen af den kgl. Døvstummeskole i Nyborg til Følge.  Ved de nord. Abnormskolemøder i Kbhvn 1872 og Sthlm 1875[1] indtog han en ledende Stilling.  For M.-H.s arbejdsomme Gemyt og frodige Tankeliv var Døvstummeundervisningens Omraade imidlertid for indskrænket. Hans Aand søgte videre Felter, men fandt dog, karakteristisk nok, altid Udgangspunkter i hans daglige Gerning;  saavel hans geniale Opfindelse af Skrivekuglen som hans Opdagelse af Perioderne i Børns Vækst har deres Anledning i Iagttagelser paa Døvstummeinstituttet.  Ved Syslen med Haandalfabetet var han saaledes kommen til at anstille Betragtninger over, med hvor forskellig Hurtighed  Tanker udtrykkes i Lyde og Tegn, og om der ikke var Mulighed for, parallelt med Haandalfabetet, at konstruere en Maskine til at gengive Lydene i en læselig Skriftform omtr. lige saa hurtig, som den mundtlige Tale frembringer dem.  Ud fra denne Idé konstruerede han 1870 sin Skrivekugle, der løste den Opgave at gengive Talen dobbelt saa hurtig som en Pen.  Men Resultatet af Opfindelsen, den første Form for en Skrivemaskine, blev, bortset fra den store Berømmelse, han høstede i Ind- og Udland, kun Skuffelse;  i Konkurrencen med Amerikanerne maatte Danskeren med Nødvendighed blive den lille.  Som biol. Naturforsker gik M.-H. sin egen Vej.  Naar han ønskede Svar paa et Livsspørgsmaal, der vedrørte hans Gerning, f. Eks. Børnenes Trivsel paa hans Institut, søgte han ikke Oplysning hos den ell. de Lærde, men anskaffede sig Apparater, vejede og maalte de døvstumme Drenge og Havens Træer, fandt den ene mærkelige Lov efter den anden og skabte sig saaledes en Førstehaandskundskab, der har bragt udenlandske Forf. til at nævne ham som en af vor Tids første Biologer.  Hans Hovedværk paa dette Omraade er ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme” (1886).   (Litt.:  ”Nutiden”, Nr. 526 og 527; 
L. F e i l b e r g,  ”Om sjælelig Ringhed”  (2.Hæfte. 1900);  F. B e c h: R.M.-H. i Helge Holst’s  “Opfindernes Liv” (1914).

F.B.

 


[1] JMC: Her er en fejl; mødet i Stockholm fandt sted den første uge af juni måned 1876.


Viggo Cavling about Rasmus Malling-Hansen, 1927

I boken brukes dette portrettet av Malling-Hansen fra 1885 med denne billedteksten: "Pastor Malling-Hansen", Leder af Døvstumme-Institutet og opfinder af ”Skrivekuglen”.
Viggo Louis Cavling, 1887-1946, dansk journalist, redaktør og forfatter. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912, cand. polyt., digter, filosof og psykolog. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Første side av kapittelet om Malling-Hansen i Viggo Cavlings bok, "Ludvig Heiberg og hans levelære".
"Perioder i Børns Vekst og i Solens Varme", eller Fragment III, som Malling-Hansen kalte dette tredje skriftet som han publiserte om sine veininger og målinger på dansk og tysk i 1886. Dette eksemplaret har en dedikasjon til hans andre hustru, Anna f. Steenstrup, 1842-1897.
I følge Jan William Rasmussen ved Døvehistorisk Selskab har de flere hundre slike kladdebøker med målinger og veininger etter Malling-Hansen i sin samling. Denne blå kladdeboken har påskriften "VI. Vejninger af Drenge før og Efter Middagsmaaltidet"
Kladdebøkene har ulike farger og denne har påskriften, "VI. Vejninger af Drenge før og efter Middagsmaaltidet. 1888-90".
"IIe. Vejninger af Piger Morgen og Aften. Beg. 23. marts 1886" er tittelen på denne grønne kladdeboken.
"Drængenes Middagsvægt 1888".
Alle resultater ble særdeles sirlig og nøyaktig innført. Her fra 1886.

Viggo Cavlings[1] bog: Ludvig Feilberg og hans Levelære – et afsnit om Malling-Hansen


Transkription, kommentarer og fodnoter af Jørgen Malling Christensen, med tillegg av Sverre Avnskog

 

Malling-Hansen og Ludvig Feilberg var nære venner, og Malling-Hansen var – som den ældre og mere erfarne – en mentor for Ludvig. Ludvig og tillige hans bror kaptajn Gustav Feilberg (1836 – 1895 eller 1896) var desuden medlemmer af samme frimurerloge som RMH. Vi har hidtil kun fundet et enkelt brev fra korrespondancen mellem RMH og LF: brevet af den 2 oktober 1886[2], hvori Malling-Hansen udtrykker sig ganske kritisk i forhold til Feilbergs bog ”Stemninger og Billeder i harmonisk Ordning”, udgivet 1886.

 

I Arild S. Ebbes biografi over Malling-Hansen (Jonstrupbogen 1928)[3] skriver han følgende: ”Det var på hans (RMHs) Opfordring og Tilskyndelse at Ludvig Feilberg i sin Tid udgav sine filosofiske Værker. Malling Hansen saa klart, at Feilbergs selvstændige Tanker og Ideer var meget betydningsfulde.”

 

Afsnittet er side 42-45 i udgaven fra 1927:

 

PASTOR MALLING-HANSEN

 

Den, der bedre end nogen anden lærte Feilberg at bringe Orden i sine Iagttagelser, at systematisere og at opbygge sit Tankesystem paa Fysikens Grund, var Forstanderen paa Døvstumme-Institutet Pastor Malling-Hansen, hvis Bekendtskab Feilberg gjorde i de Aar.

 

Malling-Hansen er en af de mærkeligste og mest originale Personligheder, der har levet her i Landet. Han har gjort sig fortjent paa mange Maader, bl.a. ved at indrette Døvstummevæsenet efter et selvopfundet Princip[4]. Først efter hans Død opdagede man, at vore Døvstummes Behandling stod langt over Udlandets. I 1870[5] opfandt Malling-Hansen en Skrivekugle, der løste den Opgave at gengive Talen dobbelt saa hurtigt som Pen. Saa længe den var en fattig dansk ”Kugle”, interesserede den ingen; men da Amerikanerne havde faaet den under Behandling og omdannet den til en Skrivemaskine, erobrede den Verdensmarkedet. Paa lignende Maade gik det med Malling-Hansens biologiske Forskninger. De blev værdsat i Udlandet, medens man herhjemme viste dem forbavsende Ligegyldighed.

 

Forstanderen for Døvstumme-Institutet hørte til de Folk der ikke søgte Lærdom i udenlandske Værker, men saa og tænkte for sig selv. Naar han ønskede Svar paa Livsspørgsmaal, der vedrørte hans Gerning, f. Eks. De døvstumme Børns Vækst og Trivsel, slog han ikke op i Leksika, men gav sig paa egen Haand til at anstille Undersøgelser. Han anskaffede Apparater og vejede og maalte ikke alene de døvstumme Drenge, men, hvad der unægtelig var ret aparte, ogsaa Instituthavens Buske og Træer. Paa den Maade udfandt han den ene mærkelige Lov efter den anden.  Han godtgjorde, at et Menneskes Højde langtfra altid er den samme; men at vi til Tider retter os ud, til andre synker sammen, og at Børn til de samme Tider henholdsvis vokser stærkt, staar i Stampe eller endog aftager i Højde. Han fandt, at disse Udretningsperioder foraarsages ved varierende Indflydelser af Himmellegemerne (Perioder i Solens Varme og Maanens forskellige Stillinger til Jorden). Inden sin Død i 1890 naaede han kun at faa offentliggjort ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme”, hvorimod han ikke fik behandlet Maaneperioderne[6]. Det var Manglen af det fornødne Beregnerpersonale, der hindrede ham i at slutte Værket. Efter Malling-Hansens Død blev Forsøgsresultaterne – nogle mægtige Manuskriptbunker – nedlagt i to Kasser og gemt paa Døvstumme-Institutets Loft. Instituts senere Forstander Pastor Fr. Heiberg[7] meddelte for nogle Aar siden, at ”en Gennemgang af de i Kasserne opbevarede Papirer vistnok aldrig har fundet Sted”. Feilberg udtalte Gang paa Gang sin Forundring over, at ingen spurgte efter denne første energiske Selvlivs-Bestræbelse  i Retning af livsanvendt Naturvidenskab i Danmark. Der var virkelig ingen der spurgte. Dansk Videnskab ofrer Hundreder Tusinder paa Udgivelse af gamle Sundtoldregnskaber, medens en Videnskabsgren som Psyko-Fysik[8] maa gaa for Lud og koldt Vand. Det var først efter uhyre Kampe, at universitetets Psyko-Fysikere fik et Rum overladt i Metropolitanskolens Kælder; det kostede endnu større Kampe, da man fordrevet af Fugtigheden søgte nye Lokaler og til sidst blev indkvarteret paa H.C. Ørsteds gamle Tørreloft i Studiestræde. Feilberg drømte hele Livet om et virkelig livsøkonomisk Forsøgslaboratorium. Den Drøm gik ikke i Opfyldelse for ham, men han reddede Malling-Hansens Forsøgsresultater fra Undergang, idet han gennem Broderen, Kaptajnen, fik Kasserne overgivet til Krigsministeriet og anbragt i dettes Arkiv. Der henstaar de endnu[9].

 

Af denne mærkelige Mand lærte Feilberg at stole paa sig selv, at se sig selv og ikke lade sig imponere af fremmed Lærdom[10]. Det personlige Samkvem med Malling-Hansen gav ham Mod til at gaa i Lag med den Opgave, der skulle fylde hans Liv: at skabe et nyt Grundlag for Aandsdannelsen ved Anvendelse af Fysikens Love paa Aandslivets Omraade, hvilket var den ubønhørlige Konsekvens af Udviklingslæren[11] og Materialismen[12].

 

 Han, Præstesønnen, veg fra nu af ikke tilbage fra det, der vilde skræmme mangen anden, at koble det sjælelige og det fysiske sammen. Han blev renlivet Monist[13] – i sin Tankegang blev han saa radikal som nogen Materialist.

 

Vi ser nu for os det Grundlag, hvorpaa Feilberg opkonstruerede sit System:

 

Ved Studiet af Ørsted lærte han, at man skal lade Tingene tale til sig og tale for dem selv.

 

Ved Selv-Iagttagelse vidste han, at der var Forskel paa Værdi – nu og da kunde han mærke rigere og mere positive Indtryk (han kaldte denne Tilstand Mulighedsværdi i Modsætning til den sædvanlige Flidsværdi).

 

Ved Synet af Samfundets Uro og Kamp fik han Afsky for ”Meningeri”. Han fastslog, at hvad det gjaldt om, var at finde en aandelig Værdi-Maalestok af absolut uomstødelig Gyldighed.

 

Af Malling-Hansen lærte han at gaa praktisk til Værks – at blive Praktiker, en Betegnelse han siden stadig anvender paa sig selv.

 

Hjemme i hans Skuffer laa hundreder af Iagttagelser, der alle pegede i den samme Retning: Mennesket er en Arbejdsmaskine, Livet en Vitaldamp. Menneskets Opgave er den samme som enhver anden Arbejdsmaskines, at modtage Energi, fortætte den og udføre den igen. Aandeligt Liv foregaar i Ligeløb (Mulighedsværdi) og Kredsning (Flidsværdi) i forskellige Fortætningsformer.

 

Hans Bøger ”Om størst Udbytte af Sjælsevner”, ”Ligeløb og Kredsning” og ”Om sjælelig Ringhed” behandler Ligeløbs- og Kredsningsfænomenet. I A.B.C.’en og i Samlerbrevene beskæftiger han sig særlig med Læren om Fortætning (Værdilæren).

 

Vi skal ikke behandle hans Værker i kronologisk Orden, men se hans System under et Hele, saaledes som han efterhaanden fik det udarbejdet og forbedret.

 

I 40 Aar syslede han dermed, kæmpede for at opnaa Klarhed. Vi vil betragte Resultaterne af dette Arbejde.

 

 

 


[1] JMC: Viggo Louis Cavling, 1887-1946, dansk journalist, redaktør og forfatter. Søn af den kendte redaktør Henrik Cavling, 1858-1933, som kom til at betyde meget for dagbladet Politiken og som stiftede Dansk Journalistforbund. Siden 1944 uddeles Cavlingprisen en gang om året for journalistiske indsatser. Viggo var far til Ib Henrik Cavling, 1918-1978, også han en betydelig forfatter og en stor kulturpersonlighed.
Viggo Louis Cavling var meget interesseret i sin tids filosoffer og han betegnes som ”en åndsaristokrat som genfortolker af nyere filosoffer” (Dansk Biografisk Leksikon). Hans bog om L.Feilberg: ”Ludvig Feilberg og hasn Levelære” blev udgivet af den Gyldendalske Boghandel, Nordisk Forlag i 1915 og igen i 1927.

[3] JMC: Arild S. Ebbes biografi findes i sin helhed på vor hjemmeside.

[4] JMC: Malling-Hansen var til sin natur en reformator som stedse arbejdede på at udvikle og forbedre. Han var arkitekten bag det som i resten af verden kom til at kaldes: ”den danske deling” og som han lancerede allerede i 1867.  Det handlede om at tilpasse undervisningsmetoderne til elevernes specifikke forudsætninger i relation til hørsel, taleevne og deres mentale kapacitet. RMH sondrede mellem tre grupper: 1) De som var totalt døve og stumme; 2) Elever som havde en vis grad af hørsel (eller som havde kunnet høre tidligere i livet) og som kunne tale i nogen grad; og 3) de som var døve, stumme og også mentalt retarderede. Han fik indført at disse tre grupper fik hver sin form for undervisning.

SA: Malling-Hansen var ganske visst en reformator og nytenker, men en viktig opplysning er at "den danske deling" i 1867 ble gjennomført etter et initiativ fra både Malling-Hansen og grunnleggeren av "De Kellerske Anstalter", Johan Keller i fellesskap. Dersom man leser i kilder som sympatiserer med Keller, gis han hele æren for utviklingen av det danske undervisningsmodellen av døvstumme, mens når man leser i kilder som sympatiserer med Malling-Hansen, gis han alene æren. Sannheten er at de sammen lanserte og fikk gjennomført delingen av døvstumme etter deres evner og grad av døvhet. Årsaken var like mye av praktisk art, for å ha et visst system for hvem som skulle gå på hvilke skoler, som den var idealistisk begrunnet. Keller og Malling-Hansens skoler lå i et stadig "konkurranseforhold" om elevene, og det skyldtes først og fremst at Kellers skoler var private, og fikk tildelt offentlige midler basert på antall elever, mens døvstummeinstituttet var offentlig, og ble tildelt faste midler. Dette førte til at Keller etter Malling-Hansens mening "stjal" elever som egentlig burde ha gått på døvstummeinstituttet, for å få økte bevilgninger. Dette konkurranseforholdet fortsatte helt til Malling-Hansens død, og opphørte først da staten overtok Kellers skoler, etter et forslag ført i pennen av Malling-Hansen i kommisjonen av 1888. Det er ikke tvil om at Malling-Hansen meget tidlig ønsket at staten skulle overta Kellers skoler, og at myndighetene skulle ha full kontroll med opptak av elever og av organiseringen av undervisningen på de ulike skolene.
 
Cavling har helt rett i at Malling-Hansen var en nytenker, men jeg mener det er viktig å poengterer at også han var influert av de nye strømningene i Europa innen undervisningen av døvstumme. Malling-Hansen var på en studiereise rundt på Europas døvstummeinstitutter i 1866 og mottok mange nye impulser. Striden på den tiden sto mellom den "gamle" tegnmetoden og den "nye" talemetoden, som oppsto i Tyskland. Begge metoder hadde sine tilhengere, som ofte lå i uforsonlig strid med hverandre. Malling-Hansen var pragmatiker og mente begge metodene hadde sin berettigelse for ulike barn. Han mente at Danmark burde anvende begge metodene, og det var en av grunnene til at han foreslo opprettelsen av et nytt institutt i Fredericia i 1880, som skulle undervise etter talemetoden, mens hans eget institutt skulle beholde tegnmetoden. Men RMH hadde selv ført en klasse frem til eksamen ved hjelp av talemetoden, som han viste frem under eksaminasjon i forbindelse med skolemøtet i København i 1872.

[5] JMC: Ja, det første patent er fra 1870, men Malling-Hansens forarbejder begyndte allerede 5 år tidligere, og det er sandsynligt at han havde en prototype klar i 1867 eller 1868.

SA:  Det er ikke riktig at amerikanerne fikk "skrivekuglen" under behandling og skapte skrivemaskinen på grunnlag av den. Skrivemaskinen hadde en helt selvstendig historie i USA, som gikk langt tilbake på 1800-tallet. Oppfinnerne Sholes, Glidden og Soule arbeidet parallelt med Malling-Hansen på sin helt egne utgave, som intet hadde med skrivekuglen å gjøre. Da Densmore hadde overtatt utviklingen av "the type-writer" tidlig på 1870-tallet var Malling-Hansen i forhandlinger med ham om å selge sitt patent, men Densmore var ikke interessert, men foreslo å "bytte patenter", det vil si at de fritt kunne bruke detaljer fra hverandres patent. Men Malling-Hansen var kun interessert i salg, og om jeg ikke husker feil, ville han ha $25000 for patentet. Til sammenligning kan nevnes at Densmore betalte de tre herrene Sholes, Glidden og Soule $200 hver for å kjøpe seg inn i deres patent. Densmore hadde sansynligvis ikke de enorme summene å investere i "the type-writer", som man vanligvis har antatt i Europa. Han hadde visstnok lidd en del tap på mislykkede investeringer i forkant, og var ikke villig til å bruke ubegrenset med penger på skrivemaskinen. En velbegrunnet antagelse går ut på at han investerte noen få tusen dollar på utviklingen av "the type-writer", som senere ble satt i produksjon ved Remington-fabrikken.

[6] JMC: Dette er en yderst interessant oplysning! Det er jo heller ikke urimeligt at RMH havde planer på at undersøge om også månen kunne være en faktor for periodiske svingninger i vægt og højde – den afstedkommer jo tidevandet på jorden.

[7] JMC: Frederik Heiberg, præst, døvstummepædagog og senere forstander på Døvstummeinstituttet, var søn af Malling-Hansens forgænger på posten som forstander, Søren Johan Heiberg. Fredrik Heiberg var, med andre ord, svoger til Malling-Hansen og bror til Cathrine Malling-Hansen. Frederik Heiberg, 1850-1918, blev forstander ved Malling-Hansens død. Ifølge Dansk Biografisk Leksikon: ”styrede (han) det med megen dygtighed til sin død som en ualmindelig punktlig og dygtig administrator.”

[8] JMC: Psykofysik defineres som: ”læren om vekselvirkninger mellem sjælelige og legemlige fænomener” (Ordbog over det danske sprog).  Den eneste specialprofessur i verden inden for det psykofysiske felt er den ved Stockholms Universitet (siden 1987), benævnt: ”Perception och Psykofysik” (Kilde: www.psykologiguiden.se)

[9] JMC: Dette er endnu en yderst interessant information! Krigsministeriet hed det indtil 1950, da departementet byttede navn til Forsvarsministeriet. Der er stadig en mulighed for, at disse dokumenter opbevares i Forsvarsministeriets arkiv. Det er også muligt at ministeriet har overladt dem til Rigsarkivet. Skal undersøges!

SA: De etterlatte papirene etter Malling-Hansen er et stort og komplisert område, med mange motstridende opplysninger. Om jeg ikke husker helt feil, døde Frederik Heiberg i 1918, så ordene om at ingen noensinne spurte etter papirene må ha falt noen år før hans død, for vi har jo brevvekslingen fra 1911, som tydelig beviser at Antropologisk komite gjorde forespørsler til Fr Heiberg i 1911, (Se: The Anthropological Commitee) og ble henvist til RMHs svigersønn, Fritz Bech, som igjen henviste til døtrene. Og i følge RMHs andre svigersønn, Michael Agerskov, befant papirene seg da i to trekasser på loftet til døvstummeinstituttet, der de var blitt plassert da Malling-Hansen døde. Det var så døtrene, Juliane, Engelke og Johanne som sammen med Michael Agerskov åpnet de to trekassene og gikk gjennom innholdet i dem. Som en del av oss kjenner til i dag, mente de å stå i tankeforbindelse med RMHs udødelige ånd, og han ba dem angivelig om å fjerne en liten del av papirene, fordi de inneholdt materiale som han ikke ønsket at noen skulle bygge videre på, fordi han mente at hans teorier var for dårlig begrunnet. Det gjaldt en del fargede kladdebøker med måleresultater fra de siste årene før hans død, samt et utkast til et nytt bokverk og visstnok noen plansjer.

Da disse kladdebøkene var fjernet, ble de resterende overlatt til Antropologisk komite, og de fjernede kladdebøkene ble destruert. I følge Michael Agerskov, hadde RMH selv ødelagt store deler av sine papirer mens han levde.

Den delen av historien som forteller at Antropologisk Komite fikk overlevert RMHs etterlatte papirer i 1911, er altså dokumentert gjennom brevvekslingen mellom komiteens formann, Søren Hansen, og Malling-Hansens døtre. Komiteen fikk sågar papirene til odel og eie, og fikk ingen forpliktelse om å levere dem tilbake. Når vi tar i beraktning at RMHs gode venn, kaptein og arkivar Gustav Feilberg døde i 1895, er det svært vanskelig å tro at disse papirene virkelig kan ha funnet sin vei til det arkivet han bestyrte. Om vi skal tro på denne historien, kan det etter min mening kun bety at papirene eventuelt kan ha blitt bragt til arkivet i 1890, da RMH døde, men at de må ha blitt bragt tilbake til døvstummeinstituttet i 1895, da Feilberg døde, for der befant de seg beviselig i 1911, da henvendelsen fra Antropologisk Komite kom.

Det som kompliserer denne historien ytterligere, er at det befinner seg bortimot to hundre slike omtalte fargede kladdebøker i museet til Døvehistorisk Selskab i døvstummeinstituttets lokaler, i følge museets leder, Jan William Rasmussen. Han har selv laget kopier fra mange av dem, og sendt meg, og jeg har selv fotografert flere av dem.

Alt tyder altså på at Antropologisk Komite leverte kladdebøkene tilbake til døvstummeinstituttet da de var ferdige med sine undersøkelser. Hvor skal ellers de flere hundre fargede kladdebøken i museet der stamme fra? Jeg har undersøkt hos alle de involverte offisielle institusjonene, og ingen av dem oppbevarer så gammelt arkivmateriale i dag. Riksarkivet har heller ikke slike papirer, så langt jeg har kunnet fastslå.

Min konklusjon da jeg gikk inn i dette stoffet og undersøkte grundig for noen år siden, var at de omtalte etterlatte papirene etter RMH i dag finnes i museet til Døvehistorisk Selskab i Kastelsvej.

Men om noen gjerne vil gjøre enda grundigere undersøkelser i Rigsarkivet, er jo det selvsagt et høyst interessant foretagende, og muligens kan man finne ennå uregistrerte papirer etter Malling-Hansen. Man skal aldri se bort fra noen muligheter.
 

[10] JMC: Denne tekst kaster et særligt lys over Malling-Hansens egen personlighed og psyke.

[11] JMC: Udviklingslæren = evolutionsteorien ifølge Charles Darwin. Botanikeren og digteren J.P. Jacobsen oversatte i første halvdel af 1870erne to af Darwins centrale værker til dansk: Arternes Oprindelse og Menneskets Afstamning og han deltog også i den meget animerede debat som opstod i Danmark.

[12] JMC: ”Materialisme” skal her forstås som et filosofisk begreb: overbevisningen at kun det der kan sanses kan være virkeligt, og at det der sanses er virkelighed.

[13] JMC: Monismen er en filosofisk teori om virkeligheden, ifølge hvilken denne består af en eneste natur, altså ikke opdelt i kropsligt og åndeligt og heller ikke opdelt på en mangfoldighed af forskellige eksistensniveauer. En i moderne tid almindelig form for monisme er den såkaldte neutrale monisme: at virkeligheden yderst set består af noget, hvis natur vi ikke kan få kundskab om, men som fremtræder i forskellige former. Begrebet monisme anvendes iblandt som en modsats til kulturpluralisme eller det pluralistiske samfund (Kilde: www.psykologiguiden.se)

SA: Selv om Feilberg tydeligvis var det man vil kalle en monist, hadde Malling-Hansen selv et dualistisk menneskesyn, i betydningen at han mente kroppen og ånden hadde sin opprinnelse i to vidt forskjellige verdener: Kroppen fra materien og ånden fra det guddommelige, og deres vidt forskjellige karakter medførte at de tidvis trekker individet i ulike retninger. Jeg mener dette også er en ide som er utbredt innen frimureriet, der man skiller mellom de to urkreftene lyset(det gudommelige) og mørket(det jordiske). Malling-Hansen var frimurer fra 1877. De som kjenner det verket som ble utgitt etter Malling-Hansens død av hans datter Johanne Agerskov og hennes ektemann, Michael Agerskov, "Vandrer mod Lyset", vil også gjenkjenne tankene derfra
 
Malling-Hansen skriver om dette bl a i noen av brevene til sine døtre, og noen brev der han omtaler sitt helbred, som ble stadig dårligere, noe som trolig skyldtes bla a overdreven røking og at Malling-Hansen drev seg selv uhyre hardt og derigjennom svekket sitt helbred.

 

Frederik Heiberg, 1850-1918, Malling-Hansens svoger, som overtok posten som forstander ved døvstummeinstituttet. Foto: DKB
Johan Keller, 1830-1884, grunnleggeren av de Kellerske anstalter, som også underviste døvstumme. Foto; DKB
Gustav Feilberg, 1836-1896, kaptajn og arkivar, bror av Ludvig Feilberg, og en god venn av Malling-Hansen. Foto: DKB
Søren Hansen, 1857-1946, formann for Den Antropologiske Komite, som i 1911 fikk utlevert Malling-Hansens etterlatte papirer
Malling-Hansens svigersønn, Michael Agerskov, 1870-1933, skrev om de etterlatte papirene i sin bok "Nogle Psykiske Oplevelser" fra 1925. Foto: DKB
Datteren Johanne Agerskov, 1873-1946, hevdet at hun hadde tankeforbindelse med sin fars udødelige ånd, og han ba angivelig om at en del av papirene måtte tilintetgjøres.
Datteren Engelke Wiberg, 1869-1949, deltok også ved delingen av deres avdøde fars papirer, sammen med den eldste søsteren Juliane, 1866-1920.
Malling-Hansen lå tidlig på 1870-tallet i forhandlinger med James Densmore, 1820-1889, om salg av sitt patent på skrivekuglen.
Den unge Ludvig Feilberg. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Foto fra 1905
Omtale av Feilberg ikke lenge etter hans død i 1912. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek

FAKTA OM LUDVIG FEILBERG

På Ludvig Tage Christian Müller Feilberg, 1849-1912, kan vi sætte betegnelserne ”digter”,”filosof” og ”psykolog”, men han var meget mere end det: Feilberg blev cand.polyt. fra Polyteknisk læreanstalt i 1874. 1874-75 var han ingeniørassistent ved Københavns vandværk, 1875-91 assistent hos professor L.F. Holmberg[1] ved Polyteknisk læreanstalt og 1875-83 tillige assistent ved Landbohøjskolen, hvor han 1883 blev docent i jord- og vandbygningslære samt tegning. Fra 1887 var han ministeriets tilsynsførende ved folkehøjskolerne, senere også ved landbrugs- og husholdningsskolerne, og 1891-96 var han tillige inspektør ved de forskellige kursus for lærere og lærerinder ved skoler og højskoler. Feilberg viste tidligt psykologisk interesse. Allered som ung begyndte han at gøre sit sjælsliv, særlig sine følelsestilstande, til genstand for studier og nedskrive sine iagttagelser. Dette journalarbejde fortsatte livet igennem, og ved sin død efterlod han sig en materialsamling på 6-7 000 skrevne sider. 1881 udgav han Om størst Udbytte af Sjælsevner. Bidrag til en praktisk Psykologi, som senere også blev udgivet i tysk og svensk udgave. I 1882 udkom Holbergs Træ i Fiolstræde, 1885 Stemninger og Billeder i Harmonisk Ordning, 1886 Om Ligeløb og Kredsning i Sjælelivet, 1896 Om Sjælelig Ringhed, 1899-1902 Om Manglen paa Forstaaelse mellem Folkehøjskolen og den akademiske Verden, 1902-03 Natur ABC, 1903-04 Naturlærens Leve-ABC, 1905-07 Kort Fremstilling af de sjælelige Naturudviklingslove. Efter hans død udkom hans Samlede Skrifter 1914, og der dannedes en forening for udbredelse af kendskab til hans tanker. Det er ikke muligt at kortfattet redegøre for LFs ide-verden, og det følgende er kun et forsøg på at skitsere nogle få af hans centrale ideer:

 

Feilbergs ”levelære” appellerer til individets modtagelighed og han anså at det er menneskets opgave at forvalte sin sjælelige energi på en sådan måde, at den ”fortættes” fra en lavere til en højere kvalitet og derved yde sit skyldige bidrag til naturudviklingen. Der gives i alt fire kvaliteter der betegner lige så mange grader af værdifuldt, dvs naturudviklende sjæleliv. Lavest står det til sanseindtrykkene knyttede liv der gør individet afhængigt af ”tingene”. Af højere grad er den ”reale kvalitet eller virkeligheden” der betegner en begyndende frigørelse fra tingene, kendelig ved menneskets arbejde på at gøre sig til herre over virkeligheden. Over denne kvalitet står den åndelige varme (hjertevarme; naturkærlighed)ved hvilken mennesket yderligere løsnes fra ”tingene” og får mulighed for at opnå den højeste kvalitet, ”den forladende kvalitet”, der er den absolutte frihed fra tingene, og som opleves når individet under uegennyttig eller selvopofrende handlen eller i religiøs grebethed glemmer sig selv. Under ”fortætnings”-arbejdet udføres der fra legemet energi der forbliver i universet og er af betydning for naturudviklingen.  Feilbergs lære betragtedes af ham selv som en naturvidenskabeligt underbygget, almengyldig levelære men må vistnok rigtigere betegnes som en subjektiv, naturpoetisk-religiøs lære med karakter af forløsningslære og sigtende på en forædling af sjælelivet.

 

Man kan finde en hel del paralleller mellem Feilbergs idé-system og det som Søren Kierkegaard er kendt for – med en gradering af den menneskelige personligheds udvikling fra det laveste stade – det æstetiske – over det etiske og sluttelig det højeste som han betegnede som det religiøse stadium. Det er heller ikke nogen tilfældighed at en del idé-historikere anser at Danmark har 2 eksistentielle filosoffer, nemlig Kierkegård og Ludvig Feilberg.

 

Imidlertid blev Feilberg ikke tilnærmelsesvis lige så kendt eller respekteret som Kierkegård, og det kan til stor del bero på at Feilbergs kollega Alfred Lehmann var så kritisk og skeptisk til hans ideer og metoder. Professor Alfred Lehmann, 1858-1921, dansk psykolog, var den som grundlagde den psyko-fysiske disciplin i Danmark.  De to mænd var interesserede i samme gren af psykologien men var stærkt uenige om metoderne og konklusionerne. Lehmann betragtede Feilberg som en amatør og som en begavet digternatur snarere end som en videnskabsmand på psykologiens område. Det træk ved Feilbergs arbejder, Lehmann forholdt sig mest kritisk til, var dennes tendens til uden bevisførelse at omfatte sjælelige foreteelser i analogi til fysiske.[2] Dette fremgår tydeligt af Lehmanns artikel om Ludvig Feilberg i Salmonsens Konversationsleksikon, 2. udgave, 1918.

 

Ikke desto mindre lever Ludvig Feilbergs tanker, skrifter og ideer stadig i vor tid, og der udkommer fortsat videnskabelige, populærvidenskabelige og skønlitterære skrifter som relaterer til hans systemer og ideer.

 

 


[1] JMC: Ludvig Ferdinand Holmberg, 1826-1897, dansk ingeniør. Havnebygmester og samtidig landets første lærer i ingeniørfagene. Udover at undervise på Polyteknisk læreanstalt var han i nogle år docent i jord- og vandbygningslære ved Landbohøjskolen. Mellem 1856 og 1890 var han desuden meddirektør ved de Massmannske Søndagsskoler, som omtales i et af Malling-Hansens breve.

[2] JMC: Kilde: From, Moustgaard, Friemuth Petersen, Willager: ”Psykologi”(Københavns Universitet 1980), Dansk Biografisk Leksikon og den danske og svenske Wikipedia.

The Sunday Issue of ‘Berlingske Tidende’, September 3, 1935

The author of the article, Fritz Bech, 1863-1945, was married to Malling-Hansen’s daughter Zarah, 1870-1910. The picture is probably from around 1890, the year they were married. Photo: The Historical

A Centenary:

The Inventor of the Typewriter Had Plenty of Ideas

 

By F. Bech, Principal

 

On the 5th of September it is 100 years ago since the birth of the inventor of the writing ball. The principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Fredericia, F.BECH, writes about the man with the many ideas.

 

At the Garnison church cemetery, to the right of and somewhat further back than the memorial for Olaf Rye, we find a tombstone of granite from Bornholm, erected by “speaking and deaf-mute friends”, with a medallion by Ludvig Brandstrup, over the principal of the institute for the deaf-mute, the inventor and biologist Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen, or, as he himself would sign: R. Malling-Hansen. The medallion shows him in his most vigorous age, a couple of years before an obstinate heart disease struck him down. His life is like the preface of an adventure, in which there were surely dark shadows, but where the light of genius was constantly breaking through, until it was forever extinguished. Only 55 years old, on September 27, 1890, he dropped down dead in ‘Nyboder’ on his way home from the free mason lodge where he, as one of its most distinguished brethren, had been the speaker.

 

 

Fritz Bech, 1863-1945, in his office at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Fredericia. On the wall behind him is a large portrait of his father-in-law, Rasmus Malling-Hansen, 1835-1890. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf
Malling-Hansen’s tombstone, previously found in the cemetery of the Garnison Church. In 1947 it was moved to the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, where we can see it today. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
Malling-Hansen went for his last walk along the red arrow in the evening on September 27, 1890. When his death had been certified, the medical doctor had him taken to the house on the corner of ‘Leopardlængen/Store Kongens Gade - the house marked by a red cross. Photo: The Royal Library.

MALLING-HANSEN was a native of Lolland and the son of a school teacher. Already as a small boy he lost his father, but when his maternal grandfather[1], also he a school teacher, adopted him, his natural gifts became formed by the culture and traditions of the teaching profession with its solid, industrious and frugal living standard. Later on there were influences from a highly cultured residence, since Count F.M. Knuth of Knuthenborg became his protector. The count sent him to Jonstrup from where he graduated with a teacher’s degree with distinction, after which he hired him as a tutor and eventually fulfilled his highest wish: to go to the capital city for studies, aiming at the theological profession. However, having passed the school-leaving certificate M-H soon felt an urge to stand on his own feet. Talent, education and social intercourse had given him a sense of tact, a harmonious mix of modesty and self-esteem that followed him throughout his life, and that now told him that the time was ripe to renounce, with thanks, the continued support of his generous protector. He applied for at teaching job at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in 1859 and got it.

 

The current method at the institute at the time was the hand alphabet – writing in the air with various finger settings, each representing a letter of the alphabet – combined with natural and conventional signs (gestures), and M-H. was quick to acquaint himself with all of it. And long before he could reasonably expect it, the services of the capable young teacher were called for something more than an ordinary teaching post.Apart from the Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark also had a public institute for the deaf-mute in Schleswig.  In the atmosphere of a strife between German and Danish tradition, the Government wanted, also in this respect, an education in accordance with Danish culture, and the immediate consequence of this was for M-H that he was transferred to Schleswig as a teacher in 1862 and then in the beginning of 1864 promoted to the rank of principal. He was at the time merely 29 years old. However, the promotion was to be of short duration. Military events soon forced him to leave, and reduced to an ordinary teacher and student of theology he returned to Copenhagen and resumed his studies. However, once more lady luck was smiling upon the young man. The principal of the institute, Professor S. Heiberg, with whose daughter[2] he had been engaged to be married, had in the beginning of 1865, after an application, been called to serve as a vicar at Kjeldby Church on the island of Møn, and in his stead M.-H. was now constituted, and after having passed  his final university exam a couple of months later he received his royal appointment. This is not the place or time to describe M-H.’s meritorious work for 25 years as principal and priest for the deaf-mute. Suffice it here to accentuate that he was the driving force in establishing the relationship between the public institution and Joh.Keller’s private institute for the deaf-mute, and that he was also the key person in formulating the proposals in 1880 and 1889 to Parliament concerning the establishment of the institute in Fredericia and the school in Nyborg.

 

 

 


[1] SA: Either Fritz Bech had unofficial information or, for the sake of simplifying he chose to refer to the stepfather of Malling-Hansen’s mother, as the grandfather of the inventor. For the mother – Juliane Hansen, 1809 – 1885, did not grow up with her biological parents but with her adopted family Malling as a foster daughter and she was the one running the household. When she, after only a few years of marriage, became widowed, she moved back to her foster father, the teacher of Hunseby School, Rasmus Malling, who thus also became the foster father of her sons.

[2] SA:The daughter was Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876, and they were married in 1865. The marriage was very happy and they had 7 healthy daughters before Cathrine died, very tragically, as she was giving birth in 1876 to twin daughters, who also died at birth.

Malling-Hansen’s father-in-law and predecessor as principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Søren Johan Heiberg, 1810-1871. Photo: The Heiberg Museum, Sogndal, Norway.
Malling-Hansen’s young fiancée, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg,1841-1876. Photo: Private.
The young talented undergraduate and tutor, Rasmus Malling-Hansen on a photo from 1861. Photo: Private.

It is of more general interest to mention that it was his work among the deaf-mute children at Kastelsvej that led him on the road to inventing the first typewriter in the world, and much more. He himself had seen and experienced that while a person can only write 4 phonetic symbols (letters) per second, a trained finger speaker can produce 12 per second. This led him to the idea whether it would be possible by means of finger movements on a machine to create an easily legible writing, capable of following oral speech, sound by sound. By means of testing the speed of speakers in parliament he had further recorded that the speed varied between 10 and 20 sounds per second, and hence the finger movements and the oral speed were not far apart. He then invented a typewriter, where the keys (steel bars with plates indicating the letters) were distributed over the surface of a hemisphere (hence the name “writing ball”), while the paper was placed on top of a movable cylinder carriage, which was moved a little bit – by electricity and an electromotor – when a key was pressed down.Already in the year M-H was appointed principal he conducted tests concerning the speed of  finger movements, done on a porcelain hemisphere, where the letters were placed in small hollows simulating keys; however, the process of having the keys installed, equipped and functioning with accuracy took a long time, and it was only in March 1870 that he, together with professor C.P. Jürgensen’s Mechanical Establishment, got a 15 year patent on his machine[1]. In that same year ‘Illustreret Tidende’ published a lengthy article by professor C.Holten about the brilliant invention, and this was soon followed up by tributes from papers and journals in Denmark and abroad. At exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and Vienna in 1873 the writing ball was honoured with the highest awards and in Paris 1878 with a gold medal[2]. Patents were sold to England and Austria, and everything appeared promising. Interest was still growing. The daughters of the inventor were  known in school as ‘the small writing balls’, and the old monarch King Christian IX, who used to carry in his pockets cornets with sweets for his small friends, would frequently stop the “balls’ and send a greeting to their father.

 

Naturally the first writing ball constructed by a self-made[3] man had its essential flaws. It weighed 75 kilos[4] and cost 1200 kroner, and the electrical connection was not entirely reliable. However, unhesitatingly M.H. abandoned electricity and within a short time constructed a new machine that moved mechanically; the weight and the price were substantially reduced, finally until 5 kilos and 150 kroner. This was the new shape appearing at the Nordic exhibition 1872 and subsequently produced in large quantity.[5]However, at the same time the American Mr Sholes had his machine ready, it was described in “Scientific American” of August 10 the same year, and the following year the Remington factory launched their first specimens.[6]By this one might say that the battle had been won, with the Danish machine losing the draw, for in spite of the government and the Carlsberg Foundation, among others, having supported M.-H., compared to the American investment this was like a drop in the ocean. [7]Still, M.-H persisted almost until his death to improve on his machine. The very last writing ball, made by mechanic August Lyngbye, at the exhibition in Copenhagen in 1888 still achieved the highest distinction. By now the “ball” for a long time has been surpassed by other systems and models, but it is quite interesting to note the information provided by wholesale-dealer William Malling, that it was not until the year 1900 that he abandoned the writing ball in favour of an American machine.Hence, the end result of this invention was only disappointment and loss, and it was in similar fashion with another smaller invention: Xerography or ‘dry printing’, which had enabled the inventor to make until 100 copies of the original writing ball text. This was outstripped by Hectographing.

 

 

 

 


[1] SA: We have no certain knowledge about the further development of the writing ball as from the tests on the porcelain ball in 1865 and until the machine was fully developed in 1870. But recent information indicates that it is likely a writing ball was exhibited at the industrial exhibition in Altona (nearby Hamburg, Germany) from august 27 until September 27 1869. So far we have very scarce information from this exhibition, and possibly the writing ball was not shown at the exhibition itself but in a shop. It is likely that it was the very large model built into a table and which we today only know from the patent drawings of January 1870.

[2] SA: The writing ball was also exhibited in Kensington, London, in 1871 and at the Philadelphia Centennial  in 1876. At the latter exhibition it was awarded a gold medal.

[3] JMC: It is interesting to note that Fritz Bech uses the English term in his Danish article, writing ‘selfmade’. This is evidence of an early influence of English words in Danish language – at a time when the German language was much more widely understood and spoken in Denmark.

[4] SA: This information about the first writing ball weighing 75 kilos I have seen in several sources, and the only possible explanation is that the very first writing ball constructed was not identical with the one presented in 1870, namely the cylinder-model built into a wooden box.  From the first patent drawings of January 1870 we know of a model built into a table, and this has to be the one weighing 75 kilos. For a long time we assumed that the excessive weight was due to the batteries at this time being bulky and heavy, but this is not correct. Already in the 1860s batteries had been reduced to a rather practical user-friendly size, and weighed hardly more than a maximum of 10 kgs, so consequently this cannot explain the weight of the first writing ball.

[5] SA: On this particular point our friend Fritz Bech is probably not correctly informed. It is correct that already in 1871 several new models of the writing ball were constructed, among them the model with the flat carriage, but Malling-Hansen did not manage to find a substitute for electricity for electricity until 1875, when he launched the first, well-known, tall models.

[6] SA: The Remington factory did start their production of the Sholes-Glidden machine in 1873 – but it is debatable whether their first model was good enough to completely outstrip the writing ball. It was very bulky and expensive, and those assessing typing samples from the two competing machines agreed that the writing ball was far superior, compared to the Remington, in this respect.  It has been stated in some sources that the Remington machine sold 5000 copies already during the first 3-4 years, but this figure is probably vastly exaggerated. Alternative sources indicate around 2500 machines sold during the first 10 years.

[7] SA: This appears to be correct.  The Investor James Densmore, who bought the patent from Sholes and Glidden, invested several tens of thousands of dollars to improve upon the machine before it was put into production by Remington. As far as we know he was able to cash a profit of around half a million dollars when he sold his part of the business before his death.

King Christian IX, 1818-1906, visited the Institute for the Deaf-Mute several times. Photo: The Royal Library.
And Queen Louise, 1817-1898, indeed was once weighed on the large scale Malling-Hansen used for weighing the children. Photo:The Royal Library.
Whole-sale dealer William Theodor Malling, 1830-1913, reported that he used the writing ball in his job up until 1900. Photo: The Royal Library.

However,  M.-H. was an unfailing optimist and his continuously enquiring spirit always generated material for new studies and inventions. The introduction of a new meal regulation at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute caused him to start daily weighing and measuring of the pupils, and in the course of the numerical results that appeared, with his intuitive view he realized such perspectives that the whole thing was soon put into systematic order: Daily weighing 4 times and simultaneously the children’s height was also measured, and subsequently he included also measuring of the circumference and height of the trees in the institute garden. The result of this investigation, running for four years, rendered the following remarkable information: A boy aged 9-15 years does not increase his weight gradually and at the same rate each day, week or month of the year, rather in the course of a year there are different periods: a maximum period (August – December); a medium period (December – April): and a minimum period in terms of weight gain (April – July). In the maximum period the weight gain is 3 times as big as in the medium period, and whatever is gained in the latter is lost in the minimum period. However, in reverse order the big increase in height takes place in the minimum period for the weight gain etc. And concerning the trees M.-H. found at the same time that the relationship between their gain in breadth and height was closely coinciding with the increased weight and height of the children during the same periods. At the international medical congress in Copenhagen 1884 M.-H. presented his findings and results, receiving much attention and lively applause. The results were also presented and published in books, both before and after the congress and mainly in German language.But M.-H. proceeded even further with his investigations. He searched information from many different locations about oscillations in terms of humidity, atmospheric pressure, ozone concentration and magnetism, among other factors, in order to find, if possible, this unknown factor X, that was the root cause of it all and which he called ‘the growth energy’ and connected with solar radiation. However, death out an end also to these research activities, research for future continuation, about which Dr Gustav Nylén, Stockholm, gave a very interesting and informative lecture in 1930.

 

Ever diligent and occupied, yet M.-H. was by no means a pedantic or dry bookish person, on the contrary, he was a lively man, very much engaged by contemporary issues. When the first international artificial language, Volapyk, was introduced in Copenhagen, he immediately found in its logical structure an explanation why deaf-mute children have such difficulties learning our own language correctly: The living language has so many vagaries, deviations from logic and hence unpredictable in relation to period and sentence structure. Consequently he became an ardent volapykist, he himself translated – or were responsible for -  H.C.Andersen’s Fairy Tales into Volapyk and also gave lectures on the international qualities of this language.

 

In one of the Charlottenborg art exhibitions in the 1880s a painting by Engelstedt was exhibited, showing the so called ‘quartet’: Malling-Hansen, senior teacher Kaper (father of the mayor), Director Ritzau (founder of the Ritzau News Agency), and archivist of the War Office Captain Feilberg at the L’Hombre-table. These four men and their wives, who were all on familiar and informal terms with each other, would during winter time meet once a week for a game of cards in each others’ homes. Frequently they would also add some other kind of entertainment or joke, for instance M.-H. once offered a Volapyk-dinner with the menu hectographed in Volapyk as well as Danish – only the wine was unilaterally termed ‘Pumpenhejmer’ [1] – while the lamps were festooned and the table set in the Volapyk colours, yellow and mauve. The whole thing was festive and funny.

 

 


[1] JMC: Not possible to translate; ‘pumpenhejmer’ is a 19th century jocular term for water from a well

Erik Ritzau, 1839-1903
Gustav Feilberg, 1836-1895
Johannes Kaper, 1838-1905
Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912. All four photos: The Royal Library.

During the period of the weighings there was a visit by the royal family: King Christian IX and Queen Louise, Queen Olga of Greece, a joy to behold, with her 2 young sons, the princes Konstantin (the deceased king) and Georg (friend of Prince Valdemar) and others. Pupils and teaching staff dressed up to the nines, the principal and the teachers in dress coat and white gloves, specimen of textbooks and other teaching materials exhibited, when the exalted Royal visitors arrived and passed through the classes in order to observe the teaching. Finally they entered the dormitory with its large scale, used for weighing the children. The Royals were much interested in hearing about the weight oscillations throughout the year, and Queen Louise even let herself persuade by M.-H. to be weighed. The weight was 47,5 kilos – in comparison to the 60-65 kilos of many of the older girls not very much for a queen, the deaf-mute children thought. But when they looked for the princes who could surely have scored a much higher weight, they had on their own ventured down into the kitchen, where they were found at the table, truly enjoying a thick slice of rye bread and dripping.

 

MALLING-HANSEN was, in his prime, a handsome man, “with the head of a Monrad[1]with soulful eyes more introvert than extravert, the figure of a military officer, supple and courteous in his behavior” to quote Vilhelm Møller as he expressed it in his daily newspaper “Nutiden”, since long closed down, and the characteristic is apt. When adding to this a versatile and all-round spectrum of talents – in addition to his genius as an inventor he was very much musically gifted and also an excellent draughtsman, having very skillfully, among other things, drawn the globe as seen from the perspective of various big cities[2] - all in all he seems to have been selected by Nature as a favorite of the Gods. But he did lack one thing: Realization of the necessary consideration to his physical capacity for work. When he was working he went full steam, while countless cigarettes went up in smoke. This is also why he wore himself out very much prematurely.  Ludvig Feilberg writes in his book about mental inferiority: “By the discontinuation of Malling-Hansen’s work we have lost threads that may be very difficult to pick up again”. Dr Nylén, quoting Feilberg’s statement in his above mentioned lecture, adds: “Perhaps these words may seem true considering that 40 years have now passed since M.-H. closed his eyes for ever - -. However, the rich impulses left by the brilliant principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, have inspired us. The solution of one issue has led us further into new issues and problems. The thread has not been lost, rather it continues to be spinning.”And still now in August this year, in the centenary of his birth  and soon 50 years after his death, upon request, cardboards with his photographic portraits, his writing balls in various stages and samples of the beautiful and easily legible typing have been exhibited at a stenographic congress in Kulmbach, and the cardboards were subsequently integrated into the collections of a German museum. Certainly, Malling-Hansen’s name will forever be counted among those who have lent lustre to Denmark.

 

F. Bech.

English translation by

Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

 

 

 


[1] SA: The man Malling-Hansen was compared with was bishop and politician Ditlev Gothard Monrad, 1811-1897.

[2] JMC: These maps had disappeared for generations until I happened to locate them at the Royal Library in Copenhagen in the summer of 2009 – they show an astonishing level of cartographic skill, whereby M.-H. has depicted the maps in a novel way, showing the globe in a transparent fashion and making many different such maps with a major city as point of departure. This was probably done in connection with his research into the X-factor of solar energy.

This is what he looked like, the Monrad with which Malling-Hansen was compared -the politician and bishop Ditlev Gothard Monrad,1811-1887. Photo: The Royal Library
And surely he was a fine figure of a man, Rasmus Malling-Hansen, here in a picture from 1887. Photo: Private.
This cardboard exhibition is today owned by a German collector. Could it be one of the cardboards made for the stenographic congress in 1935 in memory of Malling-Hansen? Photo: Private.
This is one of 6 very peculiar map projections designed by RMH and found in May 2009 at the Royal Library of Copenhagen by Jørgen Malling. In the archive for photos and maps. This map shows RMH’s projection of the globe as seen from the departing point of Paris at an angle of view of 80 degrees. The other RMH maps found exhibit a similar projection technique, but seen from the point of view of the Athens, Rome, St Petersburg and Stockholm horizon, respectively. Photo: Jørgen Malling Christensen.
”Schematismus Geographiae Mathematicae”, dated 1753. This document seems to be an instruction in how to make map projections, and it was in the same file as the 6 RMH projections of various world maps as seen from different world cities. It is logical to assume that he used this ancient map with its instructions as a means to elaborate the very special map projections. They were probably an element in his investigations about the influences of solar rays on the growth of children and all other living things. From the Royal Library, Copenhagen. Photo: Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

 

One of the maps that RMH produced can be ordered in a large format from The Royal Library in Copenhagen : http://shop.kb.dk/index.php/catalog/product/view/id/16108/s/512344/category/13/

 

 

Berlingske Søndag, 3. september, 1935

Artikkelforfatteren, Fritz Bech, 1863-1945, var gift med Malling-Hansens datter, Zarah, 1870-1910. Bildet er sannsynligvis fra ca 1890, samme året som de ble gift. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab

En Hundreaarsdag:

 

Den første Skrivemaskinens Opfinder havde mange Idéer

 

Av Forstander F. Bech

 

5. September er det 100 Aar siden Skrivekuglens Opfinder blev født. Forstander for Døvstummeinstitutet i Fredericia, F. BECH skriver om Manden med de mange Ideer.

 

UDE paa Garnisons Kirkegaard, til højre for og noget længere tilbage end Mindesmærket over Olaf Rye, er af ”Talende og døvstumme Venner” rejst en Gravsten i Bornholmsk Granit, med Medaillon af Ludv. Brandstrup, over Døvstummeforstanderen, Opfinderen og Biologen Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen eller, som han selv skrev sig: R. Malling-Hansen. Medaillonen viser ham i hans kraftigste Alder, et Par Aar før en haardnakket Hjertelidelse slog ham ned. Hans Liv er som Indledningen til et Eventyr, i hvilket der ingenlunde manglede mørke Skygger, men hvor Genialitetens Lys stadig brød igennem, indtil det for bestandig slukkedes. Kun 55 Aar gammel, den 27. September 1890, segnede han om i Nyboder, paa Hjemvejen fra Frimurerlogen, hvor han som en af Ordenens mest fremstaaende Brødre havde haft Ordet.

 

 

Fritz Bech, 1863-1945, på sitt kontor ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia. På veggen bak ham ses et stort portrett av hans svigerfar, Rasmus Malling-Hansen, 1835-1890. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Malling-Hansens gravsten, som tidligere sto på Garnisons kirkegård. Den ble i 1947 flyttet til Døvstummeinstituttet, der den kan ses i dag. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Langs den røde pilen oppover Borgergade gikk Malling-Hansen sin siste spasertur om kvelden 27. september 1890. Da det var konstatert at han var død, fikk legen ham bragt inn i huset på hjørnet Leopardlængen/Store Kongens Gade - huset med det røde krysset. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek

 

 

     MALLING-HANSEN var Lollik og Lærersøn. Allerede som lille Dreng mistede han sin Far, men da Bestefaderen[1] paa mødrene Side, der ogsaa var Lærer, tog ham til sig, blev det Lærerstandens solide, flittige og nøjsomme Levestandard, hans naturlige Begavelse kom til at formes over. Senere kom hertil Paavirkning fra et højt kultiveret Hjem, idet Lehnsgreve F. M. Knuth til Knuthenborg blev hans Protektor. Lehnsgreven sendte ham til Jonstrup, hvor han bestod Lærereksamen med Udmærkelse, antog ham derefter til Huslærer og opfyldte endelig hans højeste Ønske: at komme til Hovedstaden og studere, med Præsteuddannelse som Maal.

     Næppe var imidlertid Studentereksamen overstaaet, før M.-H. Ønskede at staa paa egne Ben. Begavelse, Opdragelse og Omgang havde ingivet ham en Taktfølelse, en harmonisk Blanding af Beskedenhed og Selvfølelse, der fulgte ham hele Livet igennem, og som nu tilsagde ham, at Tiden var inde til med Tak at frasige sig sin gavmilde Beskytters videre Støtte. Han søgte et Lærerembede ved Døvstummeinstituttet og fik det 1859.

 

     METODEN paa Instituttet var dengang Haandalfabetet – Skrift i Luften, med forskjellige Fingerstillinger, der hver især representerede et Bogstav – samt naturlige og konventionelle Tegn (Gebærder), og M.-H. var ikke sen til at sætte sig ind heri. Og længe før han med Grund havde kunnet vente det, blev der Brug for den dygtige unge Lærer til noget mere end en almindelig Lærerpost.

     Danmark havde foruten Instituttet i København endnu en offentlig Døvstummeanstalt i Byen Slesvig. Under den daværende Kamp dernede mellem Dansk og Tysk ønskede Regeringen ogsaa i dette Tilfælde en mere danskpræget Undervisning, og den umiddelbare Virkning heraf blev for M.-H., at han 1862 forflyttedes til Slesvig som Lærer, for i Begyndelsen af 1864 at rykke op til Forstander. Han var da kun 29 Aar gammel.

     Men Ophøjelsen blev ogsaa kortvarig. Krigsbegivenhederne tvang ham hurtigt bort, og reduceret til almindelig Lærer og stud. theol. vendte han tilbage til København og genoptog sine Studier.

     Atter smilede dog Lykken til den unge Mand. Forstanderen for Instituttet, Prof. S. Heiberg, med hvis Datter[2] han var blevet forlovet, havde i Begyndelsen af 1865 efter Ansøgning modtaget Kald som Sognepræst i Kjeldby paa Møn, og i hans Sted konstituteredes nu M.-H., og da han nogle Maaneder efter havde bestaaet sin Embedseksamen, erholdt han kgl. Udnævnelse.

     At komme ind paa M.-H.s fortjenstfulde Arbejde gennem 25 Aar som Forstander og Præst for de Døvstumme, vilde føre for vidt. Her skal kun fremhæves, at det var ham, der i 1867 ordnede Forholdet mellem Statsanstalten og Joh. Kellers private Døvstummeanstalt og endvidere 1880 og 1889 udarbejdede Indstillingerne til Rigsdagen om Oprettelsen af Instituttet i Fredericia og Skolen i Nyborg.

 

 

Malling-Hansens svigerfar og forgjenger som forstander ved Døvstummeinstituttet, Søren Johan Heiberg, 1810-1871. Foto: Heiberg-museet i Sogndal
Malling-Hansen unge forlovede, Cathrine Georgia Haeiberg, 1841-1876. Foto: Privat
Den unge, talentfulle studenten og læreren, Rasmus Malling-Hansen fotografert i 1861. Foto: Privat

 

 

     MERE almindelig Interesse har det, at det var Gerningen blandt de døvstumme Børn ude paa Kastelsvej, der førte ham til Opfindelsen af Verdens første Skrivemaskine, Skrivekuglen, og meget mere.

     Han havde set og selv erfaret, at medens man kun kan skrive 4 Lydtegn (Bogstaver) i Sekundet, kan en øvet Fingertaler frembringe 12 i samme Tid. Herved kom han til at tænke paa, om man ikke ved Fingerbevægelser paa en Maskine kunde skabe en tydelig Skrift, der kunde følge den mundtlige Tale, Lyd for Lyd. Ved Prøver paa Talehurtigheden i Rigsdagen havde han endvidere konstateret, at denne repræsenterede 10-20 Lyde i Sekundet, saa Fingerbevægelserne og denne nærmede sig hinanden. Han opfandt saa en Skrivemaskine, hvor Tasterne (Staalstilke med Bogstavplader) var fordelt over en Halvkugle (deraf Navnet ”Skrivekugle”), medens Papiret lagdes over en bevægelig Cylinderflade, der ved en elektrisk Strøm og en Elektromotor skubbedes et lille Stykke frem hver Gang en Tast trykkedes ned.

     Forsøg paa at Studere Fingerbevægelsernes Hastighed, ved Anslag paa en Porcelænshalvkugle, hvor Bogstaverne var ordnede i smaa Fordybninger, der fingerede Taster, blev allerede foretaget samme Aar, M.-H. blev Forstander, men med at faa Tasterne praktisk indrettede og installerede og præcist virkende hengik lang Tid, og først i Marts 1870 fik han sammen med Professor C. P. Jürgensens mekaniske Etablissement Eneret for 15 Aar paa sit Apparat. [3] Samme Aar indeholdt Illustreret Tidende en lengere Artikel af Professor C. Holten om den genial Opfindelse, og snart fulgte baade inden- og udenlandske Blade efter med deres Hyldest. Paa Udstillingerne i København 1872 og Wien 1873 hædredes Skrivekuglen med de højeste Udmærkelser, i Paris 1878 med Guldmedaille. [4] Patenter solgtes til England og Østrig, og alt syntes saare godt. Interessen var stadig voksende. Opfinderens Børn gik i Skolen under Navn af de smaa skrivekugler, og gamle Kong Christian IX, der altid gik omkring med Kræmmerhuse i Lommen til sine smaa Venner, standsede ikke sjældent ”Kuglerne” og sendte Hilsen til deres Far.

 

     NATURLIGVIS havde den første Skrivekugle som konstrueret af en selfmade Mand sine væsentlige Mangler. Den vejede 75 Kilo [5] og kostede 1200 Kr., og den elektriske Forbindelse var ikke helt driftsikker. Men resolut forlod M.-H. Elektrisiteten og konstruerede i Løbet af Kort Tid en ny Maskine, der bevægedes af mekanisk Vej, og Vægten og Prisen bragtes betydeligt ned, til sidst til henholdsvis 5 kilo og 150 Kr. Det var i den nye Skikkelse, den kom frem paa den nordiske Udstilling 1872 og derefter fremstilledes i større Mængde. [6]

     Men samtidig havde Amerikaneren Sholes sin maskine færdig, den stod beskrevet i ”Scientific American” for 10. August s. A., og Remingtonfabrikken udsendte Aaret efter sine første Eksemplarer. [7]

     Hermed var saa at sige Staven brudt over den Danske Maskine, thi vel havde Staten, Carlsberg o. A. støttet M.-H., men over for den amerikanske Kapital blev dette som en Draabe i Havet. [8]

     Allikevel vedblev M.-H. omtrent lige til sin Død at beskjæftige sig med Forbedringer af sin Opfindelse. Den allersidste Skrivekugle, der var fremstillet af Mekaniker Aug. Lyngbye, opnaaede endnu paa Udstillingen i København 1888 højeste Udmærkelse. Nu er ”Kuglen” forlængst overfløjet af andre Systemer, men ganske interessant er den Oplysning, Grosserer William Malling ved Lejlighed er fremkommet med, at han først 1900 gik over fra Skrivekuglen til Amerikansk Maskine.

     Resultatet af denne Opfindelse blev altsaa kun Skuffelse og Tab, og paa lignende Maade gik det med en anden mindre: Xerografien eller Tørtrykket, der havde sat Opfinderen i Stand til at tage indtil 100 Kopier af den originale Kugleskrift. Den blev overfjøjet af Hektografien.

 

 

Kong Christian IX, 1818-1906, var flere ganger på besøk på Døvstummeinstituttet. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Og dronning Louise, 1817-1898, ble sogar en gang veid på den store vekten som Malling-Hansen veide barna på. Foto: Det Kongelige bibliotek
Grosserer William Theodor Malling, 1830-1913, har opplyst at han brukte skrivekuglen i sin virksomhet helt frem til 1900. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek

 

 

     MEN M.-H. var en ukuelig Optimist og hans ustandseligt søgende Aand gav ham altid Stof til nye Studier og Opfindelser. Indførelsen af et nyt Bespisningsreglement paa Døvstummeinstituttet gav Anledning til daglige Vejninger og Maalinger, og under bearbejdelsen af de Tal, der saaledes fremkom, fremstillede der sig for hans intuitive Blik saadanne Perspektiver, at det hele blev sat i System: daglig Vejning 4 Gange og samtidig Maaling af Børnenes Højde, senere tillige Maaling af Tykkelsen og Højden af Træerne i Institutets Have. Resultatet af denne gennem 4 Aar fortsatte Undersøgelse gav følgende opsigtvækkende Oplysninger: En 9-15-aarig Drengs Vægtforøgelse sker ikke gradvis gennem Aarets Dage, Uger og Maaneder, tværtimod viser et gennemlevet Aar forskellige Perioder, en Maximums- (August-December), en Mellem- (December-April) og en Minimumsperiode (April-Juli). I Maximumsperioden er Vægtforøkelsen 3 Gange saa stor som i Mellemperioden, og hvad der vindes i denne, tabes i Minimumsperioden. Omvendt sker den store Forøgelse i Højdevæksten i Vægtperiodens Minimumsperiode o. s. v. Og hvad Træerne angaar, kunde M.-H. samtidig konstatere, at Forholdet mellem disses Tilvækst i Tykkelse og Højde paa det nærmeste stemmede med Børnenes Tiltagende i Vægt og Højde paa samme Tid.

     Paa den internationale Lægekongres i København 1884 gav M.-H. under stor Opmærksomhed og levende Bifald Oplysninger om disse sine Studier og Resultater, Oplysninger, der dels før, dels efter Kongressen fremkom i Bogform, væsentlig paa Tysk.

     Men M.-H. gik endnu videre i sine Undersøgelser. Han søgte Efterretning allevegne fra om tilsvarende Svingninger i Luftens Fugtighed, Lufttrykket, Luftens Ozonindhold og Magnetisme m. m. for om muligt at finde dette X, der var Aarsag i det altsammen, og som han kaldte Vækstenergien og satte i Forbindelse med Sollyset. Men ogsaa for disse hans Forskninger satte Døden Punktum, Forskninger til senere Videreførelser, hvorom Dr. Gustav Nylén, Stockholm, senest 1930 holdt et meget interessant og oplysende Foredrag.

 

     M.-H. var med all sin Flid og Optagethed aldeles ikke nogen pedantisk og tør Stuelærd, tværtimod et levende Menneske, der var optaget af alt, hva der rørte sig i Tiden. Da det første internationale Kunstsprog, Volapyk, kom til København, fandt han straks i dets logiske Opbygning en Forklaring paa, hvorfor de døvstumme Børn har saa svært ved at lære vort eget Sprog korrekt: Det levende Sprog har saa mange Luner, Afvigelser fra Logikken og er derfor uberegnelig med Hensyn til Periode og Sætningsbygning. Følgelig blev han en ivrig Volapykist, foretog selv eller sørgede for Oversættelse af H. C. Andersens Eventyr til Volapyk og holdt ogsaa Foredrag om dette Sprogs international Værdi.

     Paa en av Charlottenborg-Udstillingerne i Firserne var udstillet et Maleri af Engelstedt, forestillende den saakaldte Kvartet: Malling-Hansen, Overlærer Kaper (Borgmesterens Far), Direktør Ritzau (Grundlæggeren af R. B.) og Arkivar i Krigsministeriet, Kaptajn Feilberg ved L’hombrebordet. Disse 4 og deres Hustruer, der alle var dus, samledes i Vintertiden en Gang om Ugen til Kortspil hos hinanden, men havde ofte tillige en eller anden Spøg for, bl. a. gav M.-H. saaledes paa den Tid en Volapyk-Middag, med Menuen hektograferet baade paa Volapyk og Dansk – kun gik Vinen paa begge sprog op i en højere Enhed under benevnelsen Pumpenhejmer – Lamper behængte med og Bordet dækket i volapykiske Farver, Gul og Lila. Det var meget festlig og morsomt.

 

Erik Ritzau, 1839-1903
Gustav Feilberg, 1836-1895
Johannes Kaper, 1838-1905
Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912. Alle foto: DkB

    

 

     Til Vejningernes Tid hører et Besøg af Kongefamilien: Kong Christian IX og Dronning Louise, Dronning Olga af Grækenland, yndig at skue, med sine 2 unge Sønner, Prinserne Konstantin (den afdøde Konge) og Georg (Prins Valdemars Ven) m. fl. Elever og Lærerpersonale var i fineste Puds, Forstander og Lærere i Kjole og hvide Hansker, Eksemplarer af Skolens Læsebøger og andet Undervisningsmateriale fremlagt, da de høje Herskaber arriverede og efterhaanden gik Klasserne igennem for at høre lidt paa Undervisningen. Endelig kom man ogsaa ind paa Sovesalen, hvor den store Vægt, paa hvilken Børnene vejedes, stod. Det interesserede de Kongelige meget at høre om Vægtsvingningerne i Løbet af Aaret, og Dronning Louise lod sig endog af M.-H. formaa til at lade sig veje. Vægten var 47 ½ Kilo, i Sammenligning med adskillige af de store Pigers 60-65 Kilo jo ikkemeget for en Dronning, syntes de døvstumme Børn. Men da man søgte efter Prinserne, der sikkert havde kunnet præstere ganske anderledes store Vægtkvanta, var de forsvundet, paa egen Haand var de søgt ned i Køkkenet, hvor de siddende paa Køkkenbordet nød Livet i Form af en tyk Rundtenom Rugbrød med Fedt paa.

 

     MALLING-HANSEN var, da han stod i sin fulde Kraft, en smuk Mand, ”et Monrads Hoved [9], med sjælfulde Øjne, der saa mere indad end udad, en Officersskikkelse, spændstig og beleven i sin Optræden”, siger Vilh. Møller i sit forlængst ophørte Dagblad ”Nutiden”, og Karakteristikken er træffende. Naar hertil kom en alsidig Begavelse – ved Siden af sit Opfindersnilde var han meget musikalsk og en udmærket Tegner, der bl. a. Med stor Kunst har fremstillet Jorden, set fra forskellige Storbyer, syntes han fra Naturens Side kaaret til en Gudernes Yndling. Men en Ting manglede han: Forstaaelsen af en vis nødvendig Hensyntagen til sin legemlige Arbejdskraft. Naar han arbejdede, gik det for fuld Damp, medens utallige Cigaretter gik op i Røg. Derfor blev han ogsaa en udslidt Mand længe før Tiden.

     Ludvig Feilberg skriver i sin Bog om sjælelig Ringhed: ”Der er ved Standsningen af Malling-Hansens Arbejd, tabt Traade, som det maaske vil falde vanskeligt at faa op paany”. Dr. Nylén, der citerer Feilbergs Udtalelse i sit ovennævnte Foredrag, føjer hertil: ”Maaske kan disse Ord synes sande ved Tanken paa, at det nu er 40 Aar siden, M.-H. for stedse lukkede sine Øjne - -. Men de rige Impulser, Døvstummeinstituttets engang saa geniale Chef har givet os, har inspireret os. Et Problems Løsning har medført et nyt Problem. Traaden er ikke tabt, den spindes videre.”

     Og endnu i August d. A., i seklet for hans Fødsel og snart 50 Aar efter hans Død har, efter Opfordring, Kartoner med Fotografier af ham selv, hans Skrivekugler i de forskellige Stadier og Prøver paa den smukke og tydelige Skrift været udstillet paa en Stenografkongres i Kulmbach, og Kartonerne er efter Kongressen indlemmet i et Tysk Museum.

Malling-Hansen Navn vil sikkert altid tælles blandt dem, der har kastet Glans over Danmark.

 

F. Bech.

 

Fotnoter ved Sverre Avnskog:

 

 

[1]: Enten satt Fritz Bech inne med opplysninger som ikke er offisielle, eller så har han for enkelthets skyld valgt å omtale pleiefaren til Malling-Hansens mor, som oppfinnerens bestefar. Moren – Juliane Hansen, 1809-1885, vokste nemlig ikke opp hos sine biologiske foreldre, men hos familien Malling – som pleiedatter, og hun styrte husholdningen i huset. Da hun ellerede etter få års giftemål ble enke med tre små gutter, flyttet hun inn igjen hos pleiefaren, lærer ved Hunseby skole, Rasmus Malling, som på den måten også ble pleiefar for hennes sønner.

[2]: Datteren het Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876, og de ble gift i 1865. Ekteskapet var svært lykkelig, og de fikk 7 velskapte døtre sammen – før Cathrine meget tragisk døde i barsel i 1876, idet hun skulle føde ennå 2 pikebarn, som også døde ved fødselen.

[3]: Det vites ikke med sikkerhet hvordan den videre utviklingen av skrivekuglen foregikk fra testene på porselenskulen i 1865 og frem til maskinen var helt ferdigutviklet i 1870. Men nye opplysninger tyder på at at det sannsynligvis var utstilt en skrivekugle i forbindelse med Industriutstillingen i Altona (ved Hamburg, Tyskland) fra 27. august til 27. september 1869. Foreløpig er veldig få detaljer kjent fra denne utstillingen, og muligens var ikke skrivekuglen utstilt på selve utstillingen, men i et forretningslokale. Sannsynligvis må det ha dreid seg om den meget store modellen som var innebygget i et bord, og som i dag kun kjennes fra patenttegningene fra januar 1870.

[4]: Skrivekuglen var også utstilt i Kensington, London i 1871 og i Philadelphia Centennial i 1876. På sistnevnte utstilling ble den premiert med en gullmedalje.

[5]: Denne opplysningen, at den første skrivekuglen veide 75 kilo, har jeg sett flere steder, og den eneste forklaringen på det, må være at denne aller første skrivekuglen som ble bygget, ikke var identisk med den som ble presentert i 1870, nemlig sylindermodellen innebygget i en trekasse. Fra de første patenttegningene fra januar 1870, er også en modell som var bygget inn i et bord kjent, og det må være denne som veide ca 75 kg. Lenge ble det antatt at denne høye vekten skyldtes at batteriene på dette tidspunktet var store og tunge, men det stemmer ikke. Batteriene var allerede i 1860-årene kommet ned i en ganske praktisk anvendelig størrelse, og veide neppe mer enn max 10 kg, så det kan ikke forklare vekten på den første skrivekuglen.

[6]: På dette punkt er nok ikke den godeste F. Bech helt riktig informert. Det er riktig at det allerede i 1871 ble laget flere nye modeller av skrivekuglen, deriblant modellen med den flate vognen, men elektrisiteten klarte ikke Malling-Hansen å finne en erstatning for før i 1875, da han lanserte de første, velkjente høye modellene.

[7]: Remington-fabrikken startet ganske riktig opp sin produksjon av Sholes-Glidden maskinen i 1873 – men det kan nok diskuteres om hvorvidt denne første modellen var god nok til å utkonkurrere skrivekuglen fullstendig. Den var meget stor, dyr og de som vurderte skriftprøver fra de to konkurrerende maskinene, var enige om at skrivekuglen var Remington-maskinen langt overlegen i så henseende. Det hevdes en del steder at Remington-maskinen solgte i 5000 eksemplarer allerede de første 3-4 årene, men dette tallet er sannsynligvis sterkt overdrevet. Andre kilder oppgir ca 2500 solgte maskiner i løpet av den første 10-årsperioden.

[8]: Dette er i hvert fall helt riktig. Investoren James Densmore, som kjøpte patentet fra Sholes og Glidden, investerte flere titalls tusen dollar for å få forbedret maskinen før den ble satt i produksjon av Remington. Han kunne visstnok innkassere en gevinst på ca ½ million dollar da han solgte seg ut av foretagendet før sin død.

[9]: Denne mannen som Malling-Hansen ble sammenlignet med, var biskop og politiker Ditlev Gothard Monrad, 1811-1897.

 

 

Slik så han ut, den Monrad, som Malling-Hansen ble sammenlignet med - politiker og biskop Ditlev Gothard Monrad, 1811-1887. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Og visst var han en staselig mann, Rasmus Malling-Hansen, her på et bilde fra 1887. Foto: Privat
Denne montasjen eies i dag av en tysk samler. Kan det være en av de omtalte kartongene som ble laget til en Stenografkongress i 1935 til minne om Malling-Hansen? Foto: Privat
Dette er et af 6 meget specielle kortprojektioner udført af RMH og fundet på Det Kongelige Bibliotek i maj 2009 af Jørgen Malling i bibliotekets afdeling for fotografier og kort. Dette kort viser RMHs projektion af jorden set fra udgangspunktet Paris indtil en vinkel på 80 grader. De øvrige RMH-kort viser samme specielle projektion, men set fra København, respektive Athen,Rom, St Petersbrug og Stockholms horisont. Foto: Jørgen Malling Christensen
“Schematismus Geographiae Mathematicae”, dateret 1753. Dette dokument forekommer at være en vejledning i hvordan man udfører kort-projektioner, og det lå sammen med RMHs 6 projektioner over verdenskort, set fra forskellige byers udgangspunkter. Det er nærliggende at antage at han brugte dette gamle kort og instruktionerne som et hjælpemiddel til at udarbejde de meget specielle kortprojektektioner. Sandsynligvis var de et led i hans undersøgelser af solens indvirkning på børns og alt levendes vækst. Fra det kongelige Bibliotek. Foto: Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

 

Et av de kartene RMH fikk tegnet kan bestilles i stort format fra Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København: http://shop.kb.dk/index.php/catalog/product/view/id/16108/s/512344/category/13/

A Famous Lollander – a Forgotten name

Grephic print of the famous picture from 1885, used in the Danish Journal, "Nutiden". Copyright: The Royal Library

Article from ’Folketidende’ (probably ’Lolland-Falsters Folketidende’)March 10, 1928.

 

”The constrained conditions and skepticism of a tiny country, the cramped space here, the sensation of sitting in a small cove while the great waves are thundering outside, weighed this man down” . This is what “Illustreret Tidende” wrote at the death of Rasmus Malling in 1890.

 

The journal was probably correct; and yet he achieved so much. He died – only 55 years old – principal and priest of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen, he invented the typewriter and the tachygraph and stood as an outstanding biologist.

 

Like so many others he started out confidently, and in his vivid imagination saw all obstacles already moved away, but time passed and he got to know the thorny road to honor. In his mind he already saw the statue erected, but yet he achieved only a torso. He frequently met indifference where he had hoped to find warmth, and reticence where he had hoped to meet full support.

 

Rasmus Malling Hansen hailed from humble people. He was born 1835 at Havlykke, where his father , Johan Frederik Hansen was a school teacher, but the boy was barely four years old when his father died, and he was then adopted into the house of the peculiarly cultured and able-minded man Rasmus Malling, at the time a school teacher at Hunseby.

 

Here for the first time, he met impressions of the greater world outside, and this stirred his interest in studying. However at first it was not successful. Money was scarce, and hence he was placed in apprenticeship with a house painter in the town of Maribo, where he was also confirmed. However, here he met the destiny of his life in the shape of the Count of Knuthenborg, who had heard about the talented son of the school teacher and gave him the necessary financial support to enable him to enter the college of Jonstrup, where he spent three years, which he always referred to with the utmost joy. In 1854 he graduated with excellent marks and then – still sponsored by the count – went to Copenhagen where he took the General Certificate with the highest distinction four years later. He now intended to study Theology and also started his studies, but before graduating he was appointed teacher of the institute for the deaf-mutes in Copenhagen, and here he found a task that captured his interest, yes indeed became the calling of his life.

 

In the meantime, in the tumultuous years before the war in 1864, the Government wanted a good Danish man as the principal of the institute for the deaf-mutes in Schleswig and the lot fell on Malling, who took over the job in 1862. However, war and the German powers soon drove him away. Already in 1864 he returned and resumed his theological studies. The following year he graduated and simultaneously was appointed principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen.

 

The general public knows practically nothing about Malling Hansen’s merits within the education for the deaf-mutes in Denmark. Thanks to him the Keller Institutions were adopted as an element in the education of the deaf-mutes in this country. The speech method was introduced, the new institute for the deaf-mute in Fredericia was established, and the old incomplete sign language was substituted by the hand alphabet at the institute in Copenhagen.

 

When it is stated in a commission report from 1889 that all institutes for the deaf-mutes in Denmark have been integrated into a system, within which each and every single deaf-mute person is referred to a particular institution, where the teaching corresponds with the degree of his particular physical disability and mental capacity, and that such a systematic regulation of the teaching of the deaf-mutes is still not found anywhere else than in Denmark, this excellent result is primarily due to Rasmus Malling.

 

All other sciences that absorbed his interest in reality were rooted in the plight of the deaf-mutes. For instance, we must mention that the scientific work “Periods in the Growth of Children and in Solar Heat” – famous all over Europe – has its origin in a practical and rather down-to-earth investigation into the most appropriate meal regulation for the institute. In this field – the investigation about children’s growth – he achieved in fact the highest honor possible. At a medical congress  in Copenhagen he – the teacher and priest of the deaf-mutes -  gave a lecture about periods in the growth of children’s growth, and the most distinguished  participants of the medical congress saluted him with unqualified applause. Likewise, at his demise he was characterized by the foreign press as one of the most important biological researchers.

 

At the institute he had observed that a finger speaker using the sign language of the deaf-mutes could reproduce up to 12 signs per second, while in ordinary speech we produce 20 phonetic signs – in lectures 15 – but we can only write down 4. This led him into ideas about the feasibility of achieving a reproduction of sound, legible to everyone, able to follow the speed of speech, and with great mechanic ingenuity he succeeded in 1865 to construct the so called writing ball, named after its semi-spherical piston piece, into which were assembled all the letters and signs needed by the typing hand.

 

In 1870 he got a 15 year patent for its production; it was awarded prizes in Copenhagen in 1872 and in 1873 in Vienna, mentioned in German, Danish and British papers, and the English and Austrian patents were sold. Orders came in from Russia and Italy, in reality he was turning into one of the famous sons of the country.

 

Unfortunately the inventor did not have his mind set to produce the machine industrially, and of course the first model also had a number of flaws. However, this in no way disheartened him. As long as into (?) the 80’ies he continued working with improvements of the machine, and he really did succeed – with remarkable ingenuity – to develop the device into such a shape and function that it really did perform its task. And nevertheless, when his name in our time – not yet 40 years after his death – has been partially forgotten, it is only because he lacked the necessary capital to tackle the American competitors.

 

Of course, one must not be led to believe, that there were no other people working with the construction of such typewriters. In the beginning, however, the intention was merely to produce a means for blind people to communicate in writing as easily as possible (one such machine had been produced already in 1838). But Malling-Hansen was the first one to produce a really functional, reliable speed writing machine. In 1868 an inventor in America took out a patent for a machine intended to do the same job as Malling-Hansen’s , but that it was not nearly as good as his can be deduced from the fact that the Danish inventor was offered a very substantial sum of money for his patent.

 

Finally we cannot end this account about Rasmus Malling without mentioning, that he was also the inventor of a new copying method. . The previously known methods were only able to produce from 2 to 12 identical copies, but with his method – the so called xerography – a couple of hundreds could be made, and it was at the time the simplest, quickest and cheapest copying method.

 

In 1924 a feud emerged  between professor Hannover and contemporary relatives of Rasmus Malling  about who was the inventor of the writing ball, the former claiming that the honor belonged to councilor J.U.Peters, former teacher in Flensburg. Without entering into the details of the strife, suffice it here to refer to Mrs Johanne Agerskov’s work ‘ Who Is the Inventor of the Writing-Ball?”, where she demonstrates very clearly that the honor belongs to her late father.

 

And – once more quoting the obituary of “Ilustreret Tidende” from 1890 – we are reminded that a small country ‘is not propitious for the development of ‘heroes’’, and that Malling Hansen is no exception from this rule. He is, and rightfully remains, one of the pioneers of science.

 

And first and foremost we must never forget that he was a father for the unfortunate children trusted to his care, and true humanitarian and a good man.

 

Arild S. Ebbe

English translation

by Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

The original article in the local newspaper ‘Lolland Falsters Folketidende’
A page from Fritz August Bechs biography about RMH in Helge Holst’s book: “Opfindernes Liv” (The Life of the Inventors).

En berømt lollik - et glemt navn

Grafisk trykk laget etter et berømt bilde fra 1885. Copyright: Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København

Artikel fra Folketidende   (formentlig Lolland-Falsters Folketidende) den 10 marts 1928.

  

 

"Det lille lands små forhold og skepsis, den indskrænkede plads herhjemme, følelsen af at sidde inde i en lille vig, medens de store bølger går udenfor, tyngede denne mand." Således skrev Illustreret Tidende ved Rasmus Mallings død i 1890.

 

Den havde sikkert ret, og dog nåede han meget. Han døde - kun 55 år gammel - som forstander og præst  ved døvstummeinstituttet i København, han opfandt skrivemaskinen og takygrafen og stod som en meget fremragende biolog.

 

Som så mange andre begyndte han med frejdigt mod og så i sin livlige fantasi alle hindringer ryddet af vejen, men tiden gik, og han lærte ærens tornefulde vej at kende. Han så i tankerne statuen rejst, men nåede kun at frembringe en torso. Han mødte ofte ligegyldighed, hvor han havde håbet at finde varme, tilbageholdenhed hvor han havde ventet fuld tilslutning.

 

Rasmus Malling Hansen stammede fra småkårsfolk. Han blev født 1835 i Havlykke, hvor hans far, Joh. Fr. Hansen var lærer, men drengen var ikke mere end fire år, da faderen døde, og han kom så i huset hos den mærkelig dannede og dygtige mand Rasmus Malling, der var lærer i Hunseby.

 

Her mødte han første gang indtryk fra den store verden udenfor, og lysten til at lære noget vågnede i ham. Det lykkedes dog ikke i første omgang. Penge var det småt med hos den gode Rasmus Malling, og drengen kom derfor i malerlære i Maribo, da han var konfirmeret. Her mødte han imidlertid sit livs skæbne i skikkelse af Greven på Knuthenborg, der havde hørt den flinke skolelærersøn omtale og gav ham midler til at komme på Jonstrup Seminarium, hvor han tilbragte tre år, som han altid omtalte med største glæde. I 1854 blev han dimitteret med resultatet Udmærket duelig og tog så - stadig understøttet af Greven - til København, hvor han fik studentereksamen med første karakter fire år efter. Det var nu hans mening at studere teologi, og han begyndte også derpå, men før han fik eksamen blev han udnævnt til lærer ved Døvstummeinstituttet i København, og her fandt han en gerning, der interesserede ham levende, ja i virkeligheden blev hans livs mål.

 

Imidlertid ønskede man i de bevægede år, der gik ret forud for krigen i 1864, en god dansk mand som forstander for døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig, og loddet faldt på Malling, der overtog embedet i 1862. Krigen og de tyske magthavere drev ham imidlertid hurtigt bort. Allerede 1864 kom han tilbage og optog sine teologiske studier. Året efter blev han kandidat og omtrent samtidig forstander for døvstummeinstituttet i København.

 

Den store offentlighed ved så godt som intet om Malling Hansens fortjeneste af døvstummesagen i Danmark. Takket være ham blev de kellerske anstalter allerede i 1867 optaget som led i døvstummeundervisningen herhjemme. Talemetoden blev indført, det ny døvstummeinstitut oprettet i Fredericia og det gamle ufuldkomne tegnsprog afløst af håndalfabetet på instituttet i København.

 

Når det i en kommissionsbetænkning af 1889 hedder, at alle landets døvstummeanstalter er indordnet som led i et system, indenfor hvilket enhver døvstum henvises til en særlig anstalt, hvor undervisningen er afpasset efter graden i hans legemlige fejl og hans åndelige standpunkt, og at en sådan systematisk ordning af døvstummeundervisningen endnu ikke findes andre steder end i Danmark, skyldes dette fortrinlige resultat i første række Rasmus Malling.

 

Alle andre interesser, hvoraf han blev grebet, havde i virkeligheden deres rod hos de døvstumme. Her skal f. eks. nævnes, at det videnskabelig og i hele Europa berømte værk Perioder i Børns Vækst og i Solens Varme har sin oprindelse i en praktisk og ganske prosaisk undersøgelse om det bedste spisereglement for instituttet. På dette område - undersøgelsen af børns vækst - nåede han forøvrigt den smukkeste anerkendelse, der kunde findes. På en lægekongres i København holdt han - de døvstummes lærer og præst - et foredrag om perioder i børns vækst, og alle lægekongressens ypperste hilste ham med udelt bifald, ligesom han ved sin død i udlandets  presse betegnes som en af biologiens betydeligt forskere.

 

Han havde på instituttet iagttaget, at en fingertaler i døvstummesproget kunde gengive 12 lydtegn i sekundet, gennemsnitlig udtaler man i almindelig tale 20 lydtegn - i foredrag 15 - men man kan kun nedskrive 4. Det førte ham til at tænke over muligheden af at kunne nå en for alle læselig gengivelse af lyden, der kunde følge talen, og med stor mekanisk snilde lykkedes det ham i 1865 at fremstille den såkaldte Skrivekugle,  det har sit navn af det halvkugleformede stempelstykke, i hvilke han samlede alle de typer, som den skrivende hånd anslå.

 

I 1870 fik han 15 års eneret på dens fremstilling; den blev prisbelønnet i København i 1872 og i 1873 i Wien, omtalt i tyske, danske og engelske blade, og det engelske og østrigske patent blev solgt. Der indløb bestillinger fra Rusland og Italien, han var i virkeligheden blevet en af landets berømte.

 

Desværre var opfinderen ikke indstillet på at fremstille maskinen fabriksmæssigt, og selvfølgelig var den første model også behæftet med mangler. Det betog ham dog ikke i mindste måde modet. Helt (?) til 80' erne beskæftigede han sig med forbedringer af maskinen, og det lykkedes ham virkelig med mærkelig genialitet tilsidst at give apparatet en sådan form, at det løste sin opgave. Og når hans navn ikke desto mindre i vore dage - ikke 40 år efter hans død - er tildels glemt, skyldes det udelukkende, at han manglede kapital til at tage kampen op med de amerikanske konkurrenter.

 

Man må jo nemlig ikke tro, at der ikke var andre, der beskæftigede sig med at fremstille sådanne skriveapparater. Til at begynde med tænkte man imidlertid kun på at fremstille et middel for blinde til så let som muligt at meddele sig skriftligt (et sådant apparat var fremstillet allerede 1838). Men Malling Hansen var den første, der fremstillede en virkelig brugbar hurtigskrivningsmaskine. I 1868 udtog en opfinder i Amerika patent på en maskine, der skulle løse samme opgave som Mallings, men at den ikke var nær så god fremstår deraf, at man tilbød den danske opfinder et meget betydeligt beløb for hans patent.

 

Endelig kan vi ikke slutte en omtale af Rasmus Malling uden at nævne, at han også står som opfinder af en ny kopieringsmetode. Ved de tidligere metoder havde man kun kunnet fremstille 2 til 12 ens eksemplarer, med hans - den såkaldte xerografi - kunne fremstilles et par hundrede, og den stod på det tidspunkt som den simpleste, hurtigste og billigste måde at skaffe sig mange ens eksemplarer på.

 

I 1924 opstod der en strid mellem professor Hannover og nulevende slægtninge af Rasmus Malling om, hvem der var skrivekuglens opfinder, idet førstnævnte hævdede, at æren tilfaldt kancelliråd J.U Peters, forhen lærer i Flensborg. Uden at komme nærmere ind på striden, skal her blot henvises til fru Johanne Agerskovs Skrift 'Hvem er skrivekuglens opfinder?', hvor hun viser meget klart, at æren tilkommer hendes afdøde fader.

 

Og for igen at citere Illustret Tidendes nekrolog fra 1890, kunne man minde om, at et lille land 'ikke er gunstigt for udvikling af 'heroer' og Malling Hansen danner ingen undtagelse herfra. En videnskabens pioner er det navn, der med rette tilkommer ham.

 

Og først og fremmest må vi aldrig glemme, at han var en fader for de ulykkelige børn, der betroedes til hans omsorg, en sand menneskeven og en god mand.

 

Arild S. Ebbe

 

 

Originalartikkelen fra Lolland Falsters Folketidende
En side fra Fritz August Bechs biografi om RMH i Helge Holsts bok, "Oppfinnernes Liv"

NORDIC JOURNAL FOR THE EDUCATION OF THE DEAF-MUTES NO 10, 1935

This portrait of Malling-Hansen from 1887 was used as an illustration to Fritz August Bech’s article, published at the centenary of the birth of the inventor. Photo: Private

Memorial article about Malling-Hansen on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, written by his son-in-law, F. Bech[1]

 

R Malling-Hansen

The teacher of deaf-mutes – inventor – biologist

1835   - September 5   - 1935

 

Probably very few of the present teachers for the deaf-mutes have known Malling-Hansen, but for those who have been lucky enough to have met him in the flesh, it will surely be welcome to see that “Nordisk Tidskrift” remembers him at the centenary of his birth; and for those who have not known him personally, I hope it will be a rewarding experience to learn about the special educationalist’s inventions – famous among scientists abroad – as well as about his biological studies who all had their point of departure in, and proceeded side by side with, his work for the cause of the deaf-mutes.

 

Malling-Hansen was a schoolteacher’s son, but lost his father already as a small boy. By means of financial assistance from an influential friend[2] he enrolled at the Jonstrup College[3] and graduated with distinction, after which he studied theology in Copenhagen and during his period of academic studies was employed as a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in 1859.

 

At the time Denmark had one other institute for the deaf-mutes, namely the one in the town of Schleswig in the province by the same name, and since the Danish Government needed an education better reflecting Danish traditions, M-H was transferred to the Schleswig Institute  in 1862 and at the beginning of 1864 was promoted to be principal, merely 29 years old. However, due to the war events he was driven away from Schleswig in the same year, and reduced to the status of an ordinary teacher he returned to the capital city and resumed his studies.

 

However, already the following year he was given compensation and redress. For the principal of the Institute in Copenhagen, Professor Sören Heiberg, with whose daughter RMH had been engaged to be married, was called to be vicar on the island of Möen, and in his stead M-H was constituted and later, after having graduated from university that same year, received his royal appointment.

 

The going method at the Copenhagen Institute was hand alphabet and signs, but given that there were, parallel to the public institution, a large private institution, Professor Johan Keller’s school for defective speakers, and since this gave origin to a situation of competition – unpleasant for both parties – M-H in 1867 managed to organize it in such a way that all the ‘not properly deaf-mute’ children  were taken directly to the Keller Institution, while the ‘proper deaf-mute’ pupils were placed at the Royal Institute[4]. However, all proper deaf-mute pupils that in addition were mentally deficient were also referred to Prof Keller, who besides his school for the deaf-mutes had also established an institute for the mentally deficient.

 

Reading the report of the Institute to the Government in 1868 we find speech exercises among the subjects. Perhaps they were not given high priority – on average 6 hours per week in each class – but the institute had by including this acknowledged the justification of working against dumbness (inability to speak). In the years around 1870 M-H then tried with a class of 17 pupils to prove that a group of completely and proper deaf-mute could be taught successfully according to the speech method, and by the time of their confirmation in 1872 this class had achieved a level at which they could, quite skillfully, express themselves orally and lip-read their teacher’s mouth. However, the large number of pupils naturally did not lend itself to this type of teaching, and it was therefore decided in future to separate all pupils whose speech ability was poorly developed.

 

Support to the new regulation, thus already prepared, was to come from the then teacher at the Institute, Georg Jörgensen. Following a study tour abroad in 1874 to Germany and Switzerland he returned home, enthusiastic for the speech method, but contrary to what was taking place both at the Institute and with Keller he demanded all signs be banned from teaching. However, to implement this type of speech method at the old Institute with its deeply rooted sign language would be impossible, and although M-H was sympathetic to Jörgensen, he did feel that time was not ripe to establish a new institute.

 

However, in 1879 it appeared that the Institute in Copenhagen did not have capacity to accept more pupils. The M-H put forward a proposal for the establishment of a new institute in Jylland, to be based on pure speech methods. Government and parliament accepted the idea readily, and in 1881 the new government institute in Fredericia was ready for inauguration. Jörgensen was the obvious candidate for the post as principal, and Malling-Hansen was appointed assistant director. According to the Government decision henceforth all proper deaf-mute children were to be enrolled at the Fredericia institute for a one year test period. Following this, children not suitable for the speech method were to be transferred to Copenhagen, and the others were to remain in Fredericia. The expectation was that the two groups would be of equal size. However, after a few years the speech method covered 2/3 of proper deaf-mutes, and since at the time there were sufficient pupils, these were divided into a group A and a group B in accordance with their mental talents.

 

Prof Keller died suddenly from heart failure in 1884, and since it would be difficult for anybody else to take over the widely ramified organization Keller’s creative talents had generated, and which his organizing skills had kept together, his relatives and the Government ministry easily agreed to work towards a new regulation, whereby the entire institution for the deaf-mutes was to be taken over by Government, while the institutions for the mentally deficient remained a private enterprise with the eldest son, Dr Christian Keller, as principal. The Government set up a commission in 1888, already the following year presenting its report, drafted by Malling-Hansen, in which it proposed to establish a Government institution in Nyborg for the category of ‘not proper deaf-mute’ children. However, M-H were not to witness the inauguration of this institution in 1891, for he collapsed in the street the previous year, on September 27, just like Keller succumbing to heart failure, only 55 years old.

 

Albeit M-H certainly did make a great and meritorious contribution to the field of the education of deaf-mutes, this however is not what has brought him fame both at home and abroad – our field of work is too small for that. His fame must be attributed to his inventions and to his biological studies.

 

When teaching deaf-mutes he had experienced that while a person can only write 4 phonetic signs (letters) per second, a trained finger speaker can produce 12 signs at the same time. This led him to the idea whether it would be possible by means of finger movements on a machine to create an easily legible writing, capable of following oral speech, sound by sound. By means of testing the oral speed of speakers in parliament he had further recorded that the speed varied between 10 and 12 sounds per second, in other words quite similar to the finger speed. He then started to construct his typewriter. It consisted of a semi -sphere (hence the name ‘writing ball’), into which were inserted steel pistons or bars with keys of the letters of the alphabet on top. Below the steel pistons the paper was placed on a cylinder plate, which was pushed forward one notch – moved by electricity and by an electromagnet – each time one of the key bars was pressed down. The world’s first typewriter was hereby invented, and in 1870 M-H got his machine patented.

 

Naturally the writing ball in its first version, constructed by a man who was self-made in the field of poly-technology, had some essential flaws. It weighed 75 kg and cost 1200 kroner, and its electrical connection was not entirely reliable. However, unhesitatingly M-H abandoned electricity and constructed a new machine, in which the cylinder was replaced by a so-called carriage, mechanically moved by pressing down the key bars, and both weight and price were reduced (eventually down to 5 kg and 150 kroner).

 

In this shape it was shown at the exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and in Vienna in 1873, where it was honored with the highest distinction, and finally in Paris in 1878, where M-H. was awarded the gold medal.

 

However, approximately at around the same time the American Sholes had finished his machine; it was described in “Scientific American” 1872, and the following year the Remington factory issued its first copies. This meant that the Danish writing ball was in effect already beaten, because in spite of the Government and some private beneficiaries having supported, and being willing to continue, M-H’s invention, in the face of a competing mass production the Danish sponsorship was like a drop in the ocean in relation to the American capital.

 

Still M-H continued almost until his death to improve on his invention, and also at the Exhibition in Copenhagen in 1888 the writing ball was awarded the highest distinction, but the fact of the matter was already then that it had been surpassed by various American systems.

 

Hence, the result of this invention was only disappointment and loss, and it was in similar fashion with another smaller invention, the xerography or dry printing which enabled the inventor to make until 100 copies of the original writing ball text, using waxed paper. This technique was surpassed by hectographing.

 

However, Malling-Hansen was an unfailing optimist, and his continuously enquiring spirit always generated materials for new studies and inventions. The introduction of a new meal regulation at the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes caused him to start daily weighing of the pupils, and in the course of the analysis of the numerical results emerging, with his intuitive view he realized such perspectives that the whole thing was soon put into systematic order: Daily weighing 4 times and simultaneous measuring of the children’s height, and subsequently he also measured the thickness and height of the trees in the institute garden. The result of this research, running for four years, rendered the following remarkable information: A boy aged 9-15 years does not increase his weight gradually and at the same rate each day, week or month of the year, rather in the course of a year there are different periods: A maximum period (August – December); a medium period (December-April); and a minimum period in terms of weight gain (April – July). In the maximum period the weight gain is 3 times as  much as in the medium period, and whatever is gained in the latter is lost in the minimum period. However, in reverse order the big increase in height takes place in the minimum period for the weight gain etc. And concerning the trees M-H found at the same time that the relationship between their gain in breadth and height was closely coinciding with the children’s increase in weight and height in the same period. At an international medical congress in Copenhagen in 1884 M-H presented a report on his research and findings and was met with much attention and lively applause. The results were also published in books before and after the congress, mainly in German language.

 

But M-H proceeded even further with his investigations. He searched information from, many different locations about oscillations in terms of humidity, atmospheric pressure, ozone concentration and magnetism, among other factors, in order to find, if possible, this unknown Factor X that was the root cause of it all and which he called “growth energy” and connected with solar radiation. However, death put an end also to these research activities, research for future continuation, about which Dr Nylén, Stockholm, gave a lecture in 1930 in Copenhagen. In his lecture he quotes the Biologist Ludvig Feilberg[5], who in his work “Om sjælelig Ringhed” (Translation uncertain: ‘Concerning Inferiority of the Soul’?/JMC) writes: “By the discontinuation of Malling-Hansen’s work we have lost threads that may be very difficult to pick up again”, but he does add his own comment: “Perhaps these words may seem true considering that 40 years have now passed since M-H closed his eyes for ever - - -. However, the rich impulses left by the brilliant principal head of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes have inspired us. The thread has not been lost, rather it continues to be spinning.”

 

F. Bech

 

 

 


[1] CB: The article has been written form the perspective of an expert in the field of education of the deaf-mutes, communicating with other experts, and certain parts of it are difficult to grasp. I have tried to explain the technical terms – but I am not completely sure that I am correct!

[2] CB/JMC: This was Count Knuth of Knuthenborg, at the time also Government Minister for foreign Affairs. RMH grew up at Hunseby, Lolland, 3 kms from the large Knuthenborg Manor, - today the largest safari park of Northern Europe. The present count of Knuthenborg participated in our first general assembly when the society was founded and was nominated honorary member of the society.

[3] CB: In fact, the Jonstrup College was also in the vicinity of Copenhagen  - in the suburb today named ‘Ballerup’. It should also be added that RMH matriculated before starting his theological studies.

[4] CB:The difference between the two groups is not explained – but, as far I understand it, the ‘proper’ deaf-mute children had been born deaf, while the ‘not proper – or not really – deaf-mute’ children have been born with some degree of hearing but have deteriorated; hence they had some ability to learn to speak normally, - somewhat which is out of the range for children born completely deaf.
SA: Yes, that is correct, and it was RMH’s merit that the deaf-mute children were sorted into categories corresponding to their degree of hearing ability and their mental capacities and hence provided a teaching better adapted to their individual characteristics. Under the category of ‘not properly deaf-mutes’ were also those that had retained a certain degree of hearing and also some capacity to speak.

[5] JMC: Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912, was one of RMHs close friends. Feilberg was an engineer, psychologist as well as philosopher, and also a Government inspector of folk high shools and agricultural colleges. His body of works focuses mainly on issues of philosophy and psychology. From a monistic point of view he saw the human organism as a working machine that receives energy from the outside, concentrates it and gives off some of it again. Feilberg belongs to a distinctive Danish tradition of philosophical reflection which includes figures such as Poul Martin Møller, F,C,Sibbern, Søren Kirkegaard, jakob Knudsen, Wilhelm Grønbech and K.E.Løgstrup. Important authors such as Jacob Paludan, Helge Rode, Henrik Pontoppidan, Martin A Hansen and Johannes Smith were inspired by his ideas and neologisms. Feilberg’s philosophy is very much alive today; it was recently summarized and discussed in a Ph.D. dissertation by Margit Hartyani: “Mellemøjeblikke”, University of Southern Denmark Studies in History and Social Sciences vol 382, Odense, 2009, ISBN: 978 87 7674 411 3.
There are parallels between Feilberg’s philosophy and RMH’s research on children’s growth and the X-factor in understanding growth of all living species; but likewise, there are indications from the correspondence that RMH was Feilberg’s mentor, proffering critique and helping him along intellectually (see RMH to Feilberg 18861002 with his critical comments to Feilberg’s manuscript).

Fritz August Bech in a photo from 1921 outside the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Fredericia together with his daughter Zarah and her two children Ole and Lise. The other woman in the picture is Bech’s niece, Gertrude (‘Trut’), daughter of Emma Mathiesen, née Malling-Hansen. The picture was taken by Inger Agerskov, another niece of Bech, and daughter of Johanne Agerskov, also née Malling-Hansen. Photo: Private
Fritz August Bech made a great effort to prevent Rasmus Malling-Hansen from being forgotten by the Danish public. He had an extensive first-hand knowledge about Malling-Hansen’s life and versatile activities, and his articles are a very important source for the Malling-Hansen research. The above portrait is from 1943 and belongs to the Royal Library, Copenhagen.

Fritz August Bech (1863-1946) graduated from Horsens grammar school in the summer of 1881 and had his mind set on becoming a school teacher. He started working at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in 1882 and remained until his appointment as principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Fredericia in 1904. In 1890 he married one of principal Malling-Hansen’s 7 daughters, Zarah (1870-1910), and with her had 5 children. The youngest son, Erling, emigrated to the USA, and his descendants are living there today. Another son, Hans, was a diplomat in Russia and Finland. His eldest daughter, Zarah, died as late as 1991 and reached 100 years. Zarah was a very colorful personality, known under the moniker of “Red Zarah”. She was a Mensendieck teacher, and in 1968 she inherited a writing ball after her cousin Inger Agerskov, later sold to Germany together with some other Malling-Hansen treasures. In 1891 Bech founded the jornal ‘Smaablade for Døvstumme’ (Leaflets for Deaf-Mutes) and was its editor until 1904. Subsequently he developed an extensive activity as interpreter and lecturer, and he also edited ‘Effata’, jornal for the deaf. In this jornal his memoirs were printed in 1942. Fritz August Bech was also for many years president of the Danish Society for the Deaf (as from 1935 called “Danish Deaf Association” – ‘Danske Døves Landsforbund’).

 

Oslo, 29.07.07
Sverre Avnskog

 

Fritz August Bech pictured in 1882, the year he came to the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mutes. Photo: Private
Bech’s wife, Zarah née Malling-Hansen(1870-1910). Photo: Private
Zarah and Fritz’s five children: Zarah, Hans, Ingeborg,Vilhelm and Erling. Photo: Private.
This was the first page of Fritz August Bech’s article from 1935. Copyright: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
Fritz August Bech outside the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Fredericia in 1909.
Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912. Photo: The Royal Library

NORDISK TIDSKRIFT FöR DöVDUMSKOLAN Nr. 10 1935

Dette portræt af Malling-Hansen fra 1887 blev brugt som illustration til Fritz August Bechs artikel, offentliggjort på hundredeårstidspunktet for opfinderens fødsel. Foto: Privat

Mindeartikel om Malling-Hansen i anledning af 100-året for hans fødsel. Skrevet af hans svigersøn, F. Bech. [1]

 

 

R Malling-Hansen

 

Dövstummelæreren - Opfinderen - Biologen

 

1835 - 5 september - 1935

 

 

Der er næppe ret mange af den nulevende Dövstummelærerstand, der har kendt Malling-Hansen, men for dem, der har haft det Held at möde ham i Livet, vil det sikkert være kært, at "Nordisk Tidskrift" mindes ham i Hundredeaaret for hans Fødsel, og for dem, der ikke har kendt ham, haaber jeg, det vil være noget af en Oplevelse at höre om den blandt udenlandske Videnskabs-mænd berömte Dövstummepædagogs Opfindelser og biologiske Studier, der alle havde deres Udgangspunkt i og gik Side om Side med hans Arbejde for Dövstummesagen.

 

Malling-Hansen var Lærersön, men mistede allerede som lille Dreng sin Far, kom ved en formaaende Vens[2] Hjælp paa Jonstrup Seminarium[3] og bestod Lærereksamen med Udmærkelse, tog derefter til Köbenhavn for at studere Teologi og blev i studietiden ansat som Lærer ved det derværende kgl. Dövstummeinstitut 1859.

 

Dengang havde Danmark endnu en offentlig Dövstummeanstalt, i byen Slesvig i Provinsen af samme Navn, og da den danske Regering, under Kampen dernede mellem Tysk og Dansk, önskede en mere danskpræget Undervisning, forflyttedes M-H 1862 til Slesviginstituttet og avancerede i Begyndelsen af 1864 til Forstander, kun 29 Aar gammel. Ved Krigsbegivenhederne blev han imidlertid samme Aar fordrevet fra Slesvig, og reduceret til almindelig Lærer vendte han tilbage til Hovedstaden og genoptog sine Studier.

 

Allerede det følgende Aar gav ham dog oprejsning. Forstanderen for Instituttet i Köbenhavn, Prof. Sören Heiberg, med hvis Datter M-H var blevet forlovet, modtog nemlig 1865 Kald som Sognepræst paa Möen[4], og i hans Sted konstitueredes M-H og erholdt senere efter bestaaet Embedseksamen s.A. [5], kgl. Udnævnelse.

 

Metoden paa Instituttet i Köbenhavn var dengang Haandalfabetet og Tegn, men da der ved Siden af Statsanstalten trivedes en stor Privatanstalt, Prof. Joh. Kellers Taleskole, og der som Fölge heraf opstod en for begge Parter ubehaglig Konkurrence, fik M-H 1867 Forholdet ordnet saaledes, at alle de uegentlig dövstumme Börn indkaldtes direkte til den Kellerske Anstalt, de egentlige til Instituttet[6]. Dog henvistes ogsaa alle de aandsvage og meget svagt begavede egentlige Dövstumme til Prof. Keller, der jo ved siden af sin Dövstummeskole havde skabt en Aandssvageanstalt.

 

Naar man nu læser Indberetningen fra 1868 fra Instituttet i Köbenhavn til Ministeriet, vil man blandt Undervisningsfagene ogsaa finde Taleövelser. De dreves vel ikke i noget stort Omfang, gennem-snitlig 6 Timer ugentlig i hver Klasse, men Instituttet havde dog herved anerkendt Rigtigheden med at arbejde hen til Hævningen af Stumheden. I Aarene omkring 1870 sögte M-H derefter med en Klasse paa 17 Elever at före Bevis for, at en Samling lutter egentlige dövstumme med Held kunde undervises efter Talemetoden, og ved Konfirmationen 1872 var samme Klasse naaet til med ganske stor Færdighed at kunne udtrykke sig mundtlig og aflæse fra Lærerens Mund. Men det store Elevtal havde naturligvis ikke været fremmende for denne Undervisning, og det besluttedes derfor i Fremtiden at udskille alle Elever, hvis Taleevne ikke var særlig udviklet.

 

Stödet til den nye Ordning, som saaledes var forberedt, kom daværende Lærer ved Instituttet, cand. phil. Georg Jörgensen til at give. Efter en Udenlandsrejse 1874 til Tyskland og Svejts kom han hjem, fyldt af Begejstring for Talemetoden, idet han dog, i Modsætning til hvad der fandt Sted baade paa Instituttet og hos Keller, forlangte alle Tegn fortrængte fra Undervisningen. At sætte denne Form for Talemetode igennem paa det gamle Institut med dets indgroede Tegnsprog vilde imidlertid være en Umulighed, og skönt M-H stillede sig forstaaende over for Jörgensen, mente han dog, at Tidspunktet til Oprettelsen af et nyt Institut ikke var inde.

 

I Aaret 1879 viste det sig imidlertid, at Instituttet i Köbenhavn ikke var i Stand til at optage flere Elever. Saa fremkom M-H med Forslag til Oprettelse af et nyt Institut i Jylland, grundet paa den rene Talemetode. Det fandt velvillig Modtagelse hos Regering og Rigsdag, og i 1881 stod det nye Statsinstitut i Fredericia færdigt til at tages i Brug. Jörgensen var selvskreven som Forstander, og Malling-Hansen blev Underdirektör. Efter Ministeriets Bestemmelse skulde herefter alle egentlig dövstumme Börn indkaldes til Fredericia og underkastes en eetaarig Pröve. Efter denne skulde de Börn, der ikke egnede sig til Talemetoden, overföres til Köbenhavn. Resten forblive i Fredericia. Man formente, at en Deling i to lige store Dele vilde blive det normale. Efter nogle Aars Forlöb udvidedes Taleundervisningen imidlertid til at omfatte 2/3 af de egentlig Dövstumme, og da der paa den Tid var Elever nok, deltes disse efter Begavelsen i en A- og B-Afdeling.

 

Prof. Keller afgik pludselig ved Døden 1884, ramt af et Hjerteslag, og da det vilde være vanskeligt for en anden at overtage den vidtforgrenede Virksomhed, Kellers skabende evner havde frembragt, og hans organisatoriske Dygtighed holdt sammen paa, blev hans efterladte og Ministeriet let enige om at stræbe hen mod en ny Ordning, ved hvilken hele Dövstummeafdelingen skulde overgaa til Staten, medens Aandssvageanstalterne bibeholdtes som en selvejende Institution, med Professorens ældste Sön, Dr. Chr. Keller som Leder. Der blev nedsat en Kommission 1888, som allerede næste Aar afgav en Betænkning, affattet af Malling-Hansen, hvori der foresloges at bygge en Statsanstalt for de uegentlig dövstumme Börn i Nyborg. Dennes Aabning 1891 kom M-H dog ikk til at opleve, idet han den 27. September Aaret i Forvejen styrtede om paa Gaden, ramt ligesom Keller af Hjerteslag, kun 55 Aar gammel.

 

Skönt M-H saaledes ogsaa paa Dövstummevæsenets Omraade har udfört et stort og fortjenstfuldt Arbejde, er det dog ikke det, der har bragt hans Navn til at lyde baade hjemme og i Udlandet, dertil er vort Fag for lille. Hans Berömmelse maa tilskrives hans Opfindelser og hans biologiske Studier.

 

Han havde under sin Gerning erfaret, at medens man kun kan skrive 4 Lydtegn (bogstaver) i Sekundet, kan man, ved övelse, i Fingersproget naa til at frembringe 12 i samme Tid. Herved var han kommet til at tænke paa, om man ikke ved Fingerbevægelser paa en Maskine kunde skabe en tydelig Skrift, der kunde fölge Talen Lyd for Lyd. Han havde desuden i Rigsdagen gjort sine Studier over Talehurtigheden og konstateret, at denne repræsenterede 10-12 Lyde i Sekundet, altsaa nogenlunde svarende til Fingerhastigheden. Derefter tog han fat paa konstruktionen af sin Skrivemaskine. Den bestod af en Halvkugle (deraf Navnet Skrivekugle), i hvilken Staalstilke med Bogstavknapper i Enden var stukket igennem. Under Staalstilkene var Papiret anbragt over en Cylinderplade, der ved en elektrisk Ström og en Elektromagnet skubbedes et lille Stykke frem, hver gang en af Tasterne trykkedes ned. Den förste Skrivemaskine i Verden var dermed opfundet, og 1870 fik M-H Eneret paa sit Apparat.

 

Naturligvis havde Skrivekuglen i sin förste Skikkelse som konstrueret af en paa Polyteknikkens Område selfmade Mand sine væsentlige Mangler. Den vejede 75 kg og kostede 1200 Kr, og dens elektriske forbindelse var ikke helt driftsikker. Men resolut forlod M-H Elektriciteten og konstruerede en ny Maskine, hvor Cylinderen var aflöst af en saakaldt Vogn, der bevægedes paa mekanisk Vis ved Anslag paa Tasterne, og baade Pris og Vægt reduceredes (bragtes endog til sidst ned til resp. 150 Kr. og 5 kg.

 

I denne Skikkelse fremstilledes den paa Udstillingerne i Köbenhavn i 1872 og i Wien i 1873, hvor den hædredes med höjeste Udmærkelse, og endelig i Paris i 1878, hvor M-H. erholdt Guldmedaille.

 

Men omtrent samtidig havde Amerikaneren Sholes sin Maskine færdig, den stod beskrevet i "Scientific American" 1872, og næste Aar udsendte Remingtonfabrikken sine förste Eksemplarer af den. Hermed var den danske Skrivekugle saa at sige straks slaaet ud, thi vel havde baade Stat og Privatmænd stöttet og vilde vedblivende stötte M-H's Opfindelse, men her, hvor der var Tale om Massefabrikation, var den danske Hjælp som en Draabe i Havet over for den amerikanske Kapital.

 

Alligevel vedblev M-H omtrent lige til sin Död at beskæftige sig med Forbedringer af sin Opfindelse, og ogsaa paa Udstillingen i Köbenhavn 1888 fik Skrivekuglen höjeste Udmærkelse, men Sandheden var allerede dengang, at den var overflöjet af forskellige amerikanske Systemer.

 

 Resultatet af denne Opfindelse blev altsaa kun Skuffelse og Tab, og paa lignende Maade gik det med en anden mindre Opfindelse, Xerografien eller Törtrykket, der havde sat Opfinderen i Stand til ved Hjælp af Vokspapir at tage indtil 100 Kopier af den originale Kugleskrift. Den blev overflöjet af Hektografien.

 

Men Malling-Hansen var en födt Lysseer, og hans ustandseligt  sögende Aand fandt altid Stof til nye Studier og Opfindelser. Indförelsen af et nyt Bespisningsreglement paa Dövstummeinstituttet gav Anledning til daglige Vejninger af Eleverne, og under Behandlingen af de Tal, der fremkom, fremstillede der sig for hans intuitive Blik saadanne Perspektiver, at det hele blev sat i System: daglig Vejning 4 gange og samtidig Maaling af Börnenes Höjde, senere tillige Tykkelsen og Höjden af Træerne i Instituttets Have. Resultatet af denne gennem 4 Aar fortsatte Undersögelse gav fölgende opsigtsvækkende Oplysninger: En 9-15 aarig Drengs Vægtforögelse sker ikke gradvis gennem Aarets Dage, Uger og Maaneder, tværtimod viser et gennemlevet Aar forskellige Perioder: En Maximums- (August-December), en Mellem- (December-April) og en Minimumsperiode (April-Juli). I Maximumsperioden er Vægtforögelsen 3 Gange saa stor som i Mellemperioden, og hvad der vindes i denne, tabes i Minimumsperioden. Omvendt sker den store Forögelse i Höjdevæksten i Vægtperiodernes Minimumsperiode o.s.v. Og hvad Træerne angaar, kunde M-H samtidig konstatere, at Forholdet mellem disses Tilvækst i Tykkelse og Höjde paa det nærmeste stemmede med Börnenes Tiltagende i Vægt og Höjde paa samme Tid. Paa en international Lægekongres i Köbenhavn i 1884 gav M.H. under stor Opmærksomhed og levende Bifald en Redegörelse for sine Studier og Opfindelser, der dels för, dels efter Kongressen fremkom i Bogform, væsentlig paa Tysk.

 

Men M-H gik endnu videre i sine Undersögelser. Han sögte allevegnefra Efterretning om tilsvarende Svingninger i Luftens Fugtighed, Lufttrykket, Luftens Ozonindhold og Magnetisme m.m. for om muligt at finde dette X, der var Aarsag i det altsammen, og som han kaldte Vækstenergien og selv satte i forbindelse med Sollyset. Men ogsaa for disse hans Forskninger satte Döden Punktum, Forskning til senere Videreförelser, hvorom Dr. Gustav Nylén, Stockholm, senest 1930 holdt Foredrag i Köbenhavn. I dette Foredrag citerer han Biologen Ludv. Feilberg[7], der i sin bog om sjælelig Ringhed skriver: "Der er ved Standsningen af Malling-Hansens Arbejde tabt Traade, som det maaske vil falde vanskeligt at faa op paany", men tilföjer for egen Regning: "Maaske kan disse Ord synes sande ved Tanken paa, at det nu er 40 år siden, at M-H for stedse lukkede sine Øjne - - -. Men de rige Impulser, Dövstummeinstituttets engang saa geniale Chef har givet os, har inspireret os. Et Problems Lösning har medfört et nyt Problem. Traaden er ikke tabt, den spindes videre."

 

F. Bech

 


[1] CB: Artiklen er jo skrevet fra en døveekspert til andre døveeksperter, og visse dele af den mht døvheds-systemet er svært forståeligt. Jeg har forsøgt at forklare fagudtrykkene - men det er ikke sikkert, det er korrekt!

[2] CB: Greven af Knuthenborg. RMH voksede op i landsbyen Hunseby på Lolland, 3 km fra det store Knuthenborg Gods, der i dag er Nordeuropas største safaripark. Den nuværende greve af Knuthenborg deltog i vores stiftende generalforsamling og blev udnævnt til Æresmedlem af Selskabet.

[3] CB: Jonstrup Seminarium lå faktisk også i København - i den forstad der i dag hedder Ballerup - så det med at 'tage til København' er en misforståelse. RMH blev også student, før han begyndte på teologistudiet.

SA: Men det er viktig å huske på at det gikk flere år fra RMH gikk ut fra Jonstrup i 1854 til han reiste til København igjen for å studere teologi. Han arbeidet både et år som privatlærer i Hunseby og et år som assistentlærer ved Maglemer skole, samt studerte på egen hånd i hjemmet, før han ble student og ville påbegynne teologistudiet.

[4] CB: Det er for mig komplet uforståeligt, at en stilling som sognepræst på det fjerne Møn kan være mere tiltrækkende end stillingen som forstander for det kongelige døvstummeinstitut?

[5] CB: S.a = samme år

[6] CB: Forskellen mellem egentlig og uegentlige døvstumme er ikke forklaret - men er, så vidt jeg kender til det, at de 'egentligt' døvstumme er født døve, medens de 'uegentligt' døvstummer er 'døvblevne', der altså har kunnet høre de første år af deres liv - og derfor kan lære at tale normalt - hvad egentligt døvstumme vist ikke kan.

SA: Ja, det er riktig, og det var RMHs fortjeneste at de døvstumme ble inndelt i grupper etter deres høreevne og læringsevne, og gitt en bedre tilpasset undervisning. Til de uegentlige døvstumme hørte også de som hadde en viss hørsel i behold, og som også hadde taleevne.

[7] JMC: Ludvig Feilberg, 1849-1912, var en af RMHs meget gode venner. Feilberg var ingeniør, psykolog og filosof og desuden kulturministeriets tilsynshavende ved folkehøjskoler og landbrugshøjskoler. Hans forfatterskab er især af filosofisk-psykologisk art. Ud fra en monistisk opfattelse betragtede han den menneskelige organisme som en arbejdsmaskine, der modtager energi fra omverden, fortætter den og afgiver noget af den igen. Feilberg tilhører en særegen dansk tradition for livsfilosofisk overvejelse som – før ham – omfatter navne som Poul Martin Møller, F.C. Sibbern og Søren Kierkegaard og som – efter ham – tæller folk som Jakob Knudsen, Vilhelm Grønbech og K.E. Løgstrup. Derudover har især forfattere som Jacob Paludan, Helge Rode, Henrik Pontoppidan, Martin A. Hansen og Johannes Smith været inspireret af hans skildringer af sjælelig åbenhed og hans neologismer. Feilberg’s filosofi og indflydelse lever den dag i dag, for nylig grundigt behandlet i en Ph.D. afhandling af Margit Hartyani, publiceret i 2009 under titlen ”Mellemøjeblikke” af Syddansk Universitetsforlag, vol. 382, Odense, ISBN: 978 87 7674 411 3.
Der er paralleller mellem Feilberg’s filosofi og RMH’s forskning angående børns vækst og den såkaldte X-faktor for alle levende væseners vækst; men der er også indikationer fra korrespondencen på at RMH var Feilbergs mentor og hjalp ham med kritiske og konstruktive intellektuelle synspunkter (se RMHs brev til L. Feilberg 18861002 med en hel del kritiske kommentarer til Feilbergs manuskript).

 

Fritz August Bech fotograferet i 1921 udenfor Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia, sammen med sin datter Zarah og hendes to børn Ole og Lise. Den anden kvinde på billedet er Bechs Niece, Gertrude (Trut), datter af Emma Mathiesen, født Malling-Hansen. Billedet er taget af Inger Agerskov, en anden af Bechs niecer, datter af Johanne Agerskov, også født Malling-Hansen.
Fritz August Bech gjorde en stor indsats for at forhindre, at Rasmus Malling-Hansen blev glemt af den danske offentlighed. Han sad inde med en omfattende førstehåndsviden om Malling-Hansens liv og mangesidede virksomhed, og hans artikler er en meget vigtig kilde for Malling-Hansen-forskningen. Ovenstående portræt er fra 1943 og tilhører Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København.

Fritz August Bech (1863-1946) tok sin utdanning ved Latinskolen i Horsens sommeren 1881, og hadde bestemt seg for å bli lærer. Han kom til Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitutt i 1882 og ble der inntil sin utnevnelse som forstander ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia i 1904.

I 1890 ble han gift med en av forstander Malling-Hansens 7 døtre, Zarah (1870-1910), og med henne fikk han 5 barn. Den yngste sønnen, Erling, emigrerte til USA, og hans etterkommere lever der i dag. En annen av sønnene, Hans, var diplomat i Russland og Finland. Hans eldste datter, Zarah, døde så sent som i 1991, og ble 100 år gammel. Zarah var en meget fargerik personlighet, som gikk under tilnavnet "Røde Zarah". Hun var mensendieck-lærer, og i 1968 arvet hun en skrivekugle etter sin kusine Inger Agerskov, og denne ble senere solgt til Tyskland, sammen med en del andre Malling-Hansen klenodier.

I 1891 grunnla Bech Smaablade for Døvstumme og redigerte dette fram til 1904. Senere hadde han en omfattende tolke- og foredragsvirksomhet, og redigerte også Effata, tidsskrift for døve. Her ble hans erindringer trykt i 1942. Fritz August Bech var også mangeårig formann i den Danske Døveforening.

 

Oslo, 29.07.07

Sverre Avnskog

Fritz August Bech fotografert i 1882, samme året som han kom til Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitutt. Foto: Privat
Bechs hustru, Zarah f. Malling-Hansen (1870-1910). Foto: Privat
De fem barna til Zara og Fritz; Zarah, Hans, Ingeborg, Vilhelm og Erling. Foto: Privat
Slik så den første siden av Fritz August Bechs artikkel fra 1935 ut. Copyright: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Fritz August Bech fotografert utenfor Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia i 1909

Artikel om Rasmus Malling-Hansen fra Helge Holsts bog:

Rasmus Malling-Hansen - foto fra Det Kongelige Biblioteks samling
Carl Holten, 1818-1886, skrev meget positivt om skrivekuglen i "Illustreret Tidende" i 1870, og var også til stede da oppfinnelsen ble presentert offentlig for første gang, 8. september 1870
RMHs konfirmasjonsprest, Ludvig Jacob Mendel Gude, 1820-1895, den senere domprosten i Roskilde. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Det ble hevdet i flere sammenhenger at RMH hadde et "Monrad'sk" utseende, etter D.G. Monrad, 1811-87, en fremtrædende dansk politiker og biskop.

Opfindernes Liv, Bind 1. Udgivet på Nordisk Forlag i 1924

                Av Fritz August Bech

 

 

             Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

   Et Monradsk [1]Hovede, med sjælfulde Øjne, der saa mere indad end udad; en Officersskikkelse, spænstig og beleven i Optræden - saadan saa Malling-Hansen ud, da han stod i sin fulde Kraft.

 

  Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen, som hans fulde Navn lød, fødtes den 5. Septbr. 1835 i Hunseby Skole ved Maribo og fik Navn efter derværende Lærer Rasmus Malling, en Normand af Fødsel. Hans Fader, der som Hjælpelærer i Hunseby var blevet gift med Rasmus Mallings Plejedatter, var netop, efter fuldendt Eksamen, blevet enelærer i Havlykke, ikke langt fra Hunseby, da han pludselig bortrevedes af Tyfus, efterladende sig Hustru og 3 smaa Drenge, af hvilke Malling-Hansen, kun 4 Aar gammel, var den ældste. Det var svære Tider for den unge Enke og smaa Kaar at gaa ind under, skønt Plejefaderen, i hvis Hjem hun havde født sine Børn, straks overtog Forsørgelsen af hele Familien, mod at Datteren, som hidtil, vedblev at styre hans Hus.

  Rasmus Malling, der saaledes ogsaa blev Plejefar for Malling-Hansen, var en sirlig og stilfuld, selskabelig skolet ældre Herre, der i sin Tid havde faaet sin Opdragelse paa Løvenborg[2] sammen med de unge Baroner, Moderen en kærlig og ualmindelig dygtig Kvinde, og Opdragelsen gennem disse to satte ganske naturligt sit Stempel på Drengen: Malling-Hansen havde hele sit liv let ved at bevæge sig blandt Folk og samtidig at gøre sig selv og sine Meninger gældende uden Spor af Paagaaenhed, i Kraft af en harmonisk Blanding af Beskedenhed og Selvfølelse.

  Som Barn viste han sig meget lærenem i alle Retninger, og hans Plejefaders nye Hjælpelærer, en fremadstræbende ung Mand, tog sig meget af ham uden for den egentlige Skoleundervisning; Matematik interesserede ham stærkt, og han viste gode Anlæg for Tegning. Nogen større Udsigt for den begavede Dreng til at vinde frem til de højere Stillinger i Samfundet var der dog ikke; foreløbig kunde der være Tale om, som Følge af Tegnetalentet, at faa ham anbragt i Malerlære, naar Konfirmationen var heldigt overstaaet. Forberedelsen hertil, der foregik hos den senere Domprovst Gude[3], gjorde stærkt Indtryk paa Drengen, og en Dag betroede han Præsten, at han ogsaa selv saa inderligt gerne vilde være Præst. Gude slog det imidlertid hen, og Malling-Hansen kom i Malerlære i Maribo.

  Om Gude nu alligevel har bragt Drengens Ønske videre, eller Initiativet kom fra Greven selv, faar staa hen, Faktum er, at han og hans Moder nogen Tid efter fik Tilsigelse fra Lehnsgreve F. M. Knuth[4] om at møde paa Knuthenborg, og Resultatet af Sammenkomsten blev, at Greven paatog sig at holde den unge Malling-Hansen paa Jonstrup Seminarium. Herfra dimitteredes han i 1854 med Udmærkelse, og et Aars Tid var han derefter Hjælpelærer i Maglemer nær Hunseby, medens han samtidig gav nogle ugentlige Timer paa Knuthenborg. Saa endelig gik hans kære Ønske i Opfyldelse: han trofaste Støtte, Lehnsgreven, sendte han til Hovedstaden for at studere til Præst. Efter 3 Aars privat Forberedelse blev han Student med første Karakter, og tog saa fat paa Teologien.

  For en 23-årig Mand med Malling-Hansens Natur var der imidlertid noget meget utilfredsstillende ved at leve af en andens Pengepung, og da han gennem en Bekendt, der var Lærer paa Døvstummeinstituttet, erfarede, at der var en Plads ledig, søgte og fik han den 1859. Herved var han kommet ind paa en Bane, der skulde blive bestemmende for hans Fremtid: Døvstummeunder-visningen, der ved sin Ejendommelighed straks tog ham fangen, blev Udgangspunktet for alle hans Idéer og Planer og tillige den faste Borg, hvortil han stadig søgte tilbage, naar Modgangen meldte sig. Foreløbig blev han dog kun et Par Aar paa Døvstummeinstituttet, saa fik han Betænkeligheder paa Teologiens Vegne, kom paa Regensen[5] og læste af fuld Kraft til Embedseksamen, indtil Studeringerne pludselig afbrødes ved et Tilbud, Malling-Hansen, der nu var blevet forlovet med Døvstummeforstander, Professor Heibergs Datter, mente ikke at kunne lade gaa fra sig: Ministeriet ønskede ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig en dansk Mand ansat som Lærer, eventuelt senere som Forstander, og begge dele blev Malling-Hansen 1862-64. Krigsbegivenhederne [6] fordrev ham fra Slesvig, og han tog atter fat paa Studierne, der skyndsomst muligt afsluttedes med Embeds-eksamen 1835, efter at han kort forinden ved sin Svigerfaders forflyttelse var blevet konstitueret som Forstander for Instituttet i København.

  Her var det saa, at han, i slutningen af Tresserne, samtidig med at gennemføre den Organisation af det danske Døvstummevæsen, som i Hovedsagen endnu er gældende, gjorde den Opfindelse, Skrivekuglen, der skulde gøre  hans Navn berømt over hele Verden, men bragte ham selv saa liden personling Vinding, at han døde nærmest som en fattig Mand.

 

I følge Fritz Bech fikk RMHs fosterfar sin oppdragelse ved Løvenborg gods, og omgikkes de unge baronene der.
Slik ser Løvenborg ut i dag. I Store Norske Leksikon står følgende: Løvenborg slott. 8 km vestsørvest for Holbæk, lå opprinnelig på en holme og er fortsatt omgitt av vollgraver. Slottet, som er fredet, består av tre toetasjes fløyer med store, åttekantede hjørnetårn; den eldste delen er oppført av Hans Barnekow omkring 1550; tilbygg ca. 1635 (ved Malte Juel) og 1853.
Fritz Bech forteller at den aller første skrivekuglemodellen veide 75 kilo. Det er en meget viktig opplysning som bekrefter antagelsen om at den første patentmodellen også var den første modellen som ble bygget. Det er kun den som kan antas å ha veiet så mye som 75 kilo. Illustrasjon: Dieter Eberwein
Modellen med en flat vogn ble patentert i USA i 1874, og av illustrasjonen kan man se at den også anvendte elektromagnetisme til papirføringen, og her er altså Fritz Bech feilinformert. Det var først med den høye modellen i 1875 at en mekanisk løsning avløste batteriene. Den første skrivekuglen med flat vogn ble for øvrig bygget første gang i Danmark i 1871!
RMH hadde en flat modell i tankene allerede da han søkte om det første patentet i Danmark i januar 1870, og som tegningen viser, var den utstyrt med en hendel for manuelle forflytning av vognen med papiret. De første patentene nevnte ikke batterier i det hele tatt, papirføringen foregikk enten ved hjelp av en fotpedal, håndsveiv eller en spiralfjær som kunne trekkes opp.
Slik så det håndalfabetet ut som det ble undervist etter ved Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstituttet. Tegning fra 100 års jubileumsboken utgitt i 1907. Det var den hurtighet man kunne "tale" med disse håndtegnene som satte Malling-Hansen på ideen å lage en skrivemaskin
Et utsøkt eksemplar av skrivekuglen - 1878 modell med fargebånd. Foto: Auction Team Köln

 

 

   Ved Undervisningen af de døvstumme brugtes daglig Fingeralfabetet, en Skrift i Luften, der fuldstændig dækker Skriftalfabetet, men er adskilligt hurtigere end denne. Malling-Hansen havde udfundet, at, medens man skriftlig kun kan fremstille 4 Lydtegn, kan en øvet Fingertaler  frembringe 12 i Sekundet. Herved kom han til at tænke paa, om man ikke ved Fingerbevægelser paa en Maskine kun skabe en af alle læselig Gengivelse af Lydene, der kunde følge den mundtlige Tale Lyd for Lyd; ved Prøver paa Talehurtigheden i Rigsdagen havde han konstateret, at denne repræsenterer 10-20 Lyde i Sekundet. Han opfandt saa en Skrivemaskine, hvor Tasterne var fordelt over en Halvkugle (deraf Navnet Skrivekugle) og Papiret lagdes paa en bevægelig Cylinderplade, der ved en elektrisk STrøm og en Elektromagnet skubbedes et Stykke frem, hver gang en Tast trykkedes ned.

   Skrivekuglen var saaledes opfundet, og i Marts 1870 fik Malling-Hansen Eneret paa sit Apparat i 15 Aar. Samme Aar indeholdt Illustreret Tidende ved Prof. C. Holten[7] en længere Artikel om den geniale Opfindelse, og snart fulgte udenlandske Blade efter med Beretninger om den epoke-vækkende Begivenhed. Paa Udstillingerne i København i 1872 og i Wien i 1873 hædredes Skrive-kuglen med de højeste Udmærkelser, to af de udtagne Patenter, det engelske og det østrigske købtes, og ved forskellige Forbedringer - navnlig Cylinderens Afløsning af en flad, saakaldt Vogn, der i Stedet for Elektricitet  bevægedes ad mekanisk Vej samtidig med Anslagene paa Tasterne - bragtes den efterhaanden i en praktisk haandterlig (fra 75 Kilos Vægt nedbragt til c. 5) og let afsættelig Skikkelse (fra 1200 Kr. nedbragt til 150 Kr.) Alt syntes saa at se overordentlig lovende ud for Opfinderen, og med sit optimistiske Syn paa Tingene øjnede han sikkert allerede Arbejdets gyldne Løn. Men der var een Ting, han ikke regnede tilstrækkeligt med, Udlandets Konkurrence: for hvert Tusinde Kroner, Malling-Hansen ved Støtte fra Stat og private, kunne sætte ind paa sin Opfindelse, havde Amerikanerne Hundredetusinder at ofre paa deres Forsøg med Skrivemaskiner, og den fabriksmæssige Tilvirkning af Skrivekugler, som indførtes af Prof. Jürgensens mekaniske Etablissement, foregik derfor i forholdvis ringe Omfang og alt for langsomt.

Til midt ind i Firserne, ja i smaa Repriser lige til sin Død syslede Malling-Hansen med sin Opfindelse, men da var den forlængst overfløjet af de forskellige udenlandske  Systemer, og Resultatet af hans Opfindelse blev saaledes kun Skuffelse og Tab.

  Paa lignende Maade gik det med en anden mindre Opfindelse, Xerografien eller Tørtrykket. Ved de Forsøg, der anstilledes paa, ved Hjælp af mellemliggende Sværtepapir og hvidt Papir, at tage flere Kopier af Kugleskriften samtidig med Originalskriften, kom han paa den Tanke - i stedet for at lægge Skrivepapiret nederst og ovenpaa det Sværtepapir med Farven nedad - at lægge Sværte-papiret nederst med Farven opad og ovenpaa det Oliepapir. Naar dette udførtes f. Eks. i 5 lag, og disse Lag gennemskreves, fik man 5 ens Eksemplarer af Originalen, paa hvilken Skriften stod omvendt, mellem disse 5 Stykker Oliepapir lagdes saa Skrivepapir, og denne Bunke førtes under et let Tryk gennem en lille Satinermaskines to Valser; dette gentoges 20 Gange, med et stadig lidt stærkere Tryk, og man opnaaede saaledes at faa 100 Kopier. Det nye i denne Fremgangsmaade var Opdagelsen af, at Skriften fra det blaa Sværtepapir under visse Betingelser kan lade sig aftrykke mange Gange uden at tabe sin Styrke. Xerografien var altsaa en Forløber for Hekto-grafien, men ogsaa paa dette Omraade blev Malling-Hansen kun Sædemanden, der saaede, men ikke høstede.

  Hans livlige Aand og frodige Fantasi lod sig dog ikke mestre af Modgangen, snart var han inde paa nye videnskabelige Undersøgelser, og ogsaa denne Gang var det hans Gerning blandt de døvstumme,  der affødte Ideerne. Indførelsen af et nyt Bespisningsreglement foraarsagede en Mængde daglige Vejninger af Eleverne paa Instituttet, og under Bearbejdelsen af de Tal, der saaledes fremkom, fremstillede der sig for Malling-Hansens intuitive Blik saadanne Perspektiver, at han begreb, at han her havde gjort et nyt Fund.

  Ved omfattende - ikke alene Vejninger, men ogsaa Maalinger af Eleverne konstaterede han, at der er bestemte Perioder i Børns Tykkelses- og Højdevækst, som er ganske uafhængige af deres Ernæring og Beskæftigelse. Fra Børnene strakte hans Undersøgelser sig videre til Skolens Træer, og han genfandt her de samme Perioder. Gennem en Mængde andre Forsøg førtes han derved lidt efter lidt til den Overbevisning, at alle organiske Funktioner paa Jorden er i uafbrudte og samstemmende Svingninger, til hvilke Impulsen udgaar fra Himmellegemerne, særlig Solen. Der fremkom forskellige "Fragmenter" fra hans Haand, saaledes "Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme" i 1886, hvoraf han paa den internationale Lægekongres i København, under stærkt Bifald fra Lægevidenskabens Spidser, gav et fyldigt Resumé.

  Men til en Afslutning paa sine Arbejder nåede Malling-Hansen ikke. Hans intensive Arbejde, der ofte i Uger i Træk lænkede ham til Skrivebordet, havde efterhaanden opslidt hans Kraft; han led af Forkalkning, og han var kommen til at ligne en gammel Mand, da han den 27 Septbr. 1890 om  Aftenen, paa Hjemvejen fra Frimurerlogen, segnede om i Nyboder, ramt af et Hjerteslag, kun 55 Aar gammel. I sin Bog "Om sjælelig Ringhed" skriver Ludv. Feilberg om Malling-Hansens Maalinger og Vejninger følgende: "Det var den første energiske Selvlivsbestræbelse i Retning af en livsanvendt Naturvidenskab i Danmark. Der er ved Standsningen af Malling-Hansens Arbejde tabt Traade, som det maaske vil falde vanskeligt nogensinde at faa op paa ny."     

    

 


[1] CB: D.G. Monrad 1811-87 var en fremtrædende dansk politiker og biskop - af norsk slægt.

[2] CB: Et velkendt gods ved Holbæk i Vestsjælland. Rasmus Malling kom fra Porsgrunn i Norge - vi ved ikke hvorfor og hvornår han kom til Danmark - men det har altså været som barn/ung.

[3] CB: Formodentlig L.J.M. Gude, 1820 - 95, Domprovst i Roskilde Domkirke fra 1866. Det er jo Danmarks vigtigste kirke, hvor utallige konger ligger begravet, så det er meget højtrangerende stilling. Sikket et pudsigt navn for en præst, iøvrigt!

[4] CB: Her kommer en meget lang reference om den mand, der satte det hele i gang: Lensgreve F.M Knuth - som - står der her med Wikipedias formulering - også har spillet en central rolle i Danmarkshistorien, selvom han kun blev 43 år gammel. Og som gudhjælpemig også var født i Norge! Wikipedia skriver:

"Frederik Markus Knuth, 11/1 1813 - 8/1 1856, var en dansk lensgreve, amtmand, minister og medlem af den Grundlovgivende forsamlibg. Blev født i det daværende Christiania - nu Oslo - i Norge som søn af Eggert Christopher Greve Knuth, 1786 - 1813, (CB: Død samme år som sønnen er født, kun 27 år. Hvordan kunne han være amtmand i så ung en alder?), der var konstitueret amtmand over Akershus Amt og Karen F. Rosenkrantz, 1792 - 1837.

  Kun 5 år gammel (CB:Altså i 1818) arvede Frederik Marcus Knuth efter sin farfar, gehejmeråd Frederik Greve Knuth, grevskabet Knuthenborg med store jordområder, og som var forbundet med Fideikapitaler på over 2 mio. kr. Han blev opdraget hos faderens svoger, Greve A.W.på Bregentved (CB: Et andet stort gods i Sydsjælland og blev privat dimitteret (CB: Som student?) i 1829 og 4 år efter juridisk kandidat. (CB: Dvs han var juridisk kandidat som 20-årig!) Frederik Marcus Knuth overtog efter en udlandsrejse med ungdoms-vennen C.C. Hall i 1837 (CB: Endnu en meget kendt dansk politiker) det da forsømte grevskab, Knuthenborg på Lolland. Han anlagde i 1841 - 1843 Bandholm Havn. I 1847udnævntes han til amtmand i Sorø, og blev senere direktør for Sorø Akademi (CB: Velkendt skole og kulturcentrum i den danske guldalder) og forstander for Herlufsholm (CB: Berømt overklasse kostskole på Sjælland).

Frederik Marcus Knuth var udenrigsminister i Danmarks første valgte regering: Martsministeriet eller Ministeriet Moltke, der sad fra 22. marts 1848 til 16. november 1848. Han var medlem af Folketinger 1852 -1853, og af Landstinget fra 1854; Han var medlem af den store landbokomission i 1849, og blev i 1855 medlem af Rigsretten.

[5] CB: Danmarks fornemste studenterkollegium, hvor kun de allerdygtigste kommer ind. Beliggende lige overfor Rundetårn i det indre København. Bygget 1618 til 1628 - altså også i Christian den IV's tid. Centrum for et frodigt studenterliv, skildret i Hostrups komedie Genboerne.

[6] CB: Krigen mellem Danmark og Tyskland 1864. Danmark tabte krigen, og de to hertugdømmer Slesvig og Holsten, der i flere hundrede år havde hørt til det danske rige - selvom flertallet af indbyggerne talte tysk - blev erobret af Tyskland. I 1920, efter Tysklands nederlag i 1. Verdenskrig, kom den nordligste del af området - Nordslesvig - tilbage til Danmark efter en folkeafstemning. Disse begivenheder har haft ufattelig stor betydning for Danmarkshistorien - og har det, endnu i dag.

[7] CB: C. V. Holten,  1818 - 86, dansk fysiker og fra 1852 professor ved universitetet og 1872-83 direktør for Den polytekniske Læreanstant - hvor man uddanner ingeniører.

 

 

 

Frederik Marcus Knuth - mannen som satte Rasmus Malling-Hansen i stand til å påbegynne sine studier. Foto fra Wikipedia
Det nåværende greveparet - Adam lensgreve Knuth og Charlotte lensgrevinde Billle Brahe Knuth. Lensgreven er æresmedlem i Rasmus Malling-Hansen Selskabet, og var til stede på stiftelsesmøtet våren 2006. Foto fra Knuthenborg safariparks webside
Et kort fra Fritz August Bech, skrevet i 1925 til hans svigerinne, RMHs datter Johanne Agerskov, der han takker for hennes bok, "Hvem er skrivekuglens opfinder".
Johanne Agerskov skrev boken som en følge av den danske professorens H. I. Hannovers offentlige påstander om at skrivekuglen egentlig var oppfunnet av lærer og kanselliråd J. A. Peters. Påstandene medførte ikke riktighet, men skyldtes misforståelser og mangelfulle undersøkelser.

 

 

 

Article about Rasmus Malling-Hansen from Helge Host’s Publication: ‘Life of the Inventors’ (“Opfindernes Liv”), vol 1,

Rasmus Malling-Hansen on a photo from The Royal Library. The photo is probably taken in the early 1870's.
It was claimed on several occasions that RMH had an appearance resembling that of D.G. Monrad, 1811-1887, a prominent Danish politician and bishop.
Carl Holten, 1818-1886, commented in a very positive spirit about the writing ball in “Illustreret Tidende” in 1870, and he was also present when the invention was presented to the public for the first time on September 8, 1870.
The minister who prepared RMH for confirmation, Ludvig Jacob Mendel Gude , 1820-1895, later on dean at Roskilde Cathedral. Photo: The Royal Library.

Translated by Jørgen Malling Christensen

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

A ‘Monrad[1]’-like head, with soulful eyes, more inward than outward-looking; the build of a military officer, supple and courteous – that was Malling-Hansen in his prime.

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen was born September 5, 1835 at Hunseby School close to Maribo and was named after the then school teacher Rasmus Malling, Norwegian by birth. His father, assistant teacher at Hunseby, had married Rasmus Malling’s foster daughter and had just achieved the position of principal teacher at Havlykke, close by Hunseby, when he was suddenly carried off by typhoid fever, leaving a wife and three young boys, of which Malling-Hansen, only 4 years old, was the eldest. These were hard times for the young widow and penurious circumstances to meet, although her foster father, in whose home she had born her children, immediately took upon himself the support of the family, while the daughter, as before, continued to take care of the household.
Rasmus Malling, hence becoming the foster father of Malling-Hansen, was a finical and stylish, socially very competent elderly gentleman, in the past having been brought up on Løvenborg[2] castle together with the young barons. The mother was a loving and unusually able woman, and being raised by these two people quite naturally left its mark on the boy: Throughout his entire life Malling-Hansen found it easy to be among people and at the same time to assert himself and his opinions without any trace of aggressiveness, balancing harmoniously between modesty and self-esteem.
As a child he proved himself to be a quick learner in all areas, and his foster father’s new assistant teacher, an ambitious young man, gave him plenty of attention over and above the scheduled teaching; he was keenly interested in mathematics, and showed a good aptitude for drawing. Nevertheless, even so the talented boy did not have great prospects to achieve advanced posts in society; for the time being, and considering his talent for drawing, he could be placed as a painter’s apprentice after his confirmation. The confirmation preparation class, with the later dean Gude[3], made a deep impression on the boy, and one day he told the vicar in confidence that he ardently wished to become a priest. However, Gude passed it off, and Malling-Hansen entered apprenticeship as a painter in Maribo.
We do not know whether Gude actually did convey the wish of the boy to other people, or whether the initiative emanated from the count himself, but the fact is that he and his mother some time afterwards were summoned by count F.M. Knuth[4] to appear at Knuthenborg, and the result of the meeting was that the count accepted responsibility for the expenses of enrolling the young Malling-Hansen at Jonstrup teacher training college. From here he graduated in 1854 with distinction and for a year he was an assistant teacher at Maglemer school near Hunseby, while simultaneously tutoring some hours per week at Knuthenborg. Then finally his fervent wish came through: His faithful supporter, the count, sent him to the capital city for further studies with a view to becoming a priest. After 3 years of private preparation he passed his A-levels with the highest score and then started his theological studies.
Nevertheless, for a man of Malling-Hansen’s nature there was something very unsatisfactorily in living off someone else’s financial means, and when he learned – through a friend who was a teacher of the institute for the deaf-mute – that there was a vacant position at the institute, he applied and gained it in 1859. By so doing he entered a career that was to become decisive for his future: the teaching of the deaf-mute, whose peculiar features caught his attention and interest at once and became the point of departure of all his ideas and plans, - and in addition the stronghold to which he always reverted in periods of adversity. Initially, however, he only stayed a couple of years at the institute for the deaf-mute, after which he reverted his attention to the interrupted studies in theology, was admitted to the “Regensen”[5] and studied at full tilt for his graduation until the studies were suddenly interrupted by an offer that Malling-Hansen – who had in the meantime become engaged to the daughter of the principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, professor Heiberg – could not possibly pass: The ministry wanted a Danish teacher, with prospects of becoming principal, at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig, and Malling-Hansen achieved both of these posts in 1862-64. The war events[6] drove him away from Schleswig[7], and he reverted to his theological studies, finishing them as soon as possible and graduating in 1865, shortly after also being appointed temporary principal at the Copenhagen institute, following the transfer of his father-in-law to other duties.
It was here that he, towards the end of the 1860s, while simultaneously carrying out the organization of the Danish system for the teaching of the deaf-mute – essentially still in place – made the invention, the writing ball, which was to make his name famous worldwide but brought himself so little personal gain that he died virtually a pauper.

 

According to Fritz Bech, RMH’s foster father, Rasmus Malling, was brought up at Løvenborg Castle and consorted with the young barons of the estate.
This is Løvenborg as we find it today. The Norwegian encyclopaedia “Store Norske” has the following information: Løvenborg castle, 8 kms west-south-west of Holbæk was originally situated on an islet and is still surrounded by moats. The castle, which is listed, consists of three two-story wings with large, octagonal corner towers; the oldest part was constructed by Hans Barnekow around 1550, and extensions were made around 1635 (by Malte Juel) and in 1853.
Fritz Bech mentions that the very first writing ball model weighed 75 kilos. This is a very important piece of information, confirming the supposition that the first patented model was also the first model to be built. This is the only one which may be assumed to have weighed as much as 75 kilos. Illustration: Dieter Eberwein.
The model with the flat carriage was patented in the US in 1874, and the illustration shows that it also used electromagnetism for the paper guide; hence, Fritz Bech is misinformed on this point. It was only with the tall model in 1875 that a mechanical solution replaced the batteries. The first writing ball with a flat carriage was, incidentally, built for the first time in Denmark in 1871!
RMH had planned a flat model already when he applied for the first patent in Denmark in January 1870, and as the drawing shows it featured a handle for manual shifting of the paper carriage. The first patents do not at all mention batteries, and the paper feed was done by means of a foot pedal, a manual handle or a helical coil which could be wound up.
This was the hand alphabet used for teaching at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute. Drawing from centenary volume published in 1907. It was the speed by which one was able to “speak”, using these hand signs, which sparked Malling-Hansen’s idea to construct a typewriter
An outstanding specimen of the 1878 model of the writing ball. Photo: Auction team Köln

In the teaching of the deaf-mute pupils, the finger alphabet was in daily use, i.e. a kind of writing in the air completely covering the written alphabet, but markedly quicker than the latter. Malling-Hansen had found out that while only 4 phonetic symbols can be reproduced or expressed in writing per second, an experienced ‘finger speaker’ is able to produce 12 symbols per second. This was the discovery that led him to speculations whether finger movements on a machine might create a reproduction of sounds – legible to all – able to follow verbal speech sound by sound. He then invented a ‘writing machine’ where the keys were placed on a hemisphere (hence the name ‘writing ball’), and the paper was put on a movable cylinder platen, which by means of electricity and an electromagnet was pushed a tiny bit forward every time a key was pressed down.
Hence, the writing ball had been invented, and in March 1870 Malling-Hansen acquired a 15 year patent on his machine. That same year the periodical “Illustreret Tidende” had an extensive article by Professor C. Holten[8] about the brilliant invention, and soon afterwards newspapers and magazines abroad followed up with stories about the epoch-making event. At the exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and in Vienna in 1873 the writing ball was awarded the highest distinctions; two of the patents – the English and the Austrian – were bought, and by means of various improvements – in particular the substitution on the cylinder in favour of a flat, so-called carriage, moved mechanically instead of by electricity and simultaneously with the keystrokes – it was eventually downsized into a more practical and handy weight (from 75 kilos to ...?) and a commercially more viable price (from 1200 to 150 kr). Everything seemed so extraordinarily promising for the inventor, and with his optimistic outlook on life, he was probably already eyeing the golden reward for his efforts. But he had not counted on one aspect - foreign competition: for each 1000 kroner Malling-Hansen was able to invest into his invention with support from public and private sources, the Americans had hundreds of thousands to spend on their experiments with typewriters, and the factory[9] production of writing balls, introduced by Professor Jürgensen’s Mechanical Establishment, was therefore carried out in relatively small numbers and far too slowly.
Up until the mid-80’s – well even intermittently in short repeats until his death – Malling-Hansen worked on his invention, however at that time it had long since been overtaken by various international systems and models, and the result of his invention was thus only disappointment and loss.
It was a similar story with another minor invention, the Xerography or the Dry Print. Experimenting by means of interlaying sheets of ink paper and white paper and thus producing more copies while typing, he got the idea – instead of putting the white paper below and on top of that the ink paper with the ink downwards – to place the ink paper at the bottom with the ink facing upwards and on top of that oil paper. When this was done in e.g. 5 layers, and these layers were typed through, one would achieve 5 copies, on which the typed letters were in the reverse, and between these 5 pieces of oil paper the white paper was then placed, and this heap of papers was then put by a light pressure through the two rollers of a small glazing machine; this was repeated 20 times, applying increasingly strong pressure, and in this way it was possible to make 100 copies. The innovation in this procedure was the discovery that the typing from the blue ink paper under certain conditions could be reproduced without losing its strength. In other words, xerography was a forerunner of the hectographic process, however also in this field Malling-Hansen was to be merely the sower who sowed but never reaped.
However, his alert mind and prolific imagination were not curbed by the adversity; soon he initiated new scientific investigations, and also this time his tasks in connection with the work with deaf-mutes engendered the ideas. The introduction of new rules for the provision of school meals led to a great number of daily weighings of the pupils of the institute, and when analyzing the figures emerging, Malling-Hansen’s intuitive perception led him to the conclusion that he had made a new discovery.
By means of thorough and extensive weighings as well as measurements of the pupils he established that there are certain periods in the growth of children – in terms of height and weight – which are quite independent of their nourishment as well as their activity. From the children his investigations were extended to include also the trees of the school, and here he found the same periods and tendencies. By means of a great many other trials he was eventually led to the conclusion that all organic functions on Earth are in permanent and congruent oscillations, for which the impulse emanates from celestial bodies, in particular the Sun. He produced various reports, entitled “fragments”, one of which was “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat” in 1886, of which he presented an extensive summary at the international medical congress in Copenhagen, roundly applauded by the bigwigs of medical science.
However, Malling-Hansen did not get to finish his tasks. His intensive work, frequently fettering him to his desk for weeks on end, had worn down his stamina; he suffered from arteriosclerosis, and he had assumed the appearance of an old man when he in the evening of September 27, 1890, walking home from the freemason lodge, dropped down dead in the area of “Nyboder”, struck by heart failure, only 55 years old. In his book “Concerning Mental Inferiority” Ludvig Feilberg[10] wrote as follows, commenting on Malling-Hansen’s weighing and measuring: “This was the very first active and life-confirming contribution in terms of applied science in Denmark. By the cessation of Malling-Hansen’s work, threads have been lost, which perhaps will be difficult ever to pick up again”.

 

 


[1] JMC: Ditlev Gothard Monrad (1811-1887), Danish politician and theologian of great importance in the 19th century. One of the main authors behind the famous June 1849 Constitution. He was Prime minister in the important period from December 1863 until July 1864 when Denmark fought against Germany and was defeated, losing important parts of southern Jutland. He was also political editor of the daily newspaper ‘Fædrelandet’ from 1840 and from 1843 he edited the daily “Dansk Folkeblad”.

[2] CB: A well-known estate near Holbæk in the north-western part of Sjælland. Rasmus Malling hailed from Porsgrunn, Norway. We do not know why or when he came to Denmark – but it must have been as a child or a young man. JMC: Løvenborg was – and still is - a castle, one of several owned by the important noble family Løvenskiold. This is a still existing Norwegian-Danish family originally from northern Germany. The founder was Herman Leopoldus the elder (dead 1696) who immigrated from Lübeck and settled down as a merchant in Christiania (former name of Oslo). His son, Herman Leopoldus the younger (dead 1750) became very wealthy and acquired large estates in southern Norway and Denmark. He was raised to peerage by the Danish-Norwegian king in 1739. His son Severin owned Løvenborg castle. Severin Løvenskiold the elder (dead 1818) owned and lived in the “Kammerherregården” at Porsgrunn. He was married to Benedicta Henrikka Aall (dead 1813). He was perhaps the one who took the initiative to raise and educate Rasmus Malling at Løvenborg. Taking into account Rasmus Malling’s age it would appear likely that he was taken care of by baron Michael Herman Løvenskiold (1751-1807) who was described as “…showing a vivid interest in the current agricultural reforms, as well as dedicating himself to the education of the villagers and particularly those of his peasants” (Wikipedia Danish version). On a Norwegian genealogy site I found the information that Rasmus Malling was born 1787 at Østsida, Porsgrunn, but we cannot be certain this is the same person as RMh’s foster father.

[3] CB: Probably L.J.M. Gude, 1820-1895, Dean of Roskilde Cathedral as from 1866. It is, of course, the most important church of Denmark, where countless numbers of kings have been buried, and hence a very important post. JMC: Ludvig Jacob Mendel Gude was called to be vicar at Hunseby church in 1848 (when RMH was 13 years old) where he stayed until 1866, when he was called to serve in Roskilde. It is of some interest to note that he published a manuscript in 1851 (Reitzel Publishing House) about the world-famous Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, rather modestly entitled: “Concerning the Writing of MA Søren Kierkegaard. Observations by a vicar”. In 1888 he was bestowed the distinction of Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog, second grade. Throughout his life he remained a stalwart disciple and supporter of the famous Bishop Hans Lassen Martensen (1808-1884) who was fervently attacked by Søren Kierkegaard in public debates.

[4] CB: Here follows a long footnote about the man who set the whole thing in motion: Count F.M. Knuth who – using the phrasing of Wikipedia – also played a central role in the history of Denmark in spite of reaching only the age of 43 years. And born in Norway! According to Wikipedia: “Frederik Markus Knuth, 11/1 1813 – 8/1 1856, was a Danish count, administrative officer of a prefect (Danish: “amtmand”), minister and member of the constitutional assembly. Born in the then Christiania – now Oslo – in Norway as the son of Eggert Christopher Count Knuth, 1786 – 1813, and of Karen F. Rosenkrantz, 1792 – 1837. Only 5 years of age (CB: i.e. in 1818) Frederik Marcus Knuth inherited after his paternal grandfather privy councillor Frederik Count Knuth the estate of Knuthenborg with vast areas and attached to trust properties worth more than 2 million kroner. He was raised with the brother-in-law of his father, count August Adam Wilhelm Joachimsen Moltke (1818-1864) of the Bregentved estate and took his A levels after private tuition in 1829, graduating 4 years later in law. Following a tour in Europe with his friend Carl Christian Hall (later an important and well-known politician) in 1837 Frederik Marcus Knuth took over the neglected Knuthenborg estate, Lolland. In 1841-43 he established the harbour of Bandholm. In 1847 he was appointed as chief administrative officer of the county of Sorø, and was later director of the Sorø Academy (a well-known secondary school and cultural centre in the Danish Golden Age) as well as principal of Herlufsholm (a well-known elite boarding school in Sjælland). Frederik Marcus Knuth served as minister of foreign affairs in the first publicly elected government of Denmark: The so-called March Ministry or the Moltke Ministry, which was in power from 22 of March 1848 until November 16, 1848. He was a member of parliament 1852-53 and of the “landsting” as from 1854; he was a member of the Land Commission in 1849 and in 1855 became a member of “Rigsretten” – the court for the trial of high crimes and misdemeanours.

[5] CB: The most coveted Danish college, only admitting the very best. It was and is situated just in front of
“Rundetårn” (= the round tower) in the centre of Copenhagen. It was established in the period 1616-1628 during the reign of King Christian the IVth. A centre of vivid student life as depicted in Hostrup’s comedy “the neighbours”.

[6] CB: The war between Denmark and Germany in 1864. Denmark lost the war, and the two duchies of Schleswig and Holstein which had belonged to Denmark for several hundreds of years – even if the majority of the inhabitants spoke German – was conquered by Germany. In 1920, after the defeat of Germany in World War I, the northernmost area – northern Schleswig – was returned to Denmark after a plebiscite. These events have had an immense importance in the history of Denmark – and still have.

[7] JMC: in March 1864

[8] CB: Carl Valentin Holten, 1818-86, Danish physicist and as from 1852 professor at the university of Copenhagen and 1872-83 Director of the Technical University of Copenhagen.

[9] JMC: The author is using the term “fabriksmæssig” which is correctly translated into “on an industrial scale/factory-made/large-scale production”). But to use, at all, the term “factory” is misleading! The important point here is that RMH never had the chance to achieve anything even approaching an industrial scale production, rather the production of the writing ball was, and remained for all models, a matter of craft and handicraft on a very limited scale where one or a very small number of mechanics were involved in the production of each machine specimen. There was probably no skill specializing, there was definitely no production line and never any large scale production.

[10] JMC: Ludvig Feilberg, (1849-1912), Danish engineer, psychologist and philosopher with a prolific production of scientific works. He is part of a tradition that includes Søren Kierkegaard, and Feilberg has influenced a number of Danish philosophers and authors e.g. Jacob Paludan, Helge Rode, Henrik Pontoppidan, Martin A.Hansen and Johannes Smith, - in recent times Vagn Lundby and Pia Tafdrup. RMH and Feilberg were close friends and members of the same Masonic lodge.

Frederik Marcus Knuth – the man who enabled Rasmus Malling-Hansen to enrol for his studies. Photo from Wikipedia
The present-day count and countess - Adam Count Knuth and Charlotte Countess Bille Brahe Knuth. The
A card from Fritz August Bech, written in 1925 to his sister-in-law, RMH’s daughter Johanne Agerskov, in which he acknowledges with thanks receipt of her book, “Who is the Inventor of the Writing Ball?”
Johanne Agerskov wrote the book following the public claims by the Danish professor H.I. Hannover, published in the daily “Berlingske Tidende” in 1924, according to which the writing ball had in reality been invented by the teacher and Counsellor J.A. Peters. The claims were not true, rather they were founded on misunderstandings and inadequate investigations.

Rasmus Malling-Hansen i Dansk Biografisk Leksikons anden udgave.

Den unge Anders Hansen, 1867-1953, mangeårig forstander ved døvstummeinstituttet i Nyborg.
En noe eldre Anders Hansen fotografert i instituttets hage. Begge fotos fra hundreårs jubileumsboken for instituttet i Nyborg.

Af Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

Dansk Biografisk Leksikons første udgaves artikel, cirka 1892, om Rasmus Malling-Hansen blev skrevet af industrihistorikeren Camillus Nyrup. Nyrup kendte Malling-Hansen personligt og skrev en aldeles udmærket artikel til den første udgave af DBL. Men naturligt nok var der 30-40 år senere, til anden udgave 1932-44, behov for en ny udgave artiklen om RMH, og denne gang blev artiklen omarbejdet og udvidet af døvstummelæreren Anders Hansen, 1867-1953, som var forstander for det af Malling-Hansen planlagte døvstummeinstitut i Nyborg i perioden 1909-1937. Det indebærer, at Anders Hansen sandsynligvis var en god arvtager efter Nyrup: Hansen levede og arbejdede samtidig som Malling-Hansen og i generationen efter; han var kun den anden forstander for instituttet i Nyborg (den første var Georg Forchhammar,1861-1938, forstander frem til 1909, da han blev overflyttet til instituttet i Fredericia-instituttet), og Anders Hansen har uden tvivl kendt og arbejdet sammen med mange mennesker som kendte Malling-Hansen. Anders Hansen var en erfaren døvstummepædagog  og mangeårig forstander, og vi må antage at hans vidnesbyrd er troværdigt. Vi har mange fotografier af Anders Hansen fra en publikation: ”Den kongelige Døvstummeskole i Nyborg 1891 -1991”, udgivet af Nyborgskolen og Døvehistorisk Selskab i 1992.[1]

 

Anders Hansens tekst om Rasmus Malling-Hansen i anden udgave af DBL i sin helhed:

 

Malling Hansen, Hans Rasmus Johan (ved Daaben Hansen, Hans Rasmus Malling Johan), 1845-90, Døvstummelærer og Opfinder.  F. 5. Sept. 1835 i Hunseby, d. 27. Sept. 1890 i Kbh. (Jac), begr. sst (Garn.). Forældre: senere Skolelærer i Havlykke Johan Frederik Hansen (1810-39) og Juliane Marie Cathrine Matzen (1809-85). Gift I˚ 8.Sept. 1865 i Keldby med Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, f. 27.Okt. 1841 i Kbh. (Trin.), d. 3.Okt. 1876 sst. (Garn.), D. af Forstander for Døvstummeinstituttet S.J.H. (s.d.) og I. Hustru.  2˚ 19.Nov. 1880 i Kbh. (Matth.) med Anna Cathrina Maria Steenstrup, f. 9. Nov. 1842 i Kbh. (Frue), d. 11.Maj 1897 sst., D. af Auditør, senere Byfoged i Frederikshavn Michael Vogelius S. (1809-55) og Abelone Antoinette Lyngbye (1814-1906).

 

         Efter Faderens tidlige Død kom M.H. i Huset hos Skolelærer Rasmus Malling i Hunseby, og efter sin Konfirmation blev han sat i Malerlære i Maribo. Den daværende Grev Knuth til Knuthenborg tog sig her af den opvakte Dreng.  Ved Grevens Hjælp kom han paa Jonstrup Seminarium, og efter et treaarigt Ophold her tog han 1854 Eksamen.  Han var nu en kort Tid Hjælpelærer paa Lolland, men blev  -  atter ved Grev Knuths Hjælp -  , sat i Stand til at studere.  1858 blev han Student og blev nu i Begyndelsen af 1859 Lærer ved Det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i Kbh., hvor han fandt en Virksomhed, der interesserede ham.  Han opgav dog denne Stilling for at kunne læse til teologisk Eksamen, men Studierne blev hurtigt afbrudt.  Man[2] ønskede en dansk Mand ansat ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig, og 1862 blev H. da Lærer ved dette Institut og i Begyndelsen af 1864 Forstander for det.  Men Krigsbegivenhederne fortrængte ham. Han vendte tilbage til Studierne i Kbh. og tog 1865 teologisk Eksamen efter kort forinden at være blevet konstitueret som Forstander for Kbh.s Døvstummeinstitut; endelig Udnævnelse som Forstander og Præst ved det fik han i Sept.s.A.  Med Iver og Interesse arbejdede han nu i denne Gerning, og snart havde han et væsentligt Resultat at opvise.  Efter Indstilling fra Instituttet og fra Johan Kellers private Døvstummeskole resolverede Ministeriet 1867, at der fremtidig skulde ske en Sondring mellem de til Undervisning indkaldte døvstumme Børn, saaledes at de egentlige døvstumme skulde oplæres paa Instituttet, medens de uegentlige og aandssløve døvstumme henvistes til de Kellerske Anstalter  -  den saakaldte Danske Deling.  Herved var der vundet et vigtigt rationelt Grundlag for Undervisningen, der for de uegentlige døvstummes Vedkommende nu helt grundlagdes paa Talemetoden, medens Tegnmetoden bibeholdtes paa Døvstummeinstituttet som dettes væsentlige Undervisningsmaade.  Dette Skridt var imidlertid kun en Begyndelse.  Da Instituttet i Kbh. ikke kunde afgive Plads til alle Danmarks egentlige døvstumme, fremkom der fra M.H.s egen Haand 1879 et Forslag om Oprettelse af et Døvstummeinstitut i Jylland for egentlige døvstumme, hvor Undervisningen udelukkende skulde ske efter Talemetoden, og ved hans energiske Optræden blev Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia oprettet 1881 med Georg Jørgensen som Forstander.  Talemetodens sejrrige Fremtrængen her i Landet er i væsentlig Grad blevet støttet af M.H.

 

   1868 havde han besøgt en stor Del af Udlandets Døvstummeinstitutter og set Talemetodens gode Resultater[3].  1872 var han en af Lederne ved et Møde i Kbh. af de nordiske Abnormskolers Lærere, og han var et virksomt og indflydelsesrigt Medlem af en 1888 nedsat Kommission, der bl.a. foreslog, at Staten skulde overtage den Kellerske Anstalt og overføre den til Nyborg, hvilket førte til Loven af 11. April 1890, hvorefter den kgl. Døvstummeskole for uegentlige døvstumme aabnedes 1891 med Georg Forchhammar som Forstander.

 

         Hans Interesser begrænsedes ikke udelukkende til hans Forstandergerning. Hans Opfinderbegavelse kunde ikke nøjes dermed. Da han saaledes havde udregnet, at man gennemsnitlig udtaler tyve Lydtegn i Sekundet, men kun kan nedskrive fire, medens en Fingertaler i Døvstummesproget kan gengive tolv, førtes han til at tænke over Muligheden af at kunne naa en for alle læselig Gengivelse af Lydtegn, der kan følge Talen.  Med mekanisk Snilde fremstillede han nu den saakaldte Skrivekugle, der har sit Navn af det halvkugleformede Stempelstykke, i hvilket han samlede alle de Typer, som den skrivendes Haand skal anslaa.  Og med Udholdenhed fuldkommengjorde han efterhaanden dette Apparat, til det virkelig løste Opgaven, hvad der anerkendtes paa flere Udstillinger.  Han syslede med Skrivekuglen til ind i 80’erne, men trods betydelige understøttelser, bl.a. fra Staten, lykkedes det ikke at faa den fremstillet ad fabriksmæssig Vej paa en saadan Maade, at den kunde optage Kampen med de lettere haandterlige og bedre amerikanske Maskiner.

 

         Indførelsen af et nyt Bespisningsreglement paa Døvstummeinstituttet 1877 fik M.H. til at begynde nogle daglige Vejninger og Maalinger af Instituttets Elever, og de førte ham ind i omfattende Studier.  Han blev ikke staaende ved at veje og maale nogle enkelte Børn til spredte Tider, men indførte daglige Massevejninger Aar igennem og paaviste herved, at der er bestemte Perioder i Børns Højde- og Tykkelsevækst, uafhængige af deres Ernæring og Beskæftigelse.  Hans Studier fik ikke alene Betydning for Fysiologien, men ogsaa for Meteorologi og Astronomi.  Gennem er Række skarpsindige og geniale Undersøgelser vilde han paavise, at Perioderne i Børnenes Vækst og Vægt skyldes kosmisk Indvirkning, ja at alle organiske Funktioner paa Jorden er uafbrudte og samstemmende Intensitetssvingninger, til hvilke Impulserne udgaar fra Solen, idet de kommer i eller med dens Varmestraaler.  Han udgav forskellige Skrifter herom, som han betegnende nok nummererede som ”Fragmenter”;  det var ”Udsigtspunkter over store og rige Strækninger”, der yderligere skulde bearbejdes.  Men hvor meget der end her kan være, som Fremtiden nærmere skal belyse, og hvor beskedent han end selv saa paa sine Resultar, vakte de Opsigt rundt om i Europa.

 

   -  R. 1890.  F.M.G. 1872.  – Portrætteret paa Gruppebillede af Malthe Engelsted (Familieeje).  Buste af L. Brandstrup (Døvstummeforeningen af 18. Nov. 1866). Bronzerelief paa Gravstenen af samme.  Træsnit 1882 efter Fotografi og 1886 fra C. Poulsen.

 

G. F. Heiberg: Slægten Heiberg, 1907, S.170 f.   Nord. Tidsskr. f. Blinde-, Døvst.- og Idiotskolen 1872. Tidskr. f. Döfstumskolan, II, 1881, Nr. 4-5; XI, 1890, Nr 6. Ill. Tid. 30.Okt. 1870, 8 Dec 1872 og 16.Jan. 1876. Johs. Jørgensen i: Det kgl. Døvstumme-Institut, 1907. Helge Holst: Opfindernes Liv, I, 1914. V.Larsen: Det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i Fredericia, 1930. Gabelsberger-stenografen, XIV, 1924, Nr. 2. Johanne Agerskov: Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder, 1925. Jonstrupbogen, VI, 1928. Tidsskr. for dansk Skolehygiejne, XIX, 1931, Nr. 1. C. Nyrop  (A. Hansen).

 

Anders Hansen var døvstummelærer og forstander. Han blev født 1867 og døde 1953. Anders Hansen var forstander for Nyborg-skolen fra 1909 til 1937. Vi har ikke så mange oplysninger om Anders Hansen, men derimod har vi mange fotografier af ham og hans kollegaer fra jubilæumsskriften ”Den kongelige Døvstummeskole i Nyborg 1891-1991, Nyborgskolen” af Jan William Rasmussen, udgivet af Nyborgskolen og Døvehistorisk Selskab 1992. ISBN 87-984144-0-2. Alle fotografier til denne artikel er fra denne publikation.

 

 

[1] JMC: Teksten er hovedsagelig af Jan William Rasmussen. ISBN 87-984144-0-2.

[2] JMC: ”Man” betyder her: den danske regering og stat

[3] JMC: Vi har endnu ikke (april 2017) fundet RMHs rapport fra denne studierejse.


Rasmus Malling-Hansen - skrivekuglens opfinder. Biografi av Johanne Agerskov

RMHs datter Johanne Agerskov, 1873-1946, har skrevet denne biografien over sin far, Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Foto privat
Sammen med sin søster, Johanne Agerskov, gjorde Engelke Wiberg, 1868-1949, en kjempeinnsats for å renvaske RMHs navn, da professor H. I. Hannover i 1924 fremsatte falske påstander om at RMH ikke var oppfinneren av skrivekuglen. Foto: Privat

     Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen fødtes den 5.te September 1835 i Hunseby paa Lolland. Faderen var Hjælpelærer ved Hunseby Skole, blev kort efter Enelærer i en nærliggende Landsby, men bortreves pludselig af Tyfus efterladende sig Hustru og tre smaa Drenge. Malling-Hansen, den ældste af Børnene var da knap fire Aar gammel. Som Barn viste han sig meget lærenem i alle Retninger, interesserede sig meget for Matematikk og viste gode Anlæg for Tegning. Efter sin Konfirmation kom han i Malerlære, men hans Ønsker gik i andre Retninger og Præstegerningen var disse Ønskers Maal. Lehnsgreve F. M. Knuth tog sig af den begavede unge Mand og bekostede hans Uddannelse til Seminarist paa Jonstrup Seminarium, hvorfra han dimitteredes 1854 med Udmærkelse. Efterat Malling-Hansen i et Par Aar, dels havde virket som Hjælpelærer ved en Skole i sin Fødeeegn, dels som Huslærer, sendte Lehnsgreven ham til København for at han kunde blive Student. Efter 3 Aars privat Forberedelse blev han Student med første Karakter, hvorefter han tog fat paa det teologiske Studium. Men i Længden blev det svært for Malling-Hansen at modtage Lehnsgrevens trofaste Støtte, hvorfor han søgte en ledig Lærerplads paa det Kgl. Døvstumme-institut i København. Et Par Aar virkede han her som Lærer, kom derefter paa Regensen og læste videre til sin Embedseksamen. Atter afbrødes hans Studeringer ved hans Ansættelse som Lærer, senere som Forstander ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig 1862-1864. –

 

     Krigsbegivenhederne fordrev ham fra Slesvig, han tog paany fat paa sine Studier, der afsluttedes med Embedseksamen 1865. Omtrent samtidig blev han Forstander ved det Kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i København. I denne Virksomhed har han nedlagt sig stor Fortjeneste af Døvstummeundervisningen, da det væsentlig skyldtes ham at Talemetoden indførdtes i Danmark i Stedet for Tegnmetoden.

 

     Under sin Gerning her ved at beskæftige sig med de døvstummes Haandalfabet gjorde han den Iagttagelse, at man ved at ”tale” med Fingrene kunde gengive c: 12 Lydtegn i Sekundet – med almindelig Skrift kan man kun gengive c: 4 Lydtegn i Sekundet – dette bragte ham paa den Tanke, at det maatte være mulig at konstruere en Maskine, som kunde overføre Fingrenes Bevægelser til Skrift med samme Fart.

 

     Hvornaar den første Idé til ”Skrivekuglen” tog Form hos Malling-Hansen vides ikke med Sikkerhed, den foreliggende Litteratur er ikke helt enig paa det Punktet. Tallene 1865-67-69 opgives, men det er ikke lykkedes at fastslaa et bestemt Arstal. Efter nyere Undersøgelser er der dog fremkommet saa meget, at man efter al Sandsynlighed kan regne med en Model færdig konstrueret i Vinteren 67-68 eller i Vinteren 68-69, men først i 1870 efter at Malling-Hansen havde faaet Patent paa sin Skrivemaskine fremkom den offentlig.

 

     Denne Maskine bestod af to koncentriske Kugleskaller – deraf Navnet ”Skrivekuglen”. Typestængerne var stillet radiært mod et fælles Centrum. Paa Oversiden af Kuglefladen sad Typestængernes Hoveder. I Centrum for Kuglen lagdes Papiret Paa en bevægelig Cylinder-plade, der ved en elektrisk Strøm og en Elektromagnet skubbedes et lille Stykke frem, hver Gang en Tast trykkedes ned. Typestængerne var anbragt i Spiralfjedre, saaledes at de efter Nedtrykningen automatisk blev trukket op i deres Hvilestilling. I sin Patentansøkning – for at vise hvorfor Kugleoverfladen er valgt – skriver Pastor Malling-Hansen: ”Da alle Stempelstænger er lige lange og have en lige lang Vej at gennemløbe til den fælles Flade, de skulle slaa an imod, kommer altsaa Overfladen af Stempelhovederne; Knappen eller Tangenten, til at ligge i en Kugleoverflade. Hermed muliggøres at anslaa med en høj Grad af Hurtighed; de ligge i alt Fald i en for Fingrene til Anslag langt bekvemmere Stilling, end om de laa i en plan Flade.”-

 

     Malling-Hansen arbejdede stadig videre paa sin Maskine, gik bort fra den elektriske Bevægemaade, konstruerede en ny Maskine, hvor den saakaldte ”Vogn”, der bar Papiret, ved Kraften fra selve Anslaget flyttedes en Tandhjulstak frem. På Udstillingerne i København 1872 og i Wien 1873 hædredes Skrivekuglen med de højeste Udmærkelser – paa Udstillingen i Paris 1878 fik en yderligere forbedret Maskine Guldmedalje. 1972 modtog Malling-Hansen Fortjenestemedaljen i Guld.-

 

     Trods alle Forbedringer af Skrivekuglen blev den overfløjet af de forskellige udenlandske Systemer og Resultatet af hans Opfindelse blev derfor kun Skuffelse og Tab.-

 

     Xerografien eller Tørtrykket – der var Forløber for Hektografien – var ligeledes Malling-Hansens Opfindelse, men ogsaa paa dette Område blev han kun ”Sædemanden der saaede, men ikke høstede.”

 

     Trods Modgang og Skuffelser kastede Malling-Hansen sig ind i nye videnskabelige Undersøgelser. Gennem disse Undersøgelser førtes han til den Overbevisning: ”at alle Organiske Funktioner paa Jorden er i uafbrudte og samstemmende Svingninger, til hvilke Impulsen udgaar fra Himmellegemer, særlig Solen.” (”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme.” 1886). Paa den internationale Lægekongres i København i 86 gav han, under stærkt Bifald fra Lægevidenskabens Spidser, et fyldig Resumé af sine Undersøgelser.-

 

     Den 27. September 1890 døde han ramt af et Hjerteslag. En arbejdsom, højt begavet Mands Arbejde var endt; men ved hans Død standsedes Undersøgelser, som det maaske vil blive vanskelig at optage paa ny.

 

 

     Den 12.te Marts 1924 fremkom Professor H. I. Hannover med en Artikel i Berlingske Tidende, i denne Artikel meddelte han at den nylig afdøde Kancelliraad Peters var Opfinder ikke alene af ”Vægtstangsprincippet” i de nu brugte Maskiner, men tillige af Skrivekuglen. Som bekendt har flere Opfindere allerede længe før Peters anvendt Vægtstangsprincippet i deres Skrivemaskiner, Peters er derfor ikke første Opfinder af dette princip. Omtalte Peters havde skænket teknologisk Samling en Overdel til en Skrivemaskine. Denne Overdel var meget primitivt Udført og i høj Grad ufærdig. Tangent- og Typestænger er stærkt krummede og anbragt i en plan Flade, af denne Grund mente Professoren at Peters først maatte have konstrueret en Overdel, hvor Tangent- og Typestænger var anbragt gennem en Halvkugle. Professorens Teori gaar altsaa ud paa, at en Kugleoverflade er et ringere Princip end den plane Flade. Ovenstaaende Uddrag af Malling-Hansens Patentansøgning viser imidlertid, at den plane Flade er et ringere Princip end Kugleoverfladen. Da Peters var meget gammel, c: 90 Aar og meget døv, har han uden Tvivl misforstaaet Professorens Spørgsmaal, saa han har bekræftet i Stedet for at benægte Professorens Antagelse: at han før den plane Flade havde anvendt en Kugleoverflade. Senere undersøgelser har desuden vist, at Peters har gjort sig skyldig i en Forvanskning af de faktiske Forhold, idet han i Ill: Zeit: 1872 har givet en Beskrivelse af en Skrivemaskine paa hvilken han lige havde opnaaet Patent i Danmark, som om denne der bliver omtalt i Bladet, var opfundet og patenteret i 1868. Dette er imidlertid ikke Tilfælde. I Aaret 1868 havde han konstrueret en Skrivemaskine, hvis ydre Form var som et taffelformigt Pianoforte, men noget mindre i Størrelsen. Altsaa en meget stor og sikkert uhandlelig Maskine. Den Maskine – Maskinen fra 72 – som stod beskrevet i Bladet er derimod meget mindre og af en ganske anden Form. I Modsætning til Maskinene fra 68, der stod på Gulvet, kunde denne anbringes paa et Bord, altsaa sikkert en mere praktisk og lettere haandterlig Maskine. Saa vidt det kan skønnes – der findes ingen Tegninger af Maskinen fra 68, var begge Maskiner konstrueret over Vægtstangsprincippet.-

 

     Ovenstaaende Opdagelse svækker saaledes tillige i høj Grad de Meddelelser som Peters inden sin Død har givet Prof: Hannover med Hensyn til den omtalte Overdel. Og da Malling-Hansen selv i sin Patentansøgning har vist, at den plane Flade er ringere end Kugleoverfladen kan Retten til at kalde sig ”Skrivekuglens” Opfinder under ingen Omstændigheder tilfalde afdøde Kancelliraad Peters. Malling-Hansen maa, som hidtil, staa som Opfinder af den specielle Skrivemaskine, der kaldes ”Skrivekuglen”.-

 

 

Jacob Ahrend Peters, 1835-1924, dansk lærer, fikk i 1868 patent på en skrivemaskin, og videreutviklet denne til en ny modell i 1872. Han fikk aldri noen støtte til å fremstille sin maskin, og den gikk i glemmeboken.
Direktør på den Polytekniske læreanstalt, professor Harald Immanuel Hannover, 1861-1937. Peters var 89 år og på det nærmeste døv da han ble intervjuet av Hannover, og har sannsynligvis ikke vært helt klar over hva han har svart på. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Denne blyanttegningen av en skrivemaskin finnes i Johanne Agerskovs etterlatte arkiv vedrørende hennes far, RMH. Såvidt jeg har klart å bringe på det rene, skal det være en tegning av Peters skrivemaskin. Den ble aldri fremstilt, men eksisterer kun på papiret.
Første del av Hannovers artikkel i Berlingske Tidende fra 1924. Hannovers motiver var sikkert gode, han ønsket å gi en glemt og misforstått oppfinner sin oppreisning. Men fordi han ikke foretok grundige nok undersøkelser før han utnevnte Peters til den egentlige oppfinneren av skrivekuglen, begikk han den grove feilen å krenke en annen meget større oppfinners ettermæle, Rasmus Malling-Hansen.

Malling-Hansen biography by his daughter, Johanne Agerskov

Johanne Agerskov, nee Malling-Hansen, 1873-1946, wrote this article about her father, Rasmus Malling-Hansen. It has been transcribed from a handwritten manuscript, and has probably never been published before. Photo: Private
Engelke Wiberg, nee Malling-Hansen, 1868-1949. Together with her sister, Johanne, she made a great effort in 1924 to correct the false alligations set forward in the Danish newspaper "Berlingske Tidende" by professor H. I. Hannover, that Malling-Hansen was not the inventor of the writing ball. Photo: Private

Rasmus Malling-Hansen  -  the Inventor of the Writing Ball[1]

 

 

                        By Johanne Agerskov[2]

 

 

    Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen was born September 5, 1835 in the small village of Hunseby, situated in the island of Lolland in the southeastern part of Denmark. His father was an assistant teacher at Hunseby school, but shortly after Rasmus’ birth he became sole teacher at a school in a nearby village. However, he suddenly died from typhoid fever, leaving a wife and three small boys. Malling-Hansen, the eldest, was at the time not yet four years old. Already as a child he showed himself to be an apt and quick learner in many different areas. He was very keen on mathematics and showed a natural talent for drawing. After his confirmation he was apprenticed with a house painter (decorator), but his interests and ambitions had a different direction, his goal being to serve the church as a minister. Count F.M. Knuth assumed responsibility for the gifted young man and sponsored his education at the Teacher Education College of Jonstrup, from where he graduated in 1854 with distinction[3].After a couple of years working as a tutor and as an assistant teacher at a school close to his home, the count sent him to Copenhagen to study for his General Certificate A-level. After 3 years of study with private tuition he got his certificate with the highest possible marks, after which he enrolled at university for theological studies. However, in the long run it became difficult for Malling-Hansen to remain dependent upon the loyal financial support of the count, and hence he applied for a teaching vacancy at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen. He taught there for a couple of years, after which he was accepted at the prestigious boarding facility in Copenhagen known as “Regensen” and he resumed his theological studies. Before he could finish his studies he was appointed as a teacher – and later promoted to the position of principal – at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig 1862 – 1864. The war between Germany and Denmark drove him away from Schleswig, and he returned to his theological studies, graduating from university in 1865. Around the same time he was appointed principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen. In this position he made major achievements in the field of the teaching of deaf-mutes, being the primus motor in the introduction of the so called “speech method” in Denmark, instead of the “sign method”.

 

   Working with the hand alphabet of the deaf-mute he observed that communicating with the fingers (sign language) it was possible to produce around 12 signs per second; using ordinary letters it is only possible to achieve around 4 signs per second, and this observation led him to the idea that it should be possible to construct a machine capable of transforming the movements of the fingers into script at the same velocity.

 

   We do not know for certain when the first idea of the “Writing Ball” germinated and took shape with Malling-Hansen; the written sources are not in complete agreement on this point. The years 1865-67-69 have been suggested, but we are not definitely certain about the year. However, the latest investigations suggest that it is likely he had a finished a model either during the winter of 1867-68 or 1868-69, but only in 1870 – after Malling-Hansen had patented his typewriter – was it shown publicly.   This machine had two concentric spheres or balls – hence the name “Writing Ball”. The type bars were positioned in a radial pattern in relation to a joint center. On the top of the sphere were the heads of the type bars. At the centre of the ball the paper was put on a moveable cylinder-plate. By means of electrical impulses and an electromagnet the plate was pushed a little bit forward every time a key was pressed down. The type bars were mounted in coil springs, and thus they automatically reverted to their position of rest after having been depressed. In his patent application – and in order to show why he chose the spherical shape – Rev. Malling-Hansen states: “Since all the piston rods are equally long and are at an equally long distance to the joint centre onto which they strike, the surface of the piston heads – the button or key – will consequently be in a spherical shape. It this way it is made possible to strike at high speed; they are positioned in such a way that it is much more comfortable for the fingers to type, than if the keys were positioned on a plane surface”. -   Malling-Hansen continuously worked to improve his machine; he abandoned the electrical motion and constructed a new machine, where the so called “carriage” that sustains the paper is moved forward one cog by means of the force of the typing itself. At the world exhibitions in Copenhagen in 1872 and in Vienna in 1873 the writing ball was honoured with the highest distinctions, and at the exhibition in Paris in 1878 a further refined model of the machine was awarded the gold medal. In 1872 Malling-Hansen was awarded the Royal Gold Decoration for Meritorious Services . -    In spite of all the continuous improvements of the writing ball it was surpassed by the various foreign systems and the result of his invention ended in disappointment and losses. -   The xerographic print, also called dry print –  a precursor of the hectographic process – was also an invention by Malling-Hansen, but also in this area he was to be “The sower that sowed but did not reap”.   In spite of adversities and disappointments, Malling-Hansen launched into new scientific investigations. The research led him to the conviction: “That all organic elements on Earth are in perpetual and coinciding oscillations, caused by impulses from celestial bodies, in particular the Sun” (“Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat”, 1886). At the international medical congress in Copenhagen in 1884 he presented an expansive summary of his investigations and was met with strong applause by the leading men of medical science.   On September 27, 1890, he passed away, victim of heart failure. A hardworking and highly talented man’s work ended abruptly; this caused a discontinuation of investigations, which may be difficult to resume.

 

   On March 12, 1924 Professor H.I.Hannover[4] published an article in “Berlingske Tidende” in which he claimed that the recently deceased counsellor Peters was the inventor not only of the “principle of the lever” in machinery used at the time but also of the writing ball. It is a well-known fact that several inventors – much before Peters – have used the principle of the lever in their typewriters, and Peters is therefore not the first inventor of this principle[5]. The said Mr Peters had donated the top part of a typewriter to the Technological Collection[6]. This upper part was executed very primitively and in a very much unfinished state. The keyrods and typebars are heavily curved and positioned on a plane surface; for this reason, the professor was of the opinion that Mr Peters must previously have constructed an upper part, where the keyrods and typebars were located on a hemisphere. In other words, the hypothesis of the professor is that a spherical surface is an inferior design in relation to the plane surface. However, the above excerpt from Malling-Hansen’s patent application shows that the plane surface as a technical principle is inferior compared to the spherical surface. Since Peters was very old – around 90 years – and also very much hard of hearing, he has undoubtedly misunderstood the professor’s questions, leading him to confirm instead of rejecting the assumption of the professor: that he had initially used a spherical surface and later on the plane surface. In addition to that, subsequent investigations have shown that Peters is guilty of distorting the facts: In “Illustrierte Zeitung” 1872 he described a typewriter for which he had recently acquired the patent in Denmark, alleging that the specimen presented in the periodical had been invented and patented in 1868. However, this is not the case. In 1868 he had constructed a typewriter with an exterior appearance similar to a square piano, but somewhat smaller. In other words a very big and undoubtedly unwieldy machine. However, the machine – the one from 1872 – described in the German periodical is much smaller and shaped very differently. In contrast to the machine from 1868 that was supported by table-high legs, the latter model could be placed on a table – hence most probably a more practical and handy machine. As far as we can assess – and there are no drawings of the machine from 1868 – both typewriters used the principle of the lever in their design. –

 

   In summary, the facts revealed above very much weaken the information Peters provided before his death to professor Hannover in relation to the alleged upper part. And since Malling-Hansen himself in his patent application has shown that the plane surface is inferior in relation to the spherical surface, the right to call himself “the inventor of the writing ball” can under no circumstances be allotted to the late counsellor Peters. Malling-Hansen remains, as before, the inventor of the special typewriter denominated “the Writing Ball”.

 

 


[1] JMC: Quoting from www.vandrermotlyset.net, information presented by Sverre Avnskog: Among photos and documents left by Rasmus-Malling Hansen’s daughter Emma (married name: Mathiesen), is an undated and possibly not previously published biography on Malling-Hansen, written by Johanne Agerskov.  Johanne Agerskov and one of the other daughters, Engelke (married name: Wiberg) made great efforts in the 1920s in order to whitewash their father’s name in the face of accusations of having stolen the idea about the writing ball. In connection with this public debate, Johanne wrote a book entitled “Who Was the Inventor of the Writing Ball?”. The biographical text translated here was found in a handwritten note (in Danish) by Johanne Agerskov.

[2] JMC: Johanne Agerskov (1873-1948) was the fifth daughter of Rasmus Malling-Hansen and his first wife Cathrine Georgia, née Heiberg (1841-1876). Johanne was married to Michael Agerskov (1870-1933). In 1920 the couple published a religious and philosophical work, “Toward the Light”. For further reading about this work and about the Agerskov couple, see www.vandrermotlyset.net (in Norwegian language) or www.toward-the-light.net (in English language).

[3] JMC: This kind of teacher education, in Denmark at the time, was meant to train primary and lower level of secondary school teachers. School-leaving certificate was not a prerequisite for admission to this level of teacher training, only a certificate after 9 or 10 years of school education. Hence, the General Certificate A-level had a higher ranking education than the teacher training college diploma, and the GC A-level was the entry point to university studies.

[4] JMC: Harald Immanuel Hannover (1861-1937) was an authority, whose words carried weight in Denmark at the time: He was for many years professor and director of the polytechnic school in Copenhagen (today known as ”The Technical University of Denmark”). Hannover was appointed lecturer of mechanical engineering at the polytechnic school in 1886, and in 1894 he was promoted to hold the chair (professor) in that discipline. He was instrumental in reforming the teaching methods and promoting the welfare of the students. Factory visits and practical work in workshops became permanent features of the education. In 1896 Hannover became the first director of the “State Testing Laboratory” (“Statsprøveanstalten”), and he served as the representative of Denmark in the international association for material testing. Hannover published textbooks on metal working, mechanical technology, textile industry and paper manufacture.

[5] JMC: It is well documented that already Archimedes, living in the third century BCE, Greek mathematician, physicist and engineer, explained the principle of the lever theoretically and demonstrated it in practical terms in his machines.

[6] JMC: The Technical Collection of the Polytechnic School in Copenhagen was founded by Julius Wilkens (1812-1892), a teacher and from 1849 professor of mechanical technology (the predecessor of Harald I. Hannover). The collection was closed down in 1962-63 but the items are today part of the collection of the National Museum of Science and Technology in Helsingør (Elsinore).

Translated into English language by Jørgen Malling Christensen

Jacob Ahrend Peters, 1835-1924, a Danish teacher who invented a very large machine for typing in 1868.
Professor Harald Immanuel Hannover, 1861-1937. In 1924 he wrote an article about Peter's invention in the Danish newspaper, "Berlingske Tidende". Photo: The Royal Library
This drawing was found in the archive of Johanne Agerskov, and is probably a drawing of Mr. Peter's typewriter. Copyright: Privat
This is the first part of professor Hannover's article about Mr Peters' invention in "Berlingske Tidende" from 1924. Hannover had been contacted by a relative of Peters, and told that Peters was a "forgotten" inventor who never was appreciated for his inventions. Hannover probably had the best intentions, and wanted to give Peters the credit he deserved, but he did not investigate the matter with the necessary thouroughness, and ended up setting forward false accusations about another great inventor; Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Luckily this was corrected in public by the Malling-Hansen sisters before the misunderstanding was established as a "fact" in the public's eyes. Copyright: Private

Die Biographie der Erfinder der Schreibkugel von Johanne Agerskov

Engelke Wiberg, 1929. Private photo.
Johanne Agerskov, 1920. Private photo.
Inger Agerskov, 1925. Private photo.

Jørgen Malling Christensen: Our society has greatly benefited from the sharing of vital Rasmus Malling-Hansen related documentation by the Danish section of “Toward the Light”. Their vast collection of documents and personal items stems from Malling-Hansen’s daughters. The following is one of these documents – item no. 11-12-01 in the TtL archive. No date and no author has been indicated, but there can be little doubt that it was written by either Engelke Wiberg or Johanne Agerskov, - the latter being the more likely author. It is also evident from the content that this German presentational text was done in connection with the sisters’ work with the important publication: “Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?” (Who is the inventor of the writing ball?), which appeared in 1925 (only indicating Johanne Agerskov as the writer). However, the text has a reference to a lecture by Gustaf Nylin in 1930; hence it is reasonable to assume that Johanne Agerskov had plans to translate the book into German, and perhaps this text was a promotional venture from her side?

 

The occasional linguistic errors in the German text indicate that she herself did the translation, not leaving it to a professional translator. I have corrected a few of such obvious errors and typos and have commented in places where her mistakes may cause readers to misunderstand.

 

Sverre Avnskog: It's true we owe great thanks to the Danish publishers of Toward the Light. I know it's of importance to them that we emphasise that Toward the Light is a book and not a religious movement. According to Johanne Agerskov she was the intermadiary receiving a message from tha trancendental world through thoughts inspiration, and the work was lead by the spirit of her late father, Rasmus Malling-Hansen. She was very upset when prof. Hannover in 1924 set forward the false alligations that Malling-Hansen was not the inventor of the writing ball, and together with her sister, Engelke Wiberg she collected a large archive concering their father's inventions and his life in general. She handed this archive over to the Toward the Light publishers, and some years ago they donated to us scannings of every single paper in this large archive, including several original letters written on Malling-Hansen's writing ball by the inventor himself.

 

The German article we hereby present exists in at least three copies. Two copies in the archive of the Toward the Light publishers and one is owned by descendants of one of the other sisters though, Emma Mathiesen. I scanned it during my visit to society member, Lars Mathiesen, some time prior to the foundation of our society. It is written on a typewriter, and no author's name is given. But in the TtL archive, a handwritten version can be found, and as I have read several handwritten letters from both Johanne Agerskov and her daughter, Inger Agerskov (1900-1968) I can very easily recognize their handwriting. And it is quite obvious to me that the German, handwritten version of the article is written by Inger Agerskov. The archive also contains a handwritten version of the article in Danish, and this handwriting is clearly that of Johanne Agerskov herswelf. I think we can conclude with relatively large certainty that the original Danish article was written by Johanne Agerskov, and that the German translation was made by her daughter, Inger Agerskov. It should not come as a surprise as Inger Agerskov was trained as teacher in German language, and I don't think that Johanne Agerskov could write German at this level. She had no higher education. We have also published the article in Danish and English, translated by Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

It is interesting to notice that the German typewriter-version contains some information about the lecture of Gustav Nylund in Copenhagen in 1930. This is not mentioned in the original, Danish version, nor in the handwritten, first translation. From this we may draw the conclusion that the original article probably was written during the 1920's, while the last German version must have been typed after 1930. Maybe Johanne Agerskov wrote the original in  connection with her great efforts in 1925? An article in Büro-Bedarf-Rundschau, 16. März 1929 is close to identical with Johanne Agerskovs text, so it's quite clear that it was distributed to at least one German periodical. Johanne Agerskovs name is not mentioned - only Engelke Wiberg, strangely enough.

 

It may have som value to the interested reader to know that Johanne Agerskov was a very tired and somewhat resignated woman in 1930. Her husband was deadly ill, and she was very exhausted from working as an intermediary throughout all her adult life. In this periode she wrote that she considered her work to be completely ended. She wanted to retire and take care of her husband, who wasn't able to get out of his bed because all the muscels of his body was gradually paralysed. Johanne also suffered from illness herself, and some of her descendants have told me that she was disappionted from the negative publicity about her father in such an extent that her mind was nearly broken down. In addition she was extremely disappointed that the Danish church didn't value the great wok she and her husband had done in order to contribute to a refomation of the Danish church. Receiving Toward the Light was the work of their lafe, and Johanne Agerskov had made such great personal sacrifices to be able to fulfill the work.

 

In 1930 she was tired, disappointed and suffered from illness.

 

Her daughter, Inger Agerskov, also suffered a rather sad destiny. Shortly after her mother died in 1946, she had a stroke in the brain and also developed a psycic disorder, and was not able to work after that. The little Agerskov family had a rather sad ending to their lives.

 

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen on the last photo from 1890. His daughters abviously had great love and admiration for him.
Jacob Arend Peters was a long forgotten inventor of at least two different typewriters.
Prof. Hannover wanted to honour Peters' inventiones, but was too hasty and disregarding the facts of the matter.
Gustav Nylin is mentioned in the article because of his lecture at Malling-Hansen's old school in 1930 about the inventor's scientific research.

D I E   B I O G R A P H I E

Der Erfinder der Schreibkugel,

R. M A L L I N G – H A N S E N.

 

            Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen wurde am 5. September im Jahre 1835 in Hunseby auf Lolland geboren. Der Vater war Hilfslehrer an Hunseby Schule, kurz danach wurde er Oberlehrer im nahen Dorfe, wurde aber plötzlich von dem Typhus hinweggerafft, indem er Frau und drei kleine Knaben hinter sich liess. Malling-Hansen, der älteste der Kinder, war damals kaum vier Jahre alt. Als Kind war er sehr gelehrig in allen Richtungen, interessierte sich sehr für die Mathematik und zeigte gute Anlage zum zeichnen. Nach der Konfirmation kam er in Mahlerlehre, seine Wünsche aber hatten andere Richtungen.  F.M. Knuth, der Lehnsgraf, nahm sich des jungen begabten Mannes an und bestritt seine Ausbildung zum Seminaristen auf dem Seminar zu Jonstrup, wovon er im Jahre 1854 dimitiert wurde; er erhielt den Charakter Egregiæ[1] (er zeichnete sich im Examen aus). Nachdem Malling-Hansen einige Jahre, teils als Hilfslehrer an einer Schule in seiner Heimatsgegend, teils als Hauslehrer gewirkt hatte, sandte ihn der Lehnsgraf nach Kopenhagen damit er Student werden konnte. Nach einer dreijährigen privaten Vorbereitung wurde er Student mit dem ersten Charakter, wonach er mit dem theologischen Studium anfing. Aber der Länge Nach wurde es Malling-Hansen schwierig die gütige und treue Unterstützung des Lehnsgrafen zu empfangen, und er suchte aus diesem Grunde eine vakante Stellung als Lehrer an der Königlichen Taubstummenanstalt in Kopenhagen. Einige Jahre wirkte er hier als Lehrer, kam dann auf das „Regens“ und las weiter zum Amtsexamen[2]. Wieder wurde sein Studium unterbrochen durch eine Anstellung als Lehrer, später als Direktor der Taubstummenanstalt in Schleswig (in den Jahren 1862 – 1864.)

 

            Die Kriegsbegebenheiten vertrieben ihn aus Schleswig, er fing wieder mit dem Studium an, und dies wurde mit dem Amtsexamen im Jahre 1865 abgeschlossen. Ungefähr zu derselben Zeit wurde er Direktor der Königlichen Taubstummenanstalt in Kopenhagen. In dieser Beschäftigung har er sich grosses Verdienst mit der Taubstummenunterrichtung eingelegt, da er im Wesentlichen schuld daran ist, dass die Sprachmethode statt der Zeichenmethode in Dänemark eingeführt wurde.

 

            Während seiner Arbeit hier durch die Beschäftigung mit dem Handalphabet der Taubstummen machte er die Beobachtung, dass man durch „das Sprechen“ mit den Fingern ungefähr 12 Lautzeichen in einer Sekunde wiedergeben konnte – mit gewöhnlicher Schrift kann man nur c: 4 Lautzeichen in der Sekunde wiedergeben – dieses brachte ihn auf den Gedanken, dass es möglich sein müsse, eine Maschine zu konstruieren, welche die Bewegungen der Finger zur Schrift mit derselben Schnelligkeit überführen konnte.

 

            Mann weisst nicht ganz genau, wann die Ur-Idee der Schreibkugel feste Form bei Malling-Hansen nahm, die vorliegende Literatur ist in diesem Punkte nicht ganz übereinstimmend, die Zahlen 1865  -  1867  -  1869  werden aufgegeben, es ist aber nicht gelungen eine bestimmte Jahreszahl festzusetzen. Nach neueren Untersuchungen ist doch so viel hervorgekommen, dass man nach aller Wahrscheinlichkeit mit einem im Winter 1867-68 oder im Winter 1868-69 fertigkonstruierten Modell rechnen kann; aber erst im Jahre 1870 nachdem Malling-Hansen Patent auf seine Schreibkugel gelöst hatte, erschien sie öffentlich.

 

            Diese Maschine bestand aus zwei konzentrischen Kugelschalen – davon der Name „Schreibkugel“. Die Buchstabelstempel waren radienförmig nach einem gemeinschaftlichen Centrum gestellt. Auf der oberen Seite der Kugelfläche sassen die Tasten der Buchstabenstempel. In dem Centrum der Kugel wurde das Papier auf einem beweglichen Zylinder gelegt, der durch einen elektrischen Strom und einen Elektromagnet ein wenig vorwärts geschoben wurde jedes Mal eine Taste heruntergedrückt wurde. Die Buchstabenstempel waren in Spiralfedern angebracht, so dass die nach dem Niederdruck automatisch in ihre Ruhelage zurückbefördert wurden.  Um zu zeigen weshalb die Kugelfläche vorgezogen ist schreibt Pastor Malling-Hansen in seinem Patentgesuch: „Da alle Stempel dieselbe Länge haben und einen gleich langen Weg nach der gemeinschaftlichen Fläche, die sie treffen müssen, durchzulaufen haben, wird die Oberfläche der Stempelköpfe – der Knopf oder die Taste – auf einer Kugelfläche liegen. Hiermit wird es möglich die Stempel mit einer sehr grossen Schnelligkeit anzuschlagen; sie haben jedenfalls eine für die Finger zum Anschlag viel bequemere Lage als sie haben würden, wären sie auf einer ebenen Fläche angebracht.“

 

            Malling-Hansen arbeitete weiter mit seiner Maschine, gab die elektrische Bewegungsmethode auf, konstruierte eine neue Maschine wo der sogenannte „Wagen“, der das Papier trug, durch die Kraft des Anschlages eine Zahnrads tacke vorgerückt wurde. Auf der Ausstellung in Kopenhagen 1872 und auf der in Wien 1873 wurde die Schreibkugel mit den höchsten Auszeichnungen geehrt; auf der Ausstellung in Paris 1878 erhielt eine noch mehr verbesserte Maschine eine goldene Medaille. Im Jahre 1872 empfing Malling-Hansen die goldene Verdienstmedaille.

 

            Trotz aller Verbesserungen der Schreibkugel wurde sie doch von verschiedenen ausländischen Systemen überflügelt, und das Resultat seiner Erfindung wurde deshalb nur Täuschung und Verlust. –

 

            Die Xerografie oder der „Trockendruck“ – der Vorläufer der Hektographie – war auch Malling-Hansens Erfindung, aber auch auf diesem Gebiet wurde er nur „der Säemann, welcher säete, aber nicht erntete.“

 

            Trotz Wiederstand und Täuschung warf sich Malling-Hansen in neue wissenschaftlichen Untersuchungen hinein. Durch diese Untersuchungen gelang er zu der Überzeugung  „dass alle organische Funktionen auf Erden in ununterbrochen und übereinstimmenden Schwingungen sein zu welchen der Impuls von den Himmelkörpern, besonders von der Sonne ausgeht.“ („Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme“; „Perioden in dem Wachstum der Kinder und die Wärme der Sonne“, 1886).  Auf dem internationalen Arztkongress in Kopenhagen 1886 gab er der Spitzen der Arztwissenschaft ein ausführliches Resümee seiner Untersuchungen, welches mit grossem Beifall begrüsst wurde.

 

            Am 27. September 1890 starb er an einem Herzschlag. Die Arbeit eines thätigen, hochbegabten Mannes war aus.

 

            Bei seinem Tode schrieb ein bekannter philosophischer Schriftsteller: „ - - Bei der Unterbrechung von Malling-Hansens Arbeit sind Faden verloren, die es vielleicht schwierig sein wird je wieder aufzunehmen.“

 

            Es dauerte doch nicht lange, ehe andere Forschere die Untersuchungen Malling-Hansens wieder aufnahmen, doch bei weitem nicht in demselben Umfang wie Malling-Hansen selbst.

 

            Im Jahre 1930 hielt Dr.med. Gustav Nylin, Stockholm, Spånga, einen Vortrag mit folgendem Titel: „Die gegenwärtige Auffassung von den Malling-Hansenschen Untersuchungen.“ Aus diesem Vortrag geht er hervor, dass stets, mit den Malling-Hansenschen biologischen Arbeiten als Grundlage, weitergebaut wird, und Nylin zitiert zuletzt obengenannte Äusserung und setzt dann fort: „ -  -  Mit dem scharfen Blick des Genies sah er weiter als er mit den damaligen Mitteln imstande war wissenschaftlich zu untersuchen oder beweisen.  Aber die reichen Impulse, die der damalige so geniale Chef der Taubstummenanstalt uns gegeben hat, haben uns inspiriert. Die Lösung eines Problems hat ein neues Problem an den Tag gebracht. Der faden ist nicht verloren, er spinnt sich weiter.“

 

            Am  12. März 1924 brachte der Professor H.I. Hannover in Kopenhagen einen Artikel in „Berlingske Tidende“ vor. In diesem Artikel teilte er mit, dass der damals kürzlich verstorbene Kanzleirat Peters in Kopenhagen nicht nur der erste Erfinder des Hebelprinzips[3] der jetzt verwendeten Maschinen war, sondern auch der Erfinder der Schreibkugel. Obengenannte Peters hatte ein Oberteil einer Schreibkugel zu der Technologischen Sammlung gegeben. Dieses Oberteil war sehr primitiv ausgeführt und im höchsten Grade unvollständig: Tasten- und Buchstabenhebel sind stark gebogen und sind auf einer ebenen Fläche angebracht; aus diesem Grunde hat der Professor gemeint, dass Peters erst einen Oberteil hatte konstruieren müssen, wo die Tasten- und Buchstabenhebel durch eine Halbkugel angebracht waren. Die Theorie des Professors geht dann auf folgendes aus, dass eine Kugelfläche ein geringeres Prinzip sei als die ebene Fläche. Da Peters sehr alt war, ungefähr 90 Jahre, und sehr taub, hat er zweifelsohne die Fragen des Professors missverstanden, so dass er die Vermutung des Professors  bekräftet[4] hat statt sie zu verneinen.  Die Vermutung des Professors ist nämlich, wie obengenannt, dass Peters eine Kugeloberfläche verwendet hätte, ehe er die ebene Fläche verwendete. Spätere Untersuchungen haben ausserdem gezeigt, dass Peters eine Verdrehung der faktischen Verhältnisse verschuldet hat, indem er in „Ill.Zeitung“ 1872 die Beschreibung einer Schreibmaschine gegeben hat, auf welche er eben in Dänemark ein Patent gelöst hatte, als ob diese Maschine, die in der Zeitung erwähnt wird, im Jahre 1868 erfunden und patentiert sei. Es verhält sich doch nicht so. Im Jahre 1868 hatte er eine Maschine konstruiert, deren äussere Gestalt wie ein tafelförmiges Piano war, sie war aber etwas kleiner in Grösse, also eine sehr grosse und gewiss auch unhandliche Maschine.  Die Maschine – diejenige von 1872 – die in der Zeitung beschrieben war, ist dagegen viel kleiner und von einer ganz anderen Gestalt.  Im Gegensatz zu der Maschine von 1868, die auf dem Boden stand, konnte man diese auf einen Tisch anbringen; also eine sehr praktische und mehr [5]hantierliche Maschine. Insofern es beurteilt werden kann – es gibt keine Zeichnungen von dieser Maschine von 1868 – waren beide Maschinen über das Hebelprinzip konstruiert. Obengenannte Entdeckung schwächt zugleich in hohem Grade die Mitteilungen, die Peters vor seinem Tod dem Professor Hannover gegeben hat mit Rücksicht auf den obengenannten Oberteil. Und da Malling-Hansen selbst in seinem Patentgesuch gezeigt hat, dass die ebene Fläche geringer ist als die Kugelfläche, kann das recht sich den Erfinder der Schreibkugel zu nennen unter keinen Umständen dem verstorbenen Kanzleirat Peters zufallen. Malling-Hansen muss, wie bis jetzt, als Erfinder der speziellen Schreibmaschine, die „Schreibkugel“ heisst,  stehen.

 

                                                                              ----------------------ooOoo---------------------

           

 


[1] JMC: The correct spelling is „egregie“. In the Danish academic tradition of that period of time it indicated an unusually high quality score. Its Latin meaning is: “something which puts a person outside the flock (=the norm).

[2] JMC: Malling-Hansen was a student of theology, and passing the exam would mean that he would be accepted to become a priest (vicar) of the Danish church – which he did in 1865.

[3] JA: Bekanntlich haben mehrere Erfinder das Hebelprinzip in ihren Maschinen verwendet, schon lange ehe Peters es verwendete; Peters ist deshalb nicht der erste Erfinder dieses Prinzips.

[4] JMC: The correct word is: bestätigt.

[5] JMC: The correct word is: handliche.

 

This is the upper part of Peters' first typewriter that is kept at the Museum of Science in Denmark. It may be said to have som resemblance with the writing ball, even though it is flat and not a ball.
This is Peters' second typewriter based on the same principles as the Remington typewriter, as it was presented in Illustrirte Zeitung in 1872. One doesn't know if this machine was ever built. But it is certainly one of the world's first typewriters.
Handwritten version in Danish
Handwritten version in German
Typewriter-version in German

Artikkel fra "Dövas vän" - Nr 3, 1928

Afskrift af artikel fra Nr. 3 af det svenske tidsskrift Dövas Vän fra 1928 - side 31 og 32

 

                              Skrivmaskinens uppfinnare[1].

 

 

Vad skulle den moderna kontorsverksamheten vara utan en skrivmaskin? För en nutidsmänniska är det inte lätt at förstå[2], hur man hann med arbetet i förna tider, då man icke kände till skriv-maskinen, utan måste sitta och krafsa i hop alla brev med en penna, den ålderdomliga apparat, som skulle doppas i en sorts vätska, som gjorde plumpar på papperet och klabbade ner fingrarna.

En pennslickare kallade man på den tiden en kontorist för. Vad man nu kallar honom vet vi inte, men pennslickare är han alldeles avgjort inte.

  Det är miljoner skrivmaskiner, som nu årligen sändas ut i marknaden för at förse världen med dette oumbärliga hjälpmedel, vars succes är så avgjord, at det må glädja den danske dövstum-läraren, pastor Malling Hansen i hans grav, då han ju var den förste som hittade på den mekaniska skrivapparaten, varur den moderna skrivmaskinen utvecklas. Så underligt det låter är det endast et par människoåldrar sedan[3].

  Malling Hansen föddes den 5 september i Hunseby, där hans far var lärare. 1865 blev han präst vid det kgl. dövstumsinstitutet i Köpenhamn, och där fick han idén til uppfinnandet af den s.k[4]. skrivkulan, som skulle göra hans namn bekant över hela världen. Han hade på institutet iakttagit at en fingertalare på dövstrumspråket kunde återge 12 ljudtecken i sekunden; i medeltal uttalar man i vanligt tal 20 ljudtecken - i föredrag 15 - men man kan blott skriva 4. Dette kom honom at fundera över mögligheten att kunne ernå ett för alle läsbart återgivande av ljuden, och med stort mekaniskt snille konstruerade han år 1865 den s. k. skrivkulan, som har sit namn av det halvkulformiga stämpelstycket, på vilket alla de typor voro samlade, som den skrivande handen skulle anslå.

  1870 fik han 15 års ensamrätt til sin uppfinning, som blev prisbelönt 1872 i Köpenhamn och 1873 i Wien och omtalad i tyska, danska och engelska tidninger[5]. Det inkom beställninger från Russland och Italien. [6] Dessvärre var uppfindaren icke inställd på at tilverka maskinen fabriksmässigt[7], och naturligtvis var den första maskinen behäftad med brister. Dette betog honom dock inte på minsta sätt modet. Til at börja med sysslade han endast med förbättringar av maskinen och det lyckades honom verkligen att till slut giva apparaten en sådan form, att den löste sin uppgift. Och när hans namn icke desto mindre i våra dager - icke 40 år efter hans död - är fullkomligt glömt, skylles det at han saknade kapital till at upptaga kampen med de amerikanska konkurrenterna. Man må nämligen inte tro, att det icke fanns andra som sysselsatte sig med att framställa sådana skrivapparater. Till at börja med tänkte man endast på at konstruera en apparat med vars hjälp blinda skulla kunna meddela sig skriftligen (en sådan apparat uppfanns redan 1838). Men Malling-Hansen var den förste som framställde en verkligt brukbar snabbskrivmaskin. 1868 upptog en uppfinnare i Amerika patent på en maskin, som skulle gå iland med samme uppgift som Mallings, men att denna icke ens var tilnärmelsevis så bra, framgår därav, at man erbjöd danske uppfinnaren et betydligt belöp för hans patent.[8]

 Vi kunna inte sluta en berättelse om Rasmus Malling, utan at omtala att han också står som uppfinnare av et nytt kopieringssystem. Med de tidigare metoderna kunde man högste framställa 12 exemplar, med hans - den s. k. Xerografen - kunde framställes et par hundra, och den fremstod vid den tiden som det enklaste, snabbaste och billigsta sättet varigenom man kunde skaffa sig många exemplar.

 

Malling Hansen dog den 27 sept. 1890.

 


[1] CB: Dette er den eneste artikel om RMH og skrivekuglen som der ifølge min viden nogensinde er skrevet på svensk.

SA: Artikkelen ble publisert i tidsskriftet ”Døves Vän” og fantes blant RMHs datter, Johanne Agerskovs etterlatte papirer, som ”Vandrer mod Lyset fond og forlag” har skjenket oss kopier av.

JMC: Dette svenske tidsskriftet ble utgitt i perioden 1924-1965. Redaktør var Tor Persson (1886-1963) og Tora Persson (1898-1982). Siden det ikke er oppgitt noe forfatter av artikkelen, er det sannsynlig å tro at den er skrevet av Tor Persson.

[2] CB: Et par sproglige kommentar til denne artikel: Alle navneordene er med lille startbogstav. Det blev først indført i Danmark i 1947 - hvornår blev det mon indført i Sverige? Og bogstavet Å optræder. Det blev først indført i DK i 1947. Men i Sverige bruges det i 1928?

[3] CB: Det er en fin artikel - desværre usigneret - men denne sætning er noget vrøvl. En menneskealder er jo cirka 60-70 år - altså så længe et gennemsnitsliv er - så det er kun én - og ikke to 'menneskealdre' siden.

[4] CB: s.k. = så kallade = såkaldte

[5] CB: Mærkeligt at han ikke nævner guldmedaljen fra Verdensudstillingen i  Paris i 1878.

[6] CB: Der har i andre dokumenter været nævnt mange andre lande - men ordrer fra Rusland og Italien erindrer jeg ikke at have hørt om før.

[7] CB: Igen et yderst interessant udsagn. Hvad mener han med dette? Er det en ren afskrift af andre artikler - eller hvordan skal det forstås? Hvad menes der mon overhovedet med fabriksmæssig fremstilling? Vi er i 1872 cirka. Samlebåndet blev først opfundet af Henry Ford i 1907, så vidt jeg ved?

SA: På nettstedet ”The virtual typewriter-museum” har de noen bilder fra skrivemaskin-fabrikker i USA, riktignok fra et litt senere tidspunkt. De hadde ikke samlebånd, men arbeidsoppgavene har tydelig vært delt mellom et stort antall spesialiserte arbeidere. Skrivekuglene ble, såvidt jeg har forstått, bygget av én mann. I følge Fritz Bechs selvbiografi, offentliggjort i Effata, gikk fremstllingen av skrivekuglen svært langsomt, ofte med store forsinkelser, og bestilleren fikk ofte ikke sin skrivekugle innen den lovede tidsfrist. Den første Remington modellen, som i realiteten utkonkurrerte skrivekuglen, ble i perioden fra 1873-77 fremstlt i 5000 eksemplarer – skrivekuglen sannsynligvis i et antall på langt under 100 i løpet av samme periode.

[8] CB: Igen en højst interessant oplysning. Sverre - korriger mig - men så vidt jeg husker, så ville RMH have 25.000$ for at sælge sit patent til Sholes - eller hvem var det? Og fik et tilbud på 5000$? Og afslog?

SA: Ja, jeg mener beløpene er riktige, men personen han forhandlet med var James Densmore, som var mannen bak Remington maskinen. Densmore hadde kjøp patentet av Sholes og Glidden, som var de egentlige oppfinnerne av maskinen, men Densmore utviklet den videre. I følge brevene fra denne perioden virket RMH meget sikker på å ha en kvalitetsmessig mye bedre maskin enn Densmore, og satte alle krefter inn på å bevise dette ved verdensutstillingen i Paris, hva han også gjorde – han mottok en gullmedalje, mens Densmore kun ble belønnet med en sølvmedalje. Men medaljer og heder er en ting – kommersiell produksjon noe helt annet, her vant Densmore overlegent – dessverre.

CB: Denne prisforhandling med amerikanerne bør vi forsøge at få kortlagt i alle detaljer. Hvis RMH havde indgået en aftale med amerikanerne, ville vi i dag alle have skrevet på kugletastatur - og ikke på det idiotiske QWERTY-tastatur.

 

 

 

Mannen som videreutviklet Sholes-Glidden maskinen som ble patentert i 1868, James Densmore, 1820-1889. Han inngikk et samarbeid med Remington-fabrikken i 1873 om produksjon av den videreutviklede modellen, som han hadde investert noen tusen dollar i. Malling-Hansen forhandlet med Densmore gjennom flere år om et eventuelt salg av hans skrivekugle-patent.
Carlos Glidden, 1834-1977, som sammen med Sholes oppfant og patenterte "the typewriter" i 1868. Den ble satt i produksjon i 1873, 3 år etter skrivekuglen. I løpet av 10 år passerte Remington maskinen ca 1600 produserte eksemplarer, mens skrivekuglen kun ble fremstilt i noen hundre.
Christopher Sholes, 1819-1890, sammen med Glidden oppfinneren av "the typewriter", utviklet også qwerty tastaturet etter oppfordring fra James Densmore, som erfarte at skrivestengene meget lett viklet seg inn i hverandre under skrivingen.

Article from the Swedish Periodical “Dövas vän” – No 3, 1928

Translation from Swedish of an article in the Swedish periodical – “Friend of the Deaf”[1] no 3, 1928, pages 31-32. Translation by Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

The Inventor of the Typewriter[2]

 

 

What would our modern office work be without a typewriter? It is not easy for a person living in our present time to understand[3] how people managed to cope with office work before, when the typewriter was not known and one had to write all letters with a pen, - this ancient tool, which had to be dipped in a sort of liquid, making blots on the paper and soiling the fingers. An office clerk was formerly called a “pen pusher”. Whatever one would call him today, we don’t know, but he is certainly not a pen pusher. 
Millions of typewriters are marketed every year to provide the world with this indispensable tool, whose success is so unquestionable that it is bound to please the Danish teacher of the deaf-mute, reverend Malling Hansen in his grave, since he was the first one to come up with the mechanical writing instrument out of which the modern typewriter was developed. Strange as it may sound, it is merely a couple of generations ago.
Malling Hansen was born September 5, 1835 at Hunseby where his father was a school teacher. In 1865 he was appointed as priest[4] of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, and it was there he got the idea of inventing the so-called writing ball that was to make his name known all over the world. At the institute he had observed that a person communicating by means of the finger-sign alphabet of the deaf-mute was able to express 12 phonetic symbols per second; on average and in normal speech we communicate 20 phonetic symbols – in formal lectures 15 – but we are able to write only 4. This made him reflect about the possibility of being able to reproduce the sounds in a form legible to all, and with great mechanical ingenuity in 1865 he constructed the so-called writing ball, deriving its name from the semi-spherical piston pad, onto which all the types were placed for the typing hand to strike.
In 1870 he obtained a 15-year patent on his invention, rewarded with prizes in 1872 in Copenhagen and 1873 in Vienna and referred to in German, Danish and British newspapers[5]. Orders arrived from Russia and Italy[6]. Unfortunately the inventor was not in a position to produce the machine industrially[7], and naturally the first machine had flaws. However, this did not in the least dishearten him. Initially he only worked with improvements of the machine, and eventually he actually succeeded in shaping and designing the device in such a way that it resolved its task. And nevertheless when his name in our time – not even 40 years after his death – is completely forgotten, it is due to the fact that he lacked the financial capital to compete with the American competitors. Because we should not imagine that there were not others working with this kind of writing apparatuses. Initially the focus was merely on constructing a device by means of which blind people would be able to communicate in writing (such a machine was invented already in 1838). But Malling-Hansen was the first one to produce a really viable machine for quick typing. In 1868 an inventor in America patented a machine with the same purpose as that of Malling’s, but we can deduce that this machine was not nearly as good from the fact that the Danish inventor was offered a considerable amount of money for his patent.[8]
We cannot end the story about Rasmus Malling without mentioning that he is also the inventor of a new copying method. Using earlier methods only up to a maximum of 12 copies could be produced, but his system – the so-called Xerography – made it possible to produce a couple of hundred, and this method was, at the time, the simplest, speediest and cheapest way to reproduce many copies.
Malling Hansen died on September 27, 1890.

 

 

 

 


[1] JMC: This Swedish periodical was published 1924-1965. The editor-in-chief was Tor Persson (1886-1963) and Tora Persson (1898-1982). Since there is no name of the author of the article, it is likely that it was written by Tor Persson.

[2] CB: As far as I know this is the only article about RMH and the writing ball ever written in Swedish. Unfortunately there is no name attached to the article. SA: The article was published in the periodical “Dövas vän” (”Friend of the deaf”) and was found among the papers left by RMH’s daughter, Johanne Agerskov, and of which the “Publishing company of Toward the Light” has provided us copies.

[3] CB: A couple of linguistic comments to this article: All nouns are in lower-case. This feature was introduced in Denmark only in 1947 – I wonder when it was introduced in Sweden? And the letter ‘å’ occurs. That was introduced in Denmark in 1947. However, in Sweden it is used in 1928? JMC: Swedish formal and written language introduced the letter ‘å’ already in the beginning of the 16th century.

[4] JMC: and principal!

[5] CB: It is odd that he doesn’t mention the gold medal from the world exhibition in Paris in 1878.

[6] CB: Other documents mention many other countries – but I do not recall having heard about orders from Russia and Italy.

[7] CB: Once again a very interesting statement. What does he mean? Is this merely a copy of other documents – or how are we to understand this? Anyway, how do we define industrial production? We are talking about 1872 or something like that. As far as I know, the assembly line for mass production was invented as late as 1907 by Henry Ford?
SA: On the website “The virtual typewriter museum” they show pictures from typewriter factories in the USA, albeit at a later point in time. They did not have assembly lines, however the tasks were apparently divided between a large number of specialized workers. In contrast, the writing balls were, as far as I have understood, constructed by one man only. According to Fritz Bech’s autobiography, published in Effata, the production of the writing ball was very slow, often greatly delayed, and frequently the orderer did not receive his writing ball within the promised deadline. The first Remington model, which in reality ousted the writing ball from the market, was during the period 1873-77 produced in 5000 specimen – whereas the writing ball, during the same period, was probably produced in a number far below 100. 

[8] CB: Once again, a very interesting statement.

    

The man who developed the Sholes-Glidden machine patented in 1868, James Densmore, 1820-1889. He entered into cooperation with the Remington factory in 1873 concerning production of the further developed model, into which he had invested some thousand dollars. Malling-Hansen negotiated with Densmore for several years about a possible sale of his writing ball patent.
Carlos Glidden, 1834-1877, who together with Sholes invented and patented “the typewriter” in 1868. Production started in 1873, 3 years after the writing ball. In the course of 10 years the Remington machine passed the mark of about 1600 specimen produced, whereas the writing ball was produced in a mere 100+ copies.
Christopher Sholes, 1819-1890, together with Glidden the inventor of “the typewriter”, also developed the ‘qwerty’ keyboard, encouraged by James Densmore who had had the experience of the pistons very easily becoming entangled in each other
Illustration from the internet. The author of this text is obviously not aware of the fact that it was the Danish inventor, Rasmus Malling-Hansen, who invented the world's first commercially produced typewriter in 1865!

Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884

Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884 ble skrevet av forfatter og genealog Sofus Elvius, 1849-1921. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek

CB: Fakta om Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

Fra bogen "Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869 - 1884"  af Sofus Elvius[1]  [2]

 

 

548  Døvstummeinstitutet

 

(Præsten er tillige Forstander og Førstelærer ved Institutet).

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen 5 september 1835 Hunseby, Fader Johan Frederik Hansen.  lærer i Havlykke, Østofte Sogn.  Moder Julie Marie Cathrine Matzen.  Seminarist fra Jonstrup 23/6 1854 (udmærket duelig); Hjælpelærer Maglemer Skole, Hunseby Sogn 1/7 54 til 30/6 1855. Opholdt sig derefter et Aar i Kbh; Student privat 1858; Lærer ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Kbh 10/1 1859 - 30/9 1861; Lærer ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Slesvig By 1/10 1862. Konstitueret Forstander og Førstelærer samme sted 23/4 1863.

 

Kongelig udnævnt  27/1 1864. afsat af Tyskerne 28/10 1864[3]. Konstitueret Forstander ved Døv-stummeinstituttet i Kbh. 1/6 1865. Kandidat 27/6 1865[4].  Ordineret som Præst 6/9 1865. Foretog i 1868 med en Statsunderstøttelse af 1600 Kr. en Rejse for at gøre sig bekjendt med Døvstumme-undervisningen i Tyskland, Østrig, Svejts, Frankrig og Holland; deltog i 1876 i en Kongres i Stock-holm af "Abnormskolens[5] Lærere i Norden". Ridder af Vasaordenen[6] 26/10 samme Aar. R[7] 2/2 1880.  Underdirektør for Døvstummeinstitutet i Fredericia 13/9 1880.

 

Er Opfinder af en Skrivemaskine "Skrivekuglen", den første som kan skrive hurtigere end Pennen; har til Forsøg med og Udbedring af den erholdt Understøttelse af Indenrigsministeriet, Reiersenske Fond, Classenske Fideikommis og Hjelmstjerne-Rosencroneske Stift[8]. Fortjenst-medaille i Guld [9]  31/5 1872 og den østrigske Guldmedalje "literis artibus"; for Skrivekuglen modtog han Første Medaille på den skandinaviske Udstilling i Kbh i 1872; Vortschrittes Medaille paa Verdensudstil-lingen i Wien i 1873 og Guldmedaille paa Pariserudstillingen 1878. Til at foretage Undersøgelser angaaende Periodiciteten i det opvoxende menneskelige Legemes Vægt og Højde blev der i 1883 tilstaaet ham 6000 Kr. af Staten og 4000 Kr. af Carlsbergfondet. Har udgivet: Forslag om at oprette et Døvstummeinstitut i Jylland 1880; Ueber Periodicität im Gewicht der Kinder an täglichen Wägungen, 1-2 Kopenhagen 1883 - 84[10]. 1 gang gift i Kjeldby Kirke 8/9 1865 m Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, Datter af 496 [11], født 27/10 1841 i Kbh. Død 3/10 1876. 2 gang gift i Matthæus Kirke  19/11 1880 m Anna Cathrina Maria Steenstrup, f. 9/11 1842. Fader Michael Vogelius Steenstrup, Byfoged i Frederikshavn, Herredsfoged i Horns Herred. Søn af Joh. Vogelius Steenstrup til Skelund-V. Død 23/1 1840. Moder Abelone Antoinette Lyngbye.

 


[1] CB: Artiklen er propfuld af forkortelser som jeg her har skrevet ud som jeg forstår dem.

[2] SA: Sofus Helenus Elvius (1849-1921) var en førende dansk genealog. Sideløbende med hans arbejde som assistent i den nyoprettede Livsforsikringsanstalt tilvejebragte han genealogiske samlinger, lige betydelige ved deres omfang og ved deres nøjagtighed, og som ikke blot har gjort ham til en af personalehistorikere søgt medarbejder men også har sat frugt i selvstændige arbejder, deriblandt ”Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-84, København 1885-87. Gift 31 marts 1882 med Christine Elisabeth Appel.

[3] JMC: I krigen om Slesvig 1864 stod Danmark alene mod de to allierede Preussen og Østrig og led et klart militært nederlag. Krigen varede fra 1 februar til 20 juli 1864, og nederlaget fik til følge at at Danmark måtte afstå Slesvig, Holsten og Lauenborg.

[4] JMC: Teologisk embedseksamen ved Københavns Universitet

[5] JMC: Det som vi i dag kalder Specialundervisning

[6] JMC: En kongelig svensk orden grundlagt i 1772 af Gustav III. Den blev tildelt personer som havde gjort særlig nyttige samfundsindsatser indenfor landbrug, minedrift, kunst, handel eller industri. Vasaorden havde fem niveauer: 1) Kommandør af Storkorset, 2) Kommandør af 1.klasse, 3) Kommandør af 2.klasse, 4) Ridder af 1.klasse, 5) Ridder af 2.klasse. RMH tildeltes et af riddertegnene, men vi ved ikke hvilket af de to grader det var. Dette var efter at han havde demonstreret sin skrivekugle for den svenske konge, som blev stærkt interesseret og imponeret af hans opfindelse (Det er sandsynligt at man kan spore dokumentation i det svenske kongelige arkiv som viser hvilke personer som blev tildelt Vasaorden i den periode. Der er også en mulighed for at den svenske konge fik – eller købte – en skrivekugle og at maskinen i så tilfælde stadig findes i de kongelige samlinger – dette er noget vi bør undersøge!)

[7] CB: Denne tekst er fyldt med ultraforkortelser, som jeg har forsøgt at skrive helt ud. Jeg vil gætte på, at R betyder Ridder af Dannebrog - en hædersbevisning der gives af Kongen/Dronningen til folk, der har gjort en stor samfundsnyttig indsats.

[8]CB:  Det meste af dette er også nye oplysninger, så der er masser af ting vi skal have undersøgt. Hvem er disse fonde? Hvor er RMHs ansøgninger? Hvor er dokumenterne der bevilger pengene?

[9] SA: Jeg har alltid antatt at det var Kongens fortjenestemedalje, utdelt av kongen selv, men har ikke nogen sikker viden om dette.

[10] CB/SA: Grunden til at den danske udgave af RMH’s bog og tabelværk om ”Periodiciteten” ikke er nævnt er åbenbart at den tyske udgave publiceredes først – 1884 -, og at den danske udgave kom først i 1886. Dette var for sent for at den skulle kunne nævnes i Elvius faktaartikel, for informationerne til denne samlede Elvius ind i årene op til og med 1884, og bogen – hans præstehistorie – udkom i perioden 1885-87.

[11] CB: RMHs svigerfar, Søren Johan Heiberg, var jo også præst/teolog - og er altså beskrevet i denne bog under nummer 496.

 

 

Keldby kirke, der Malling-Hansen giftet seg første gangen
Malling-Hansens første hustru, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876. Foto: Heiberg Museet i Sogndal, Norge
Foto av alteret i Sankt Matthæus kirke, der RMH ble gift andre gang
RMHs andre hustru, Anna Steenstrup, 1842-1897. Foto: Privat

Clerical History of Denmark 1869-1884

Sofus Elvius, 1849-1921, author and genealogist. Photo: The Royal Library

Facts about Rasmus Malling-Hansen in: “Clerical History of Denmark 1869-1884 by Sofus Elvius[1]  [2]

# 548  The Institute for the Deaf-Mutes

 

(The  Minister is also principal and head teacher of the institute)

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen born 5/9 1835 in Hunseby; father Johan Frederik Hansen, teacher at Havlykke,  Østofte parish. Mother Julie Marie Cathrine Matzen. Graduated from the teacher training college of Jonstrup 23/6 1854 with distinction; assistant teacher at Maglemer School, Hunseby parish from 1/7 1854 until 30/6 1855. After that he spent a year in Copenhagen; school-leaving certificate after private studies in 1858; teacher at the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen from 10/1 1859 until 30/9 1861; teacher at the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in the town of Schleswig from 1/10 1862. Acting principal and head teacher at this institute from 23/4 1863.

 

Appointed by royal decree 27/1 1864, dismissed by the German[3] administration 28/10 1864. Acting principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen from 1/6 1865. Graduated[4] on 27/6 1865. Ordained as minister on 6/9 1865. With state sponsorship of 1600 kroner he travelled in 1868 to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands in order to study the teaching of deaf-mutes in those countries; in 1876 he participated in a congress in Stockholm organized for special education[5] teachers in Scandinavia. Was awarded the decoration of Knight of the Order of Vasa[6] on 26/10 1876. Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog[7] 2/2 1880. Deputy principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Fredericia 13/9 1880.

 

Inventor of a typewriter, the “writing ball”, the first such machine capable of writing quicker than the pen; for trials and for refining this machine he has received financial support from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Rejsersen Fund, the Classen Trust, and the Hjelmstjerne-Rosencrone foundation[8]. The Decoration for Meritorious Services in gold[9] 31/5 1872 and the Austrian gold medal “Literis Artibus”; for the writing ball he received First Class Medal at the Scandinavian Exhibition in Copenhagen in 1872, as well as “Vortschrittes Medaille” (Progress Medal) at the world exhibiltion in Vienna in 1873 and the Gold Medal at the Paris exhibition in 1878. In 1883 he was granted 6000 kroner by the State and 4000 kroner from the Carlsberg Foundation for research concerning periodicity in the growth of the human body in terms of weight and height. Has published: “Proposal  for the Establishment of an Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Jutland” 1880; “Über Periodicität im Gewicht der Kinder an täglichen Wägungen”[10], part 1-2, Copenhagen 1883-84[11]. Married first time in the church of Kjeldby 8/9 1865 with Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, daughter of # 496[12], born 27/10 1841 in Copenhagen, dead 3/10 1876. Married second time in the church of Matthæus 19/11 1880 with Anna Cathrina Maria Steenstrup, born 9/11 1842. Father: Michael Vogelius Steenstrup, judge in Frederikshavn and in Horn district, son of Johannes Vogelius Steenstrup of Skelund-V. Dead 23/1 1840. Mother Abelone Antoinette Lyngbye.

 

 


[1] CB: The article is packed with abbreviations, which I have rendered in full where I have understood them. JMC: The book was written in 1884, six years before the death of RMH. Apparently, the book listed short facts about all or most of the clergymen active during the period in question.

[2] SA: Sofus Helenus Elvius (1849-1921) a leading Danish genealogist. In parallel with his employment at a life assurance company, Elvius compiled genealogical data, characterized by a wealth of information and a remarkable accuracy. Among his publications are “The Clerical History of Denmark 1869-1884, published in Copenhagen 1885-87. In 1879 he played a major role in the negotiations that led to the establishment of “The Society for Danish-Norwegian Genealogy and Personal History”. From 1887 manager at the Institute of Genealogy established by his initiative. Married 31 March 1882 to Christine Elisabeth Appel.

[3] JMC: The second Schleswig war saw Prussia and Austrian combining forces against Denmark, who was without allies. The war lasted only from 1/2  until 20/7 1864, was clearly won by the allies, and Denmark had to cede control of the territories of Schleswig, Holsten and Lauenburg to Prussia and the Habsburg empire.

[4] JMC: Meaning that RMH completed his theological studies at the University of Copenhagen.

[5] JMC: The terminology in the article is ”teacher of abnormal pupils”, a common and accepted designation at the time, covering all aspects of what we today call Special Education.

[6] JMC: The Vasa Order is a royal Swedish decoration established in 1772 by the Swedish king Gustaf III. It was awarded for “extraordinary merits within agriculture, mining, arts, commerce or industry” and had five different levels or ranks: 1)Commander of the Great Cross, 2) Commander of first class, 3) Commander of second class, 4) Knight of first class, 5) Knight of second class. RMH was awarded either the first or the second class of the knight ranks by the Swedish king after having made a demonstration to his majesty of his writing ball, to which the king took a strong interest and was very much impressed (it is likely that documentation can be found in the royal Swedish archive about the names of those awarded such decorations; also, there is a possibility that the King was given – or bought – a writing ball and that the machine itself is part of the collections of the royal Swedish family – something to look into!)

[7] CB: The text only states the abbreviation “R”, but this is most likely to mean Knight of the Order of the Dannebrog, conferred by the king to citizens of particular merit to society

[8] CB: Much of this information is new to us, and lots of more follow-up research is needed about the nature of these funds; Where are RMH’s applications? Where are the documents that confirm the grants?

[9] SA: I assume this was the royal decoration for meritorious services, but I am not absolutely sure

[10] JMC: ”About Periodicity in the Weight of Children as Noted by Daily Weighings”

[11] CB/SA: It is interesting to note that the facts do not mention the Danish version of RMH’s book; the explanation is that the German version of his book was published in 1884, while the Danish version was only published in 1886 (and evidently this could not be recorded by the summary of facts in “The Clerical History” because the latter was written in 1884 and published 1885-87)

[12] CB: RMHs father-in-law Søren Johan Heiberg was also a minister and hence listed in this book (as number 496)

Translated into English language by Jørgen Malling Christensen

The church of Keldby, where RMH was married first time
RMH's first wife, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876. Photo: Private
The church of Sct Matthæus, where RMH was married the second time
RMH's second wife, Anna Steenstrup, 1842-1897. Photo: Private

Danish newspaper Article, published in 1965

The article was illustrated by this picture of a woman typing on the large, flat model. The caption ran as follows: “The writing ball is today regarded as a curiosity, however in the years following its appearance it was seen as something of a sensation”.

By Gerda Berntsen[1]

English translation by Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

The Clergyman Rasmus Malling Hansen[2], who died 75 years ago, was not only the inventor of the writing ball but also a warm-hearted advocate for the education of deaf-mute children.

 

September 27, 75 years ago, the well-known principal and vicar Rasmus Malling Hansen suffered a stroke and died, 55 years old. From 1865 and until his death Malling Hansen was principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, and by his work here acquiring great distinction and merit. His name was known far beyond Denmark’s borders, appearing in newspapers and scientific journals all around Europe.

 

Rasmus Malling Hansen was born in 1865 at Hunseby by Maribo. His father was a village school teacher, but he died from typhoid fever, when the boy was 4 years old. The foster father of his mother took upon himself to raise the little Rasmus and his two younger brothers, while the mother took care of his household at Hunseby, where he was a school teacher.  The boy was gifted, but their financial situation did not allow him to study. Since he was skilled at drawing he was placed as a house painter’s apprentice in Maribo, however count F.M.Knuth of Knuthenborg offered his sponsorship to let him study to become a school teacher, and the young man was enrolled at Jonstrup teacher training college. In 1854 he became a certified teacher with distinction and served as a tutor in Maglemer parish. However, his heart was set on theology, and soon afterwards he settled in Copenhagen, where he got his A level certificate.

 

Meeting the Handicapped

 

His mind was still set on reading for the church, but the sensitive young man felt distressed living entirely on the charity of count Knuth, and this is why he took on the position as teacher at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute. Very soon he took a keen interest in this fascinating line of work, however he did not abandon the ambition of passing the degree in divinity.After a couple of years he resumed his academic studies. At this point in time the ministry was hunting high and low for a Danish teacher for the institute for the deaf-mute in Schleswig. Malling Hansen accepted the position in 1862. In 1864 he was appointed principal, but when war broke out he was forced to return to Copenhagen, and in 1865 he was finally able to graduate in divinity. That same year he was appointed principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen.Malling Hansen’s personality combined an ardent artistic temperament with a skill for organizing as well as a sense of scientific method and depth. With great energy and enthusiasm he threw himself into the work for the deaf-mutes, and he was the man behind the ministerial resolution of January 5, 1867, according to which a distinction was made between the “actual” deaf-mutes, the “not really deaf-mutes”, and the less gifted deaf-mute pupils, and these three categories were from now on taught in separate categories. The “not really deaf-mutes” were those who were able to hear and speak a little bit. This division was something completely new, and Denmark became a pioneer in this area. Hence, it is also termed “the Danish method” or “the Danish division”.Malling Hansen was also the author of a proposal 1879 to the Government concerning the establishment of an institute for the deaf-mute in Jutland. The proposal was accepted by parliament, and in March 1880 it was decided to establish an institute for the deaf-mute in Fredericia.

 

Overall, the education and care of the deaf-mute in Denmark went through a remarkable development in Malling Hansen’s era. He had a keen sense of radical, new aspects of his time, and during his journeys abroad he had an opportunity to learn new ideas and methods and well understood to select the very best and make good use of it on his home ground.

 

The Writing Ball

 

Through his work for the cause of the deaf-mute Malling Hansen ventured into other areas, which absorbed his attention and contributed to gain further reputation for his achievements. Who has not heard about Malling Hansen’s writing ball, the first speed typewriter in the world, produced commercially. In his work with the deaf-mute Malling Hansen had noticed that an experienced finger-sign speaker is able to reproduce sounds three times as fast as a person writing by hand. Others had attempted to construct typewriters as an aid for blind people, however what fascinated Malling Hansen was the speed, and since he possessed imagination as well as mechanical genius he initiated his work to invent a speed-writing machine.  In 1870 he was awarded the patent with a 15 years monopoly. It was exhibited in expositions in Europe and gained him world-wide reputation, but when the American Remington-machine soon afterwards established itself all over the world, his machine lost out. However, Malling Hansen still pursued his work with improvements of his writing ball up until his death in 1890. The concept of speed typing led Malling Hansen unto the idea of copying in large numbers, and he invented Xerography, a precursor of the hectographic process.

 

The Organism and Cosmic Rays

 

In yet another area Malling Hansen was to take an important initiative without being able to carry it through, and with no one else to directly follow up on the issue. In the process of introducing changes in the diet of the deaf-mute children for several years he carried out systematic measuring of the weight and height of the children and arrived at the conclusion that growth occurred in periods, quite independently of the diet and occupation of the children. Through a long series of scientific experiments he further on came to the conclusion that the growth of all organisms was periodical and dependent of cosmic rays, first and foremost solar energy. He wrote a number of reports on these experiments and modestly denominated them as “fragments”. They attracted attention among scientists in many countries, but following his premature death no one took up the thread. However, there is no reason to remember Rasmus Malling Hansen only as a man who left behind just a bunch of loose ends, because when everything else has been forgotten – even his interesting writing ball, now regarded as a curiosity – there is still ample reason to remember that he was one of the most valuable reformers of the education and care of the deaf-mutes, and that everything he ever achieved in other areas was related to this, a matter very near to his heart.

 

 

 

 


[1] JMC: Unfortunately we don’t know in which paper this excellent article was published; however, we have a copy of the article, and it was from Sunday the 19th of September 1965. The only information I have been able to find about the writer is that Gerda Berntsen was born in 1917 and that she has published a few books in various subject areas. She was, to our knowledge, one of the very few journalists to remember RMH on this occasion at a time when his name and achievements were rarely mentioned.

[2] JMC: The author spells his surname without a hyphen

1965: De Døvstummes bedste ven, der opnaaede verdensry, af Gerda Berntsen [1]

Artikkelen var illustrert med dette bildet av en kvinne som skriver på den store, flate modellen. Billedteksten lød: "Skrivekuglen betragtes i dag som en kuriositet, men var i aarene efter dens fremkomst noget af en sensation."

Præsten Rasmus Malling Hansen, der døde for 75 aar siden, var ikke blot skrivekuglens opfinder, men ogsaa den hjertevarme fortaler for dygtiggørelsen af døvstumme børn.

 

27 september er det 75 aar siden, at den kendte døvstummeforstander og præst Rasmus Malling Hansen ramtes af et hjerteslag og døde 55 aar gammel. Fra 1865 og til sin død var Malling Hansen forstander for Døvstummeinstituttet i København, og ved sit arbejde her indlagde han sig stor fortjeneste. Hans navn blev kendt langt ud over Danmarks grænser og figurerede i aviser og videnskabelige tidsskrifter rundt om i Europa.

 

Rasmus Malling Hansen fødtes i 1865 i Hunseby ved Maribo. Hans far var skolelærer, men døde af tyfus, da drengen var 4 aar. Moderens plejefar paatog sig at forsørge den lille Rasmus og hans to yngre brødre, mod at moderen passede hus for ham i Hunseby, hvor han var lærer. Der var ikke raad til at lade drengen studere, skønt han var godt begavet. Da han var god til at tegne, blev han sat i malerlære i Maribo, men lensgreve F.M. Knuth til Knuthenborg tilbød at lade ham uddanne til lærer, og den unge mand kom paa Jonstrup Seminarium. I 1854 fik han lærereksamen med udmærkelse og blev hjælpelærer i Maglemer på Lolland. Men hans hu stod egentlig til teologien, og snart efter gik rejsen til København, hvor han efter tre aars forløb tog studentereksamen.

 

Mødet med de handicappade

 

Det var stadig hans hensigt at læse til præst, men det pinte den ømfintlige unge mand at leve helt og holdent af grev Knuths godgørenhed, og han tog derfor stilling som lærer ved Døvstummeinstituttet. Han blev snart grebet af dette interessante arbejde, men opgav dog ikke at faa teologisk embedseksamen.Efter nogle aars forløb begyndte han atter at studere. Paa dette tidspunkt søgte man med lys og lygte efter en dansk lærer til døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig. Malling Hansen tog imod stillingen i 1862. I 1864 udnævntes han til forstander, men da krigen udbrød, maatte han fortrække til København, og i 1865 lykkedes det ham omsider at faa sin embedseksamen. Samtidigt blev han forestander for Døvstummeinstituttet i København. Hos Malling Hansen forenedes et ildfuldt kunstnertemperament med organisatorisk dygtighed og sans for videnskabelig metode og grundighed. Han kastede sig med stor energi og begejstring ind i arbejdet for de døvstumme, og han var manden bag den ministerielle resolution af 5. januar 1867, hvorefter man skelnede mellem ”egentlige” og ”uegentlige” samt svagt begavede døvstumme, og disse tre kategorier undervistes fra nu af hver for sig. De ”uegentlige døvstumme” var dem, der kunne høre eller tale lidt. Denne deling var noget helt nyt, og Danmark blev saaledes foregangsland paa dette omraade. Den kaldtes da ogsaa ”den danske metode” eller ”den danske deling”.Det var ogsaa Malling Hansen, der i 1879 indsendte et forslag til regeringen om oprettelse af et døvstummeinstitut i Jylland. Forslaget mødte velvilje i rigsdagen, og i marts 1880 blev det vedtaget, at der skulle oprettes et døvstummeinstitut i Fredericia.

 

I det hele taget gennemgik døvstummevæsendet i Danmark en kolossal udvikling i Malling Hansens tid. Han havde sans for det nye, der laa i tiden, og paa sine rejser i udlandet havde han lejlighed til at lære nye tanker og metoder at kende, og han forstod at si det bedste fra og benytte det herhjemme.

 

Skrivekuglen

 

Men gennem arbejdet for de døvstummes sag kom Malling Hansen ind paa helt andre emner, som optog ham og gjorde sit til at øge hans ry. Hvem har ikke paa et eller andet tidspunkt hørt om Malling Hansens skrivekugle, den første hurtigskrivemaskine i verden, der blev fremstillet med salg for øje. Ved sit arbejde med de døvstumme havde Malling Hansen bemærket, at en øvet fingertaler kan gengive lyde tre gange saa hurtigt, som det kan lade sig gøre ved haandskrift. Andre havde forsøgt at lave skrivemaskiner som hjælpemiddel for blinde, men det var selve hurtigheden, der fascinerede Malling Hansen, og da han var i besiddelse af baade fantasi og mekanisk snilde, gik han i gang med at opfinde an hurtigskrivemaskine. I 1870 fik han 15 aars eneret paa den, og den blev vist paa udstillinger rundt om i Europa og opnaaede at skaffe ham verdensry, men da den amerikanske Remington-maskine snart efter gik sin sejrsgang over verden, blev den slaaet ud. Malling Hansen puslede dog med forbedringer af den lige til sin død i 1890.Hurtigskriveridéen bragte Malling Hansen ind paa tanken om massekopiering, og han opfandt xerografien, en forløber for hektografien.

 

Organismen og de kosmiske stråler

 

Paa endnu et omraade skulle Malling Hansen tage et vigtigt initiativ uden selv at føre det igennem, og uden at andre direkte fulgte sagen op. Da man indførte kostændringer for de døvstumme børn, foretog han gennem flere aar systematiske maalinger af børnenes vægt og størrelse og kom til det resultat, at væksten foregik i perioder, ganske uafhængigt af børnenes ernæring og beskæftigelse. Ved en lang række videnskabelige forsøg kom han endvidere til den overbevisning, at alle organismers vækst var periodisk og afhang af kosmiske straaler, først og fremmest af solenergien. Han skrev forskellige afhandlinger om disse forsøg og kaldte dem beskedent ”fragmenter”. De vakte opsigt blandt videnskabsmænd i mange lande, men efter hans alt for tidlige død var der ingen, der umiddelbart tog traaden op.

 

Der er dog ingen grund til at mindes Rasmus Malling Hansen som en mand, der blot efterlod sig et bundt løse ender, for naar andet er glemt – selv hans interessante skrivekugle, der nu betragtes som en kuriositet – saa er der dog grund til at huske, at han var en af døvstummevæsenets værdifuldeste reformatorer, og at alt, hvad han foretog sig han foretog sig paa andre omraader, havde relation til denne, hans hjertesag.



GERDA BERNTSEN

 

[1] JMC: Vi ved desværre ikke, hvor denne udmærkede artikel blev publiceret – men vor kopi fortæller at den er fra Søndag den 19 september 1965 og at den er publiceret under vignetten ”Strejftog i døgnet”.
Det eneste jeg har kunnet finde om forfatteren er, at hun blev født i 1917 og har publiceret nogle bøger i forskellige emner.

 

 

 

Feature article in the Danish daily “Kristeligt Dagblad” 26 September 1990

The Versatile Vicar

Feature by Asger Andersen[1]

English translation by Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

Vicar Hans Malling-Hansen, for 25 years principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute during the past century, was a man of versatile talents. Today, exactly 100 years after his death, vicar for the deaf Asger Andersen writes about the great organizer, whose enterprise and loving attitude towards the deaf-mute deserve to be remembered. He is also known as the inventor of the writing ball. However, perhaps his most outstanding achievement was his research into the conditions linked to children’s growth.

 

Saturday evening on the 27th of September 1890 between 10 and 11 PM a 55 year old gentleman fell down in the street, stricken with heart failure. It was the principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, reverend Malling-Hansen who, on his way home from the Masonic Lodge, was suddenly overtaken by death.

 

When we have reasons to remember this event one hundred years ago, it is not so much due to the fact that the deceased was an outstanding and pioneering teacher and educationist whose organizing talent had consequences also for our present time, as the circumstance that he was the first in this country to invent a usable “speed writing machine”, and hence was to make an original contribution to the development which has led to our modern computer era.

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen was born September 5, 1835 as the son of a village primary school teacher at Hunseby, Lolland. He lost his father at an early age, but after the talented boy had for a short period of time been in apprenticeship to become a house painter, Count Knuth of Knutenborg took compassion on him and sponsored his enrolment at Jonstrup teacher training college, from where he graduated in 1854. Four years later Malling-Hansen passed his A-level exam and began studying theology, however already the following year he was introduced to that which was to become his calling, for he was employed as a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute. A couple of years later, however, he left this position in order to concentrate on his academic studies, but then in 1862 he was offered an appointment at the institute for the deaf-mute in Schleswig, where there was a wish to strengthen the teaching in Danish language. Already two years later he was appointed principal, but due to the war in 1864 he had to leave and return to Copenhagen. Following his final university examination in 1865 he was appointed principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, succeeding his father-in-law Søren Heiberg.

 

As school head M-H proved himself to be the born organizer. He put in order the somewhat entangled relationship with the private school for the deaf, previously established by Johan Keller, and which was based upon the speech method, contrary to the old institute where sign language and the hand alphabet constituted the basic teaching methods. The arrangement was such that the so called “not actually deaf-mute” were referred to Keller’s school, while the “actual deaf-mute” would attend the institute. When Johan Keller died in 1884 – incidentally suddenly, just like M-H, and at the same age – the entire teaching of the deaf-mute reverted to the public system, whereas institutions for the mentally retarded, founded by Keller, remained private, owned by the family.

 

M-H was also the one who presented the proposal for the establishment of an institute in Jutland, where teaching would be based upon the “pure speech method”, prevalent at the time, which banned the use of sign language. In 1881 the school in Fredericia was ready, but M-H’s organizational initiatives did not stop here. He became the main author of the recommendations of the commission of 1888, leading to the establishment of a public institute for the “not actually deaf-mute”, opened in Nyborg in 1891 and today a school for continuing education of deaf pupils and those with severe hearing loss – however, something he did not live to see happening.

 

While M-H was thus an excellent organizer, his administrative talents were not as well developed. This appeared in the area of finances, where he personally as well as the school were hard pressed to make ends meet, and also in the aspect of personal relations; he was a temperamental and impulsive person, often showing capricious and erratic behaviour and therefore easily falling out with his superiors as well as subordinates.

 

Otherwise he is described as a good fellow at bottom and with a big, warm heart. This was manifest not least in his relationship with adult deaf-mutes. Upholding tradition he held a service every Sunday at the Institute, where not only the eldest pupils but also the adult deaf people of the city would participate. At these occasions reverend Malling-Hansen displayed his considerable capacities as a preacher, capable of spellbinding his audience with an extremely elegant sign language. Indications are that he, at some point in time, was planning to extend the clerical activity to include also divine service for the deaf-mute of the countryside, who at the time did not have access to any clerical service[2].

 

Together with Johan Keller in 1872 he started the periodical “Smaablade for Døvstumme” (“Leaflet for the Deaf-Mute”), which however had to be discontinued after four issues. Han was also one of the co-founders of “Døvstummeforeningen af 1866” (“Association for the Deaf-Mute of 1866”), which is still active and is held to be one of the oldest associations for the deaf-mute in the world.

 

However, first and foremost M-H was a scientist. The introduction of a new school meal diet at the institute caused him to measure and weigh the pupils every day. By comparing the variations in the weight and growth of the children with the width and height of the trees in the garden, the ingenious principal found out that there was actually a connection: In periods when the trees grew taller and thicker, the height and weight of the pupils also increased. At an international medical congress in Copenhagen in 1884 M-H presented his results, attracting much attention. Also his written presentation: “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat” evoked the admiration of his time.

 

However, of greater interest for posterity is the invention of the “writing ball”. M-H had noticed that while we are able to write merely four letters by hand per second, with some practise we can achieve until 12 letters by means of the finger alphabet. By means of studies in parliament he found that the average speaking speech was ca 10-12 phonemes per second, in other words more or less corresponding to the speed of the finger language. Now, if it were possible to build a machine where the finger movements were converted into writing, then such an apparatus would actually be able to follow the speech sound by sound.

 

Already immediately after his university degree in 1865 he started experimenting. His brother-in-law, the later rural dean J.A.Heiberg, related how absorbed M-H was of the idea of the writing ball which he subsequently also succeeded to construct. The result was a machine consisting of a hemisphere, through which were put steel shanks or pistons with buttons or keys corresponding to each of the letters at the end. Below the steel pistons there was a cylinder platen, unto which the paper was placed. Every time a key was pressed, the platen was pushed a little bit forward by means of electricity.

 

Now, M-H is not the first person to have attempted to construct a typewriter. We may mention e.g. the creator of the embossed printing scripture, the Frenchman Louis Braille, who constructed a machine according to the same principles as the Danish writing ball. In our country the inventor of the type-setting machine, Christian Sørensen, had in 1849 by experiments developed a model, but of these constructions none had proved itself usable in practice. Consequently, we may safely nominate M-H as the Danish inventor of the typewriter.

 

Naturally, the typewriter had flaws. The first model weighed 75 kilos and cost the then formidable sum of 1200 kroner. By means of subsequent improvements, among them by replacing the cylinder with a platen moved mechanically by pressing the keys, he succeeded in reducing the price as well as the weight in such a way that in the end the machine weighed only 5 kilos and cost 150 kroner. M-H managed to have it produced under license in Switzerland and England, while around 200 machines were produced by “Professor Jünger’s Mekaniske Etablissement” in Copenhagen.

 

M-H’s dream and ambition was that the writing ball would become “the most sought after in the great world market”. This was not to be, for around the same time an American, Sholes, had constructed a similar machine, and when the “Remington” company took over the fabrication and started a mass production, obviously the Danish machine was not able to cope with the competition.

 

Also another one of M-H’s inventions gave him merely disappointment and loss. This was the so called “Xerography” or dry print, which by means of a wax paper could make until 100 copies of the original writing ball typed script. It was rather soon overtaken by “Hectography”, which many people will still remember, however the innovative vicar’s product still deserves to be remembered as probably the very first attempt in this country to construct a copying machine.

 

For a long period of time M-H’s writing ball continued to attract attention. As late as in 1925 arose a discussion whether it really was the vicar and teacher of the deaf-mute who was the inventor. M-H’s daughter, Johanne Agerskov (married to the author of “Toward the Light” Michael Agerskov) in a small publication entitled “Who is the Inventor of the Writing Ball?” with tooth and claw defended her father and convincingly documented that also in this area he was the one who had made a ground-breaking achievement.

 

ASGER ANDERSEN

 

 

 

[1] JMC: the author was, at the time of publication, a clergyman working for deaf audiences in the town of Fredericia. We can clearly sense, from the way he writes, that he is describing a colleague.

[2] JMC: These are very interesting angles to RMH’s personality and talents, as expressed by the author. We must assume that his sources are documentation from the Institute for the Deaf-Mute and/or from the Danish Deaf Association. It is of particular interest to learn about RMH’s outstanding abilities as a preacher in sign language; we also note that his divine services were open to deaf adults from the city. It is obvious that RMH’s role and achievements as a preacher ought to be the object of further research and should be better highlighted!

SA: A Google search reveals that Asger Andersen used to be a vicar for the deaf at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Fredericia, established after an initiative by RMH in 1880. For many years its principal was RMH’s son-in-law, Fritz August Bech, who wrote numerous articles about his father-in-law during that time. It is reasonable to assume that Asger Andersen has been inspired by principal Bech’s great interest in RMH and has been aiming at continuing his faithful work to keep alive the memory of Malling-Hansen, one of the really great pioneers with the field of education for the deaf-mute. I recognize elements from Bech’s many articles as well as from the book about the Institute of the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, published on the occasion of the centenary jubilee in 1907. There are some references to Asger Andersen on the website of the Kolding Association for the Deaf: www.Kolding-doveforening.dk/om-foreningen/foreningens-historie/

 

 

The teachers of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in 1861. Fourth from the left is Malling-Hansen; number five is the head of the school, Søren Heiberg, whom M-H succeeded as principal (the picture has graciously been made available by The Danish Historical Society of the Deaf)

Kronik i Kristeligt Dagblad, 26 september 1990

Den alsidige præst

Kronik af Asger Andersen[1]

 

Præsten Hans Malling-Hansen, der var forstander på Døvstummeinstituttet gennem 25 år i forrige århundrede, havde alsidige talenter. På hundredeårsdagen for hans død skriver døvepræst Asger Andersen om den store organisator, hvis foretagsomhed og kærlige sindelag overfor de døvstumme fortjener at mindes. Han er også kendt som skrivekuglens opfinder. Men måske allermest fremragende i sin udforskning af børns opvækstvilkår.

 

Lørdag aften den 27.september 1890 mellem kl. 10 og 11 faldt en 55-årig herre om på gaden i København, ramt af et hjerteslag. Det var forstanderen på Døvstummeinstituttet, pastor Malling-Hansen, der på vej fra Frimurerlogen til sit hjem således brat blev indhentet af døden.           

 

Når der er grund til at mindes denne hændelse for et hundrede år siden, skyldes det ikke så meget, at den afdøde var en fremragende og original døvepædagog, hvis organisatoriske talent også fik følger for nutiden, som den omstændighed, at han var den første herhjemme, der opfandt en brugbar ”hurtigskrivemaskine” og derved kom til at yde et originalt bidrag til den udvikling, der har ført frem til vor moderne EDB-tid.           

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen blev født 5.september 1835 som søn af en landsbylærer i Hunseby på Lolland. Tidligt blev han faderløs, men efter at den begavede dreng en kort tid havde stået i malerlære, forbarmede grev Knuth til Knuthenborg sig over ham og bekostede et ophold på Jonstrup Seminarium, hvorfra han dimitteredes i 1854. Fire år senere blev Malling-Hansen student og begyndte at læse teologi, men allerede året efter kom han ind i det, der skulle blive hans livsgerning, idet han fik ansættelse som lærer på Det kgl.Døvstummeinstitut. Et par år opgav han dog denne stilling for at koncentrere sig om studierne, men i 1862 fik han tilbudt en plads på dødstummeinstituttet i Slesvig der havde ønsket undervisningen i det danske sprog styrket. Allerede to år efter blev han skolens leder, men måtte efter krigen 1864 fortrække og vende tilbage til København. Efter sin embedseksamen i 1865 udnævntes han til forstander for Døvstummeinstituttet, hvor han efterfulgte sin svigerfar Søren Heiberg.          

 

Som skoleleder viste M-H sig at være den fødte organisator. Han fik således bragt orden i det noget spegede forhold til den private døveskole, der var blevet oprettet af Johan Keller, og som byggede på talemetoden i modsætning til det gamle institut, hvor undervisningsgrundlaget var tegnsprog og håndalfabet. Forholdet blev ordnet sådan, at de såkaldt ”uegentlig døvstumme” blev henvist til Kellers skole, mens de ”egentlig døvstumme” skulle gå på instituttet. Da Johan Keller i 1884 døde – i øvrigt som M-H pludseligt og i samme alder som han – overgik hele døvstummeundervisningen til staten, mens de af Keller grundlagte institutioner for åndssvage forblev i familiens eje.             Det var også M-H, der fremsatte forslag om oprettelse af et institut i Jylland, hvor oplæringen skulle bygge på den ”rene talemetode”, der dengang var i vælten og som bandlyste brugen af tegnsprog. 1881 stod skolen klar i Fredericia, men derved var M-H’s organisatoriske foretagsomhed ikke slut. Han blev forfatter til den kommissionsbetænkning af 1888, der førte til oprettelse af et statsligt institut for de ”uegentlig døvstumme”, der blev åbnet i Nyborg 1891, og som i dag er fortsættelsesskole for døve og svært tunghøre – men det nåede han altså ikke at opleve.           

 

Var M-H således en dygtig organisator, stod det ikke så godt til med hans administrative evner. Det kom frem dels på det finansielle område, hvor både han selv og skolen havde svært ved at få pengene til at række, dels på det personlige plan hvor han som det stemningsmenneske, han var, ofte viste sig lunefuld og uberegnelig og derfor let kom på kant med både foresatte og undergivne.           

 

I øvrigt skildres han som et på bunden kærligt menneske med et stort hjerte. Dette viste sig ikke mindst i forholdet til de voksne døvstumme. Som det var tradition holdt han hver søndag gudstjeneste på Instituttet, hvor ikke blot de ældste elever, men også hovedstadens voksne døve deltog. Her udfoldede præsten Malling-Hansen sine betydelige evner som en prædikant, det med et overordentlig elegant tegnsprog forstod at fange tilhørerne. Noget tyder på, at han en overgang forestillede sig at udvide den præstelige virksomhed til at også omfatte gudstjeneste og altergang for provinsens døvstumme, der dengang ikke havde nogen speciel gejstlig betjening[2].           

 

Sammen med Johan Keller startede han i 1872 ”Småblade for Døvstumme”, der dog måtte gå ind efter fire numre. Han var også med til at stifte ”Døvstummeforeningen af 1866”, der endnu eksisterer, og som regnes for en af de første døveforeninger i verden.           

 

Først og fremmest var M-H imidlertid videnskabsmand. Indførelsen af et nyt bespisningsreglement på skolen gav anledning til, at man hver dag målte og vejede eleverne. Ved at sammenligne variationerne i børnenes vægt og vækst med tykkelsen og højden på træerne i haven fandt den opfindsomme forstander ud af, at der faktisk var en sammenhæng: samtidig med at træerne blev højere og mere omfangsrige, tiltog også eleverne i højde og vægt. På en international lægekongres i København 1884 fremlagde M-H sine resultater, der vakte stor opsigt. Også hans skriftlige fremstilling: ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme” fremkaldte samtidens beundring.           

 

Af større interesse for eftertiden er imidlertid opfindelsen af ”skrivekuglen”. M-H havde bemærket, at mens man kun kan skrive fire bogstaver i sekundet, kan man med nogen øvelse på samme tid frembringe tolv ved hjælp af fingeralfabetet. Gennem studier i Rigsdagen fandt han ud af, at den gennemsnitlige talehastighed var ca. 10-12 lyde pr. sekund dvs. nogenlunde det samme som hastigheden i fingersproget. Hvis man nu kunne konstruere en maskine, hvor fingerbevægelserne omsattes til skrift, ville et sådant apparat faktisk kunne følge talen lyd for lyd.           

 

Allerede straks efter sin embedseksamen i 1865 begyndte han at eksperimentere. Svogeren, den senere provst J.A.Heiberg fortæller, hvor optaget M-H var af ideen om den skrivekugle, som det efterhånden også lykkedes at konstruere. Resultatet blev en maskine, der bestod af en halvkugle, igennem hvilken der var stukket stilke af stål med bogstavknapper i enderne. Under stålstilkene var der en cylinderplade, hvor papiret blev lagt på. Hver gang en tast blev trykket ned, skubbedes pladen ved hjælp af elektricitet et lille stykke frem.           

 

Nu er M-H ikke den første, der har søgt at fremstille en skrivemaskine. Nævnes kan bl.a. skaberen af de blindes punktskrift, franskmanden Louis Braille, der konstruerede et apparat efter samme princip som den danske skrivekugle. Herhjemme havde sættemaskinens opfinder, Chr.Sørensen i 1849 også eksperimenteret sig frem til en model, men ingen af disse konstruktioner havde vist sig brugbare i praksis. Derfor tør man nok betegne M-H som skrivemaskinens danske opfinder.            

 

Naturligvis havde skrivemaskinen sine mangler. Den første vejede 75 kg og kostede den for datiden formidable sum af 1200 kr. Gennem senere forbedringer bl.a. ved at cylinderen afløstes af en vogn, der bevægedes mekanisk ved tryk på tasterne, lykkedes det at reducere både pris og vægt, så maskinen til sidst kom ned på at veje 5 kg og koste 150 kr. M-H fik den produceret på licens i Schweiz og England, mens ca. 200 eksemplarer blev fremstillet  af ”Professor Jüngers Mekaniske Establissement i Kjøbenhavn”.           

 

M-H’s drøm var, at kuglen måtte blive ”den mest efterspurgte på det store verdensmarked”. Den kom ikke til at gå i opfyldelse, for omtrent samtidig havde en amerikaner, Sholes, konstrueret et lignende apparat, og da virksomheden ”Remington” overtog fabrikationen og satte en masseproduktion i gang, kunne den danske maskine selvsagt ikke klare konkurrencen.           

 

Også en anden af M-H’s opfindelser gav ham kun skuffelse og tab. Det var den såkaldte ”Xerografi” eller tørtrykket, der ved hjælp af et vokspapir kunne tage indtil 100 kopier af den originale kugleskrift. Den blev ret hurtigt overgået af ”Hektografien”, som mange endnu vil kunne huske, men den iderige præsts produkt fortjener dog at mindes som det sikkert første forsøg herhjemme på at fremstille en kopimaskine.            

 

Længe vedblev M-H’s skrivekugle at tiltrække sig opmærksomhed. Så sent som i 1925 opstod en diskussion om det nu også virkelig var præsten og døvepædagogen, der var opfinderen. M-H’s datter, Johanne Agerskov (gift med forfatteren til ”Vandrer mod Lyset” Michael Agerskov) forsvarede i et lille skrift med titlen ”Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?” med næb og klør sin far og dokumenterede overbevisende, at det også på dette område var ham, der havde gjort en banebrydende indsats.

 

ASGER ANDERSEN

 

[1] JMC: Jeg har ikke kunnet finde yderligere information om forfatteren, men han havde altså på dette tidspunkt stilling som døvepræst, og man mærker på hans fremstilling at han skriver om en kollega – RMH.

[2] JMC: Det er meget interessante synsvinkler på RMHs personlighed og evner, som forfatteren her giver udtryk for. Man må formode at hans kilder er dokumentation fra Døvstummeinstituttets eller Døveforeningen. Det er særlig interessant at høre om RMHs fremragende evner som prædikant på tegnsprog; man noterer også at hans gudstjenester var åbne for døve voksne fra hovedstaden. RMHs rolle og indsats som prædikant bør efterforskes og belyses bedre!

 

 

SA: Søk på google avslører at Asger Andersen i sin tid var døveprest ved Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia, som ble grunnlagt etter initiativ fra RMH i 1880. Forstander i mange år, var RMHs svigersønn, Fritz August Bech, som skrev utallige artikler om sin svigerfar gjennom årene. Det er rimeligå anta at Asger Andersen har blitt inspirert av forstander Bechs store intgeresse for RMH, og har villet fortsette hans trofaste arbeid for å holde liv i minnet om Malling-Hansen, en av de virkelig store pionerene innen døvstummeundervisningen. Jeg kjenner igjen momenter både fra Bechs mange artikler, og fra boken om Døvstummeinstituttet i København, som ble utgitt i anledning 100 års jubileet i 1907. Asger Andersen blir omtalt en del på websiden til Kolding Døveforening: kolding-doveforening.dk/om-foreningen/foreningens-historie/

Artikel i "Døves Jul" 1993 af Christian Barnholdt

Artikkelen ble publisert i "Døves Jul" i 1993

Sverre Avnskog, 06.05.12: Den nedenstående artikkelen er skrevet av en av pionerene innen Rasmus Malling-Hansen forskningen, cand. polit. og vitenskapelig journalist, Christian Barnholdt. Den ble publisert i magasinet ”Døves Jul” i 1993. På denne tiden hadde vitenen om RMHs enestående virke vansmektet i forglemselen i mange tiår, og det var Barnholdts store fortjeneste at han dro denne unike oppfinneren og hans oppfinnelser og naturvitenskapelige forskningsarbeider frem i lyset igjen. I løpet av de nesten 20 årene som har gått siden artikkelen ble skrevet, har det blitt drevet et inngående studium av alle sider ved RMHs liv og virke, og derfor har jeg funnet det riktig å tilføye en del fotnoter, dels for å korrigere noen misforståelser, dels for å føye til utfyllende opplysninger, for å komplettere bildet.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

-Præsten og døveskoleforstanderen der revolutionerede døveundervisningen og opfandt skrivemaskinen, tørkopieringen – og meget mere

 

Af Christian Barnholdt

 

Ude i gården på Døveskolen på Kastelsvej i København står en smuk sten med et portræt, i profil, af en venligt udseende ældre mand.

 

Det er Rasmus Malling-Hansen man ser, og stenen stod oprindeligt på hans grav på den nærliggende Garnisons Kirkegård, men blev flyttet til Døveskolen, da graven blev sløjfet for mange år siden.

 

Og dér i gården står den godt og rigtigt. For Rasmus Malling-Hansen var i 25 år den højtelskede og dybt respekterede forstander for denne skole, der dengang hed Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut. Som kun 30-årig blev han forstander i 1865, og det sluttede brat, da han faldt død om på gaden, om aftenen den 27. september 1890.

 

Flere tusind mennesker overværede begravelsen, ikke mindst en stor del af landets døve, som havde gået på skolen igennem disse mange år, og som havde oplevet en forstander, der brændte for sine elever og for døvesagen, og som engagerede sig dybt i både undervisningen og i gerningen som skolens og børnenes præst. Han var en beundret faderskikkelse for tusinder af mennesker, og efter begravelsen lavede de døve selv en stor landsindsamling, der betalte for det smukke gravmonument.[1]

 

Krans fra Kongen

 

Men det var ikke kun de døve, der samledes til begravelsen. Snesevis af Danmarks mest kendte videnskabsmænd og erhvervsfolk mødte også frem. Og kongen, Christian den IX, sendte en stor krans. Han havde interesseret sig stærkt for Malling-Hansens arbejde, og besøgt skolen flere gange.[2]

 

For Rasmus Malling-Hansen var ikke blot kendt som den mand, der havde stået i spidsen for en kraftig modernisering af døveforsorgen og døveundervisningen i Danmark. Han var kendt langt uden for døvekredse, og langt uden for landets grænser, som opfinderen af verdens første skrivemaskine, ”Skrivekuglen” i 1865, og for opfindelsen af tørkopieringen i 1872. Og han var kendt af læger og biologer over hele verden for sine epokegørende undersøgelser af børns vækstrytmer.

 

Nutiden har næsten helt glemt ham. Men datiden hædrede ham til samme højder som H.C.Ørsted og H.C.Andersen. Og det var fuldt fortjent.

 

Her følger historien om denne mand, der besad en ufattelig energi og fantasi og skaberevne. Og som, af mystiske og uforklarlige grunde, blev så glemt af eftertiden, at der ikke engang er en gade i København, der bærer hans navn.

 

Født i usle kår

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansens baggrund for at blive døveforstander og opfinder var helt usædvanlig.

 

Hans Rasmus Johan Hansen, som han var døbt, blev født i usle kår i Hunseby på Lolland, ikke langt fra Knuthenborg Gods. Han mistede sin fader som 3-årig og flyttede sammen med moderen og to mindre brødre ind hos en lærer Malling[3]. De fattige kår tvang ham ud af skolen som 15-årig, og han kom i lære som maler.

 

Men greven af Knuthenborg hørte om hans store evner, og finansierede hans uddannelse til skolelærer i 1854, og til student i 1858.

 

Døvstummesagen

 

I 1859 blev han lærer ved det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i København. Hvad der bragte ham ind i denne særlige verden ved vi ikke. Men det viste sig at være en gerning, som han havde formidable evner for.[4]

 

Alligevel forlod han stillingen i 1861 for at studere teologi. Men kun for en kort tid. I 1862 blev han lærer ved døvstummeinstituttet i Slesvig, og allerede i 1864 blev han forstander dér. Nogle få måneder senere, efter Danmarks nederlag i krigen, blev Slesvig tysk, og han vendte tilbage til København.

 

I det følgende år, 1865, præsterede han det mest utrolige:

 

            Han blev cand.theol., altså præst.

 

            Han blev forstander for Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i København.

 

            Han blev gift med den afgående forstander Heibergs datter.

 

            Og han færdiggjorde sin første udgave af Skrivekuglen.[5]

 

Ingen dagbog

 

Hvor han fik sin umådelige energi og skaberlyst fra, det ved vi desværre ikke. Han havde alt for travlt til at skrive dagbog. Og han arbejdede altid alene med sine opfindelser. Hans liv og færden er kun beskrevet i andenhåndsberetninger fra den beundrende samtid.

 

Han var en højtelsket forstander i 25 og var nærmest forgudet af de tusinder af døve børn han underviste. Han stod i spidsen for en række reformer af døveundervisningen, der gjorde Danmark til en af verdens førende lande på området.

 

Han fik ikke færre end syv døtre med sin hustru, indtil hun, kun 35 år gammel, døde i barselssengen i 1876. Endnu 2 ufødte piger døde samtidigt.

 

Håndalfabetet

 

At han overhovedet fik tid, råd og kræfter til sine opfindelser midt i sin travle gerning er forbløffende. Men der er altid en direkte en direkte forbindelse mellem opfindelserne og lærergerningen. Han havde nemlig lært det håndalfabet, som de døve brugte. Og han opdagede at man kunne ”tale” med fingrene 3 gange hurtigere end man kunne skrive! Det var det, der gav ham inspirationen til Skrivekuglen. For når man brugte den, arbejdede fingrene som i fingeralfabetet, hvor de mest hyppige bogstaver frembringes med de mest enkle bevægelser.

 

Dét var hemmeligheden med Skrivekuglen. Men Skrivekuglen var ikke beregnet specielt til døve. Den var tænkt at skulle anvendes på kontorer, til at skrive breve og så videre.[6]

 

Den første model var færdig i 1865.[7] Skrivehastigheden var omkring 500 tegn i minuttet – dobbelt så hurtigt som nutidens tastaturer!

 

Men han var ikke tilfreds endnu. I 1867 præsenterede han en ny model, hvor papiret blev drevet frem af batterier.[8] Skrivehastigheden var 6-700 tegn i minuttet.

 

Men batterierne gav problemer. Batterierne og elektriciteten blev opgivet. [9] Flere nye modeller blev bestilt hos landets bedste instrumentmagere.[10]

 

Kongeligt patent

 

I 1870 var han tilfreds. Han søgte og fik kongeligt patent på Skrivekuglen. Rettighederne gjaldt i 15 år, hvad der var helt enestående. Patentet blev endda ledsaget af en kongelig bevilling til at videreudvikle den. Dens genialitet var nemlig indlysende for de videnskabsmænd, der bedømte den. Ved den store industriudstilling i København i 1872 fik den guldmedalje. Det samme skete ved den verdensudstillingerne i Wien i 1873 og i Paris i 1878. Skrivekuglen og dens opfinder blev verdensberømte.

 

Allerede i 1872 præsenterede han endnu en opdagelse – xerografien. Opdagelsen var en direkte konsekvens af Skrivekuglen. Han ønskede at tage kopier af de breve han skrev. På telegrafstationerne brugte man sværtepapir, når man ønskede kopier af telegrammerne. Malling-Hansen afprøvede sværtepapir i forskellige farver, og gjorde den besynderlige opdagelse, at blåt sværtepapir giver mange flere kopier end sort.

 

Den blå farve

 

At den blå farve har særlige egenskaber bliver stadig udnyttet i moderne trykkeriteknik. Men det var Malling-Hansen det opdagede det. Han fandt dernæst på at lægge 5 lag med skiftevis sværtepapir og almindeligt papir ind under Skrivekuglen. Og han lagde sværtepapiret omvendt, med farvesiden opad.

 

Når brevet var skrevet (teknikken kunne også anvendes ved håndskrift, tegninger o.s.v.), havde han 5 spejlvendte kopier. Når der blev lagt hvidt papir mellem disse, og bundtet blev kørt gennem 2 valser, fik man 5 perfekte kopier af brevet.

 

Aftrykningen kunne gentages 20 gange, og han kunne lave 100 aftryk på 6-7 minutter.

 

Med sit kendskab til oldgræsk var det naturligt at han gav opdagelsen betegnelsen ”Xero” (= tør) og ”Grafi” (= tryk).

 

Xerografien vakte næsten ligeså stor opsigt, som Skrivekuglen havde gjort 2 år før. Og den blev spået en meget stor fremtid. Den var hurtigere, nemmere og renere end de kendte våd-kopieringsmetoder. [11]

 

66 år forud

 

Men mere skete der ikke. Xerografien blev aldrig udbredt, selvom der ikke frembringes nogen bedre metode før 1938, 66 år efter, hvor svensk-amerikaneren Chester Carlson præsenterer sin kopimaskine, som nogle år senere fik navnet Xerograf!

 

Efter opdagelsen af xerografien vendte Malling-Hansen tilbage til Skrivekuglen og fortsatte med at videreudvikle den. Han solgte sit patent i flere lande. Der blev i alt produceret et sted mellem 200 og 500 skrivekugler.[12] Han lavede specielle modeller til at skrive telegrammer, og en særlig udgave ”Hurtigskriveren”, eller ”tachygrafen” med en hastighed på 1200 anslag i minuttet. Ingen af denne type har overlevet til i dag.

 

Men hverken Skrivekuglen eller Hurtigskriveren blev den store succes, som de var berettiget til. I 1873 opfandt amerikaneren Sholes sin Remington-skrivemaskine. [13] Den var mere besværlig at bruge og langsommere at skrive på.

 

Alligevel udkonkurrerede den Skrivekuglen, fordi amerikanerne var bedre til markedsføring og havde den kapitel i ryggen, som Malling-Hansen aldrig synes at have søgt.[14]

 

Historien om både Skrivekuglen og xerografien endte sørgeligt.

 

Nye interesser

 

Men i stedet for at blive en bitter og skuffet mand kastede Malling-Hansen sig over et helt nyt og endnu mere forbløffende emne: Sammenhænget mellem børns vækst og solens varme.

 

Han havde nemlig opdaget, ved daglig at veje og måle sine 130 elever, at børnene voksede i ryk og ikke, som man ellers antog, efter en ret linie. Det gjaldt både deres vægt og højde.

 

Denne opdagelse, som han gjorde i 1877, da han ville kortlægge kostens og vejrets virkning på skolens elever, optog ham resten af livet. Han skaffede talrækker fra hele verden om temperaturer, fugtighed, træers og menneskers vækst, og meget mere. Og alle tallene bekræftede hans konklusioner: Alt liv på jorden vokser i regelmæssige bølger eller kurver.

 

Også disse opdagelser vakte opsigt overalt i verden, da han offentliggjorde dem ved en international lægekongres i 1884 og senere, i 1886, i bogen: ”Perioder i børns vækst og solens varme”. [15]

 

Endnu engang blev han anerkendt i de højeste videnskabelige kredse, og han modtog støtte fra Carlsberg-fondet.

 

I 1889 begyndte han at oprette målestationer flere steder i verden, der skulle kortlægge den skjulte kraft, kaldet X, der fik alt liv på jorden til at vokse i faste rytmer.

 

Malling-Hansen mente selv at kraften kom fra Solens indre.

 

Da han faldt om på gaden og døde den 27 september 1890 få hundrede meter fra sin elskede skole, var det ikke kun hans hjerte der stoppede. Det samme gjorde 30 års arbejde med skrivekuglen, med xerografien, og med kortlægningen af vækstbetingelserne på jorden.

 

Intet af det blev videreført. Og nu, 100 år efter, er alting næsten glemt.

 

Hvis nogen læsere har oplysninger eller dokumenter om Rasmus Malling-Hansen, eller om hans døtre og brødre, så vil forfatteren af denne artikel sætte meget stor pris på at høre om det. Skriv venligst til redaktionen, att: Christian Barnholdt.

 

 

Christian Barnholdt er cand.polit. og videnskabsjournalist. Han har skrevet mange artikler om Malling-Hansens opfindelser.

 

Fotnoter:

 

[1] SA: Innsamlingen ble ledet av RMHs gode venn og forretningspartner gjennom mange år, Erik Ritzau, grunnleggeren av telegrambyrået, Ritzaus byreau.

 

[2] SA: Jeg har ofte undret meg over hvor opplysningen om kransen fra kongen stammer. Det står intet om den i noen av de mange nekrologene som ble trykket etter dødsfallet. Dessverre kan ikke Christian Barnholdt erindre hvor han har opplysningen fra. Men vi vet fra flere kilder at kongen var en stor beundrer av RMH. I nekrologene nevnes forøvrig at alle av betydning innen døvstumme-undervisningen var til stede i begravelsen, i tillegg til en del geistlige. Malling-Hansens første kone tilhørte den store og begavede norsk/danske Heiberg-slekten, og de var tallrikt representert.

 

[3] SA: Den omtalte lærer Malling, var nordmannen Rasmus Malling, som ble født i Porsgrunn i 1787. Han tok lærerutdanning i Danmark, og var lærer i Hunseby. RMHs mor var fosterdatter hos familien Malling, og da hennes mann døde, ble altså Rasmus Malling også hennes tre sønners fosterfar. RMH ble delvis oppkalt etter fosterfaren, men fikk sin fars etternavn. Han het Johan Frederik Hansen, og var også lærer. Han døde av tyfus i 1839.

 

[4] SA: I enkelte av de artiklene som er skrevet om Malling-Hansen(RMH) gjennom årene, nevnes det at det var en venn av ham som tipset ham om den ledige lærerstillingen ved Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstituttet i København, og anbefalte ham å søke. Det antydes at RMH neppe kunne være tilfreds med å leve av Lehnsgrevens økonomiske understøttelse i det lange løp, og ønsket å skaffe seg et innkomme gjennom eget arbeid. Han hadde ikke avsluttet sitt teologi-studium da han begynte å arbeide som døvstummelærer.

 

[5] SA: Det er helt korrekt at RMH arbeidet med sin oppfinnelse i 1865, og hadde uttenkt og utprøvd prinsippene for selve skrivekugle-hodet. Hans svoger, Johan Alfred Heiberg, som bodde sammen med ekteparet Malling-Hansen en periode i 1865, skrev i sin dagbok at han hjalp RMH med å utprøve forskjellige plasseringer av bokstavene på en porselenshalvkule, for å finne den hurtigste skrivehastigheten. Men alt tyder på at den første skrivekuglen neppe sto fredig før tidligst i 1867/68. Det skriver også hans datter, Johanne Agerskov, som gjorde et stort arbeide for å kartlegge alle hendelser knyttet til utviklingen av skrivekuglen sammen med søsteren Engelke Wiberg.

 

[6] SA: Både i patentene og i annonser  nevnte RMHselv en rekke bruksområder for skrivekuglen. Skrivekuglen ble ganske riktig annonsert  som en hurtigskrivemaskin, men ble også anbefalt  for både blinde, folk som led av rystelser på hånden,  på reiser osv. Vi bør vel også tillegge at den oppgitte skrivehastigheten ikke noensinne er blitt etterprøvd, men bygger på RMHs egne opplysninger

 

[7] SA: Den første modellen sto som sagt neppe ferdig før 1867. Det nevnes flere steder at den veide 65 kg. Det tyder på at den første utgaven som ble bygget var den modellen som er med(sammen med flere) på de første patenttegningene fra 1870, en stor modell som var bygget  inn i et bord, der sylinderen til å feste papiret til ble drevet rundt ved hjelp av en pedal.

 

[8] SA: Elektrisitet som drivkraft for papirsylinderens bevegelse, ble første gang nevnt  i et tillegg til den første patentsøknaden i Danmark i 1870. Og den første offisielle modellen, som ble presentert for offentligheten høsten 1870, var utstyrt med utvendige batterier. Men frem mot denne modellen, hadde RMH åpenbart eksperimentert  med flere ulike løsninger, bla a en opptrekkbar fjær. Dette fremgår bla. a. av privat korrespondanse med en patentagent i USA fra 1870, og av patentsøknadene.

 

[9] SA: Det skulle vise seg at den elektriske løsningen ikke var særlig tilfredsstillende, fordi batteriene var upålitelige og krevde mye vedlikehold. Men batterien var ikke så store og tunge som mange har antatt. De vanligste våtcellebatteriene som ble brukt på denne tiden har utseende omtrent som vanlige syltetøyglass. De ble også brukt i telefoner. RMH fant ikke noen bedre løsning for papirfremflytningen før i 1875, da han lanserte den første høye modellen, men i første omgang uten fargebånd.

 

[10] SA: RMH skaffet seg meget dyktige medarbeidere  til utviklingen av sine oppfinnelser i professor  E. Jungers ved Jüngers Mechaniske Etablissement i København, og i særdeleshet  i professor  Christopher Peter Jürgensen, som først arbeidet i Jungers virksomhet, og senere overtok denne. Jürgensen var medeier i flere av patentene, og hans betydning for utviklingen og byggingen av skrivekyglen og den noe senere utviklede takyrafen kan vanskelig overvurderes.

 

[11] SA: Det kan nevnes at Xerografien var med på verdensutstillingen i Wien i 1873, sammen med skrivekuglen og, sannsynligvis, takygrafen. RMH hadde betydelig suksess i Østerrike, og ble tildelt utmerkelsen ”Pro literus et artibus” av keiseren.

 

[12] SA: Sannsynligvis ligger tallet på produserte skrivekugler langt nærmere 200 enn 500.

 

[13] SA: Den amerikanske Remington-maskinen bygget på en oppfinnelse av Sholes, Glidden og Soule, som ble patentert allerede i 1868. Men den var svært mangelfull i sin opprinnelige utgave, og det ble først fart i sakene da patentet ble oppkjøpt av investoren James Densmore. Han investerte titalls tusen dollar for å videreutvikle modellen og inngikk et samarbeid med symaskin- og våpenprodusenten Remington, noe som resulterte i at maskinen ble satt i produksjon i 1873, altså tre år etter at RMH startet opp produksjon av sin skrivekugle.

 

RMH gjorde mange fremstøt for å vekke interesse for skrivekuglen i USA, og James Densmore skal på et tidspunkt ha tilbudt RMH at de kunne ”bytte” patentrettigheter. Men det gikk ikke RMH med på – han ville selge sine patentrettigheter for 25000 dollar. Muligens hadde han for store forventninger til sin skrivekugle. Densmores maskin dro utvilsomt enorme fordeler av å kunne utstilles og selges i alle Remingtons utsalgssteder i USA og Europa, mens skrivekuglen måtte bestilles fra København, og ikke kunne ses andre steder utenom på de store utstillingene som kun ble arrangert med flere års mellomrom.

 

[14]  SA: Fra RMHs brev kjenner vi til at RMH gjorde flere fremstøt for å få etablert  et økonomisk grunnlag for produksjon av skrivekuglen i større skala, både i Danmark og utenlands. Dessverre lyktes ingen av forsøkene. Remington og de andre amerikanske maskinene som etterhvert ble utviklet, og som bygget på de samme prinsippene som Remington-maskinen, tok etter hvert helt over markedet, til tross for at RMH så sent som i 1876 og 1878 gjorde det særdeles godt ved verdensutstillingene både i Philadelphia og Paris.

 

I 1879 kom en annen meget dyktig mekaniker inn i bildet, August Lyngbye. Han utviklet skrivekuglen ytterligere og hans modell var lavere, var utstyrt med papirvalse og skrev på større papirformater enn den tidligere modellen. Lyngbye produserte skrivekugler i sitt mekaniske verksted på samme adresse som Ritzaus Bureau utover 1880-tallet. I følge annonser laget han skrivekugler både med store og små, eller bare store bokstaver, til en pris av henholdsvis 230 og 200 kr.

 

Det var definitivt ikke prisen som gjorde at skrivekuglen ble utkonkurrert av amerikanerne. Jeg har foretatt en prissammenligning bygget på den daværende kursen for tyske mark og amerikanske dollar, og den viser at skrivekuglen var billigere enn Remington-maskinen i 1878! Lyngbyes maskin ble belønnet med førstepris-medaljen ved industri-, jordbruks- og kunstutstillingen i København i 1888. Men det virker som om RMH selv nærmest hadde oppgitt å gjøre noe mer for sin oppfinnelse på 1880-tallet. Da var hans fokus flyttet over mot den naturvitenskapelige forskningen, som opptok ham helt og holdent.

 

[15] SA: RMH utga i alt tre skrifter om sitt forskningsarbeide – han kalte dem for fragmenter. Fragment I ble utgitt i 1883, Fragment II i 1884 og Fragment III i 1886. Alle tre arbeider ble oversatt til tysk, og Fragment III ble utsendt til en stor mengde vitenskapsmenn både i utlandet og i Danmark. Responsen var meget god, særlig i Tyskland, mens i Danmark ble arbeidene stort sett forbigått i taushet. Historien om hvordan RMH fikk tale ved den store, internasjonale legekongressen i København i 1884, er forøvrig et meget godt eksempel på RMHs enestående evne til å knytte kontakter og til å skaffe seg selv publisitet! Han klarte til og med å få publisert en særdeles positiv omtale av sitt eget foredrag som redaksjonelt  stoff i en av de store dagsavisene, skrevet av ham selv!

 

 

Skrivekuglen 125 år

Artikkelforfatteren: Carsten Erik Noe har drevet forskning vedrørende Rasmus Malling-Hansen siden 1990-tallet

Artikelforfatteren, Carsten Erik Noe, var, ved siden af Christian Barnholdt, en af de første pionerer indenfor dansk Malling-Hansen forskning i nyere tid, og han opbyggede i 1990erne et stort privat arkiv med billeder og dokumenter. Malling-Hansen Selskabet skylder Noe stor tak for hans generøse donation af hele hans store arkiv til fri benyttelse. Det indeholder mange skrivekugle-breve og andre meget sjældne dokumenter, blandt andet den håndskrevne første danske ansøgning om eneretsbevilling (patent) på skrivekuglen. Carsten Erik Noe var også en af de tidlige medlemmer som startede Selskabet i maj 2006. Han skrev denne artikel i foråret 1995 på bestilling af Lolland-Falsters Stiftsmuseum

 

(Sverre Avnskog og Jørgen Malling Christensen)

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen, forstander og præst ved Det Kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i Kjøbenhavn, ”Nutiden” nr 526, Søndag den 17 oktober 1886

Skrivekuglen 125 år

Af Carsten Erik Noe

 

En tidlig efterårsdag den 5. september 1835 fødtes Hans Rasmus Johan Hansen i Hunseby ved Maribo. Søn af skolelærer Johan Frederik Hansen og Juliane Marie Cathrine, født Matzen. Rasmus’ far døde pludselig af tyfus i 1839 og efterlod sig hustru og tre små drenge, af hvilken Rasmus var den ældste, knap 4 år gammel. Enken havde problemer med at forsørge de tre små børn og flyttede derfor ind til sin gamle plejefar, skolelærer Rasmus Malling, fra hvem han fik sit nye efternavn[1].

 

Lille Rasmus var meget lærenem, han var interesseret i matematik og havde gode evner for tegning. Forberedelserne til hans konfirmation gjorde stærkt indtryk på ham, og en dag betroede han præsten, som hed Gude, at hans største ønske var at blive præst. Efter sin konfirmation blev han imidlertid sat i malerlære for på den måde at kunne gøre brug af sit tegnetalent. En dag kom der en tilsigelse fra lensgreve F.M. Knuth om at møde på Knuthenborg, resultatet af dette blev at greven påtog sig at holde den unge Malling-Hansen på Jonstrup Seminarium, hvor han efter et treårigt ophold tog sin lærereksamen med udmærkelse. Han tog derefter hjem og blev hjælpelærer i Maglemer nær Hunseby, og efter et års tid gik hans store drøm i opfyldelse, hans trofaste støtte greven sendte ham til hovedstaden for at studere til præst[2].

 

Sådan starter historien, men Rasmus Malling-Hansen var ikke kun præst. Han var også et menneske som interesserede sig for døvstumme, og det var i den forbindelse at han som forstander, lærer og præst ved den danske døveskole opfandt skrivekuglen. I marts 1870 søgte Rasmus Malling-Hansen om patent på sin skrivekugle. Interessant nok skulle patentansøgningen for skrivekuglen (30 sider) indleveres håndskrevet.

 

Det var i sin egenskab af døvstummelærer at Rasmus Malling-Hansen fandt ud af, at man som regel kun kan skrive 4 lydtegn i sekundet og i daglig tale i gennemsnit udtale 12 lydtegn i sekundet. Hvorimod en tegntaler (en døv/døvstum der bruger hænderne til at tale med) kan angive omkring 12 lydtegn i sekundet med en hurtighed, som nærmest er normal tale. Det var denne teori som førte til at Rasmus Malling-Hansen opfandt skrivekuglen. Han overførte simpelthen håndalfabetet til en kugle.

 

 


[1] SA: Malling-Hansen ble døpt Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen, men valgte som voksen bare å bruke navnet Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Bindestreken tok han i bruk ca 1883, men også av og til tidligare.

[2] SA: Malling-Hansen ble i Hunseby frem til 1858. Han arbeidet bl a også som privatlærer for barna i prestegården og Knuthenborg gods. Dessuten drev han egenstudier og tok eksamen artium.

Den første offisielle skrivekugle-modellen fra 1870
Skrivekugle, serie nr 117, tilhører Carsten Bodenhoff, Albertslund (foto Carsten Erik Noe)

Den første model

 

Den første model var færdig i 1865, men denne var kun en forløber for en senere der kom i 1867[1]. Den var ikke alene mekanisk men også elektrisk. Noget der på den tid var svært at forstå. Den var dog konstrueret på en måde der gjorde den vanskelig at bruge. Da papiret sad under maskinen på en valse, var det simpelthen ikke muligt at se hvad man skrev. Et andet problem var batterierne, der på den tid var vanskelige at fremskaffe, og maskinen kom til at veje 75 kilo[2].

 

Det var altså på denne maskine han i 1870 fik patent, men han nåede dog ikke at sætte den i produktion, før han havde set dens fejl. Derfor udviklede han den rent mekaniske model, som blev udført på en enklere og lettere måde og kun vejede 5 kilo[3]. Rasmus Malling-Hansen fik, bemærkelsesværdigt for den tid, 15 års eneretsbevilling (den tids patent). Til forsøg og forbedring af den fik han bl.a. støtte af Indenrigsministeriet, Reiersenske Fond, Classenske Fideicommis og Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse[4].

 

På den nordiske udstilling i 1872 var skrivekuglen en helt anden. Den nye skrivekugle var taget ud af sin kasse og papiret var i stedet for på en valse, sat i en ramme, der sad mere synligt. Skrivekuglen var, modsat så mange andre nutidige skrivemaskiner, ikke udført i jern men i stedet i messing. I forbindelse med udstillingen gav Rasmus Malling-Hansen professor Jüngers Mechaniske Etablissement, det firma der i forvejen fabrikerede skrivekuglen, lov til at fremstille en specialmodel af skrivekuglen, og de fik 13 års eneret på den ændrede model, takygrafen (hurtigskriveren). Takygrafen var en ny model, ombygget så at den kunne skrive 20 bogstaver i sekundet eller 1 200 i minuttet. Det var en fart som en nutidig maskine næppe vil have mulighed for at kunne klare med vore dages tastatur[5].

 

Der blev i årene fremover udviklet andre modeller der både var lettere og billigere. Den første kostede 1 200 kroner, men prisen faldt efterhånden til 150 kroner. Der blev også lavet nogle specielle blindskriftsmodeller, en med Braille (punktskriftstastatur) og en anden med måneskrift (sjælden punktskrift).

 

Tastaturet

 

Selve tastaturet på skrivekuglen er halvkugleformet, opdelt i en højre og venstre halvdel. Den ene er til vokaler, den anden til konsonanter. Samtidig er de mest brugte bogstaver anbragt så at de passer til de hurtigste fingre. Rasmus Malling-Hansen lod først fremstille en model, så han kunne prøve om hans håndstilling passede, denne fik han fremstillet hos Aluminia Fajance[6]. Øvekuglen er nævnt i en dagbog af Rasmus Malling-Hansens svoger[7].

 

125 år efter

 

I dag, 125 år efter det første patent på skrivekuglen, er der nok ikke så mange der tænker over, at skrivemaskinen delvis stammer fra en næsten ukendt dansker. For det blev ikke Malling-Hansen-tastaturet man brugte.

 

I Amerika, i 1873, opfandt C.Latham Sholes en skrivemaskine[8]. Det var både en dårligere og langsommere konstruktion end skrivekuglen. Sholes’ skrivemaskine var med et tastatur, der svarer til det vi kender i dag.

 

Han søgte hjælp hos et firma der normalt producerede rifler[9], nemlig Remington. De så ideerne i hans opfindelse, men de var dog lidt forsigtige i starten. Men da skrivemaskinen så ud til at blive en succes, satte de deres navn Remington på og producerede den i tusindtal[10]. Skrivemaskinen har for længst udkonkurreret skrivekuglen, bl.a. fordi for hver 100 kr Malling-Hansen brugte på sin skrivekugle, brugte amerikanerne 1000 dollar[11].

 

 

Hvis Rasmus Malling-Hansen havde været mere interesseret i sin skrivekugle kunne han med sin bedre konstruktion sikkert have vundet det slag, men Rasmus Malling-Hansen fik nye interesser. Han havde under arbejdet med skrivekuglen fundet ud af, at man ved at lægge et stykke papir med karbon under, med sværtesiden mod papiret, får en spejlvendt kopi af teksten på bagsiden af det papir man havde skrevet på, og tog man den spejlvendte kopi og kørte gennem en presse fik man en kopi af det skrevne. Malling-Hansen prøvede med flere farver, og bedst var den blå som man kunne køre igennem pressen 6 gange.

 

Allerede i 1872 offentliggjorde han sin nye opfindelse, som han kaldte xero-grafi (tør-tryk). Uden selv at vide det havde han opfundet det man i dag kalder kopimaskinen. Det var 69 år før Chester Carlson[12] præsenterede sin kopimaskine, som han siden solgte til Rank Xerox. Hans model var dog af en mere avanceret type.

 

 


[1] SA: Det knytter seg en hel del usikkerhet til når den første komplette skrivekuglen sto ferdig. Vi vet sikkert at RMH hadde tastaturet ferdig i form av en porselenshalvkule med påtegnede bokstaver. Men den første hele maskinen antas å ha blitt bygget og ferdigstillt muligens i 1867 (eller 68-69).

[2] SA: Mange har antatt at det var batteriene som gjorde den første modellen så tung (75 kg), men nøyere undersøkelser av den tids batterier har vist at de hadde utseende og størrelse omtrent som vanlige syltetøyglass. De kaltes våtbatterier, og ble også anvendt i telefoner. Det må nok heller ha vært fordi den første modellen sannsynligvis var den bordmodellen som ses på den første danske patenttegningen, at den veide såpass mye. Det er forøvrig verdt å merke seg at det man skrev heller ikke var synlig på Remington-maskinen, som var en såkalt ”up-striker”. Man måtte løfte opp papirvalsen for å se skriften på undersiden av denne.

[3] SA: Det sies at flere mekanikere arbeidet med å finne en mekanisk løsning på papirflytningen for å finne en erstatning for batteriene, som var temmelig upålitelige og krevde mye vedlikehold. Da ingen kom på en fullgod løsning, løste RMH problemet selv, og den første skrivekuglen uten batterier kom i 1875, den første høye modellen, men i første omgang uten fargebånd.

[4] CEN: Se E. Elvius: Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884 s.298-299

[5] SA: Takygrafen ble patentert av RMH sammen med kanskje hans aller viktigste samarbeidspartner gjennom mange år, professor Jürgensen. Jürgensens presisjonsarbeide var en vigtig medvirkende årsak til skrivekuglenes design og meget solide utformning.

[6] CEN: Se Bredo L.Grandjean: Aluminia Fajance gennem hundrede år. I kommission hos Berlingske Forlag, København 1963, fig 19. SA: Vi vet ikke noe sikkert om hvorvidt den første porselenshalvkulen fra 1865 virkelig ble fremstilt hos Aluminia Fajance. Den porselenshalvkulen de har i sitt eie der er nemlig produsert i 1871. Dette er altså ikke den halvkulen RMH anvendte til sine eksperimenter i 1865 men dreier seg om en øvekugle, som ble utlånt til potensielle kunder.

[7] CEN/JMC: Øvehalvkuglen er nævnt i en dagbog af Rasmus Malling-Hansens svoger, I.A. Heiberg (bror til RMHs første hustru Cathrine Heiberg), se Johanne Agerskov: Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?, København 1925, s 60-61.

[8] JMC: Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890) konstruerede en skrivemaskine sammen med Carlos Glidden og Samuel W. Soule, som patenteredes i USA den 23 Juni 1868. James Densmore gik ind som investor, og maskinen blev massefremstillet af Remington.

[9] SA: og symaskiner! Dette ser man tydelig spor av på den første Remingtonmodellen. Den har tydelig preg av en symaskin både i design og dekor.

[10] SA: Folk som har ettergått Remingtons salgstall de første årene mener selskapet opererte med bevisst oppblåste salgstal for å stimulere salget. En ganske nøktern kalkyle at ca 1600 modeller av den første modellen ble solg. RMH var alltså ikke fuldstendig fullstendig utkonkurrert sånn uten videre. Men på lengre sikt tapte skrivekuglen stort. Kanske fordi RMH synes å ha mistet interessen for å videreutvikle og promotere den etter ca 1880.

[11] SA: Investoren James Densmore brukte flere tusen dollar på videreutviklingen av Sholes, Glidden og Soules maskin fra 1868. Det sies at han fikk en gevinst på bortimot 1 million dollar da han senere solgte seg ut.

[12] JMC: Chester Carlson (1906-1968), amerikansk opfinder af svensk afstamning.

Avisannonce fra o.1880
Rasmus Malling-Hansens gravsten. Stod oprindelig på Garnisons Kirkegård i København, men står nu ved Døveskolen, Kastelsvej i København. (Foto: Carsten Erik Noe).

Forstander for Døveskolen

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen var også forstander ved Døveskolen. I 1883 fik han tildelt 6000 kr af staten og 4000 kr af Carlsbergfonden til at foretage undersøgelser i periodiciteten i børns vækst. Han gjorde derved den opdagelse, at der var en sammenhæng mellem børns vækst og solens varme. Han havde nemlig opdaget, ved dagligt at veje og måle sine 130 elever, at børn voksede i ryk og ikke, som man ellers antog, efter en ret linje. Disse opdagelser vakte opsigt overalt i verden, da han i 1884 offentliggjorde dem på en international lægekongres og senere i en afhandling, ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme”.

 

Det førte til at han i 1889 oprettede målestationer flere steder i verden, der skulle kortlægge den skjulte kraft, kaldet X, der fik alt liv på jorden til at vokse i en fast rytme.

 

Ordenstegn

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansens skrivemaskine (skrivekugle) var måske ikke den første skrivemaskine, idet flere havde prøvet før ham, første gang i 1717 og senere i 1834 og også i 1865. Men det var den første skrivemaskine der blev patenteret og sat i masseproduktion. Han modtog i sin levetid en del ordner, deriblandt Ridderkorset og Wasaordenen, ”Fortjenstmedaille i Guld den 31 maj 1872 og den østrigske guldmedalje ”literis et artibus”. For skrivekuglen modtog han Første Medalje på den skandinaviske udstilling i København 1872, Vorschritts Medalje på verdensudstillingen i Wien 1873 og Guldmedalje på Paris-udstillingen 1878”[1].

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen var gift to gange, først med den tidligere forstander af døveskolen Søren Heiberg’s datter, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg. Rasmus Malling-Hansen og Cathrine Georgia Heiberg fik 9, alle piger, hvoraf de to sidste var dødfødte, og Cathrine døde under den sidste fødsel[2].

 

Han var anden gang gift med Anna Cathrine Maria Steenstrup. I dette ægteskab fik han ingen børn.

 

Hvor blev skrivekuglerne af?

 

Man ved at skrivekuglen blev eksporteret til flere lande. Efter Parisudstillingen i 1878 ”…er der til Pastor M-H indløbet 40 Bestillinger på Skrivekuglen, hvoraf 9 til Danmark, 7 til Frankrig, 2 til Sverige, 2 til Norge, 3 til England, 2 til Amerika, 1 til Italien, 2 til Böhmen, 1 til Ungarn, 1 til Ægypten, 10 til Peru. Maskinen forfærdiges i Prof. Jürgensens Etabl. For en pris af 300 Kr.”[3]

 

Hvor kan man se skrivekugler?

 

Den ene type af blindskriftmodellerne står i dag på Statens Blindeinstitut[4]. Den er ret speciel, for den har aldrig været i brug. De andre almindelige modeller står vidt forskellige steder, bl.a. Teknisk Museum i Helsingør, Kommunikationsmuseet i Aalborg, Firmaet Bodenhoff (ejes af Carsten Bodenhoff) i Albertslund, Stenstrup Museum (en model der har tilhørt museets stifter Lauritz Jensen), Svendborg Museum (har tilhørt Chr. Møller, stifteren af Luthersk Missionsforening på Bornholm), og en prototype i Aluminia Fajance hos Royal Copenhagen[5].

 

En god mand

 

Den 27 september 1890 kom Rasmus Malling-Hansen gående ad Borgergade tæt ved Døveskolen. Et par hundrede meter derfra faldt han pludselig om[6]. Vidner fortæller at han pludselig tog sig til hjertet, faldt om og blev liggende. En læge der var i nærheden kom til og kunne konstatere at Rasmus Malling-Hansen var død. Han blev 55 år.

 

En stor videnskabsmand var død og med ham var 30 års forskning slut. Flere tusind mennesker overværede begravelsen, deriblandt snesevis af Danmarks mest kendte videnskabsmænd og erhvervsfolk. Kong Christian IX sendte en stor krans[7]. Han var meget interesseret i Malling-Hansen, som han havde besøgt flere gange for at beundre hans arbejde.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen havde adskillige talenter. Han var overordentlig musikalsk og var kendt for sit fremragende orgelspil.

 

Han havde mange teorier, og en af dem gik ud på at årsagen til at der i årene 1883-84 kunne forekomme ret farveprægtige solnedgange skyldtes vulkanen Krakatoas udbrud[8]. Solstrålernes brydning i atmosfærens askelag mente han gav de skønne farver til solens nedgang, en teori som videnskaben senere accepterede.

 

Han blev blandt videnskabsfolk kaldt: En af videnskabens pionerer. Og af andre en sand menneskeven og en god mand.

 

Efterskrift

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen var en meget arbejdsom herre, så hvis alle hans gøremål skulle frem i denne artikel, ville det blive en tyk bog. Der er dog stadig en del ubesvarede spørgsmål som jeg gerne vil have svar på, bl a hvor alle hans skrivekugler blev af? – Jeg kan på verdensplan kun finde ca 25.

 

Jeg har oprettet en database af oplysninger om skrivekugler o.a. for derved at kunne få den fulde viden om Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Yderligere oplysninger om Rasmus Malling-Hansen vil blive modtaget med tak.

 

 

 


[1] CEN: Se Elvius: Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884, s 298-299. SA: Skrivekuglen mottok også førsteprismedalje ved utstillingene i Philadelphia i 1876 og København i 1888. Den var dessuten utstilt i South Kensington i 1871 og Yorkshire i 1875. I Paris fikk han itillegg en sølvmedalje for skrivekuglen som undervisningsapparat. Det var sannsynligvis for de to skrivekuglene med henholdsvis Braille- og Moon-alfabet.

[2] CEN: Angående hans giftermål med Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, se C.F.Heiberg: Slekten Heiberg, Oslo 1941

[3] CEN: Se Johanne Agerskov: Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?, København 1925.

[4] SA: Denne skrivekuglen tilhører nå Medicinsk Museion, Bredgade, København. I 2011 var den utstilt hos Post-og Telegrafmuseet i København.

[5] SA: Denne prototypen er en hvit porselenshalvkule med påtegnede bokstaver, som RMH fikk fremstilt for å anvendes som ”øvekugler” til potensielle kunder. Den er desverre ikke utstilt pr i dag (2012). Det finns en kjent slik porselenshalvkule til, som er svart. Den er i privat eie. JMC: En af de offentligt ejede porcelænshalvkugler findes i dag, så vidt vi ved, på Danmarks Keramikmuseum i Middelfart.

[6] SA: Malling-Hansen hadde rukket å gå Borgergade nesten til enden, til Store Kongensgade, men falt om der den krysses av det som dengang het Leopardlængen, nå Suensonsgade. Han ble brakt in i en av leilighetene i Leopardlængen.

[7] SA: Oplyssningen om kransen fra kongen er meget interessant, men det har aldri lykkes å finne den dokumentert noen andre steder enn i en artikkel av Christian Barnholdt, og han husker desverre ikke hvor han har den fra.

[8] JMC: Vulkanen Kratatoa eksploderede i august 1883. Asken farvede jordens atmosfære rød, og udbruddet påvirkede hele klodens klima under mindst 5 år.

 

 

Min viden om Rasmus Malling-Hansen er fremkommet ved: Illustreret Tidende, Berlingske Tidende, Politiken, Aarhus Stifttidende, Lolland-Falsters Folketidende, Ritzau, Nutiden, Danmarks Præstehistorie, Jonstrupbogen, Nordisk Tidsskrift for Blinde, Døvstumme og Idiotanstalter, Nordisk Hygiejnisk Tidsskrift, The Century of the Typewriter, Slægten Heiberg, Aluminia Fajance gennem 100 år, Salomons Leksikon, Opfindelsernes Bog 3, Opfindernes Liv I, Dansk Biografisk Leksikon, De Kongelige Ordeners Historiograf, De Danske Kongers Kronologiske Samling, Cand.Polit Christian Barnholdt, Svend Gudmand (Døveskolen København), major Niels Høyer-Nielsen, Henny Peetz, Teknisk Museum Helsingør, Grafisk Museum, Teknisk Museum Aalborg, Blindeinstituttet, Stenstrup Museum, Svendborg Museum, Bornholms Museum, Post og Telemuseet, Lolland-Falsters Stiftsmuseum, Teknisk Skole Viborg. En stor tak skal gives til Roskilde Bibliotek.

 

 

 

Originalartikkelen

The Writing Ball Turns 125 Years

The author of this article; Carsten Erik Noe, one of the early pioneers of modern Danish Malling-Hansen reserach.

The author of this article, Carsten Erik Noe, was – together with Christian Barnholdt – one of the first pioneers of Danish Malling-Hansen research in recent times, and in the 1990s he collected a large private archive of pictures and documents. The Malling-Hansen Society owes Noe a large debt of gratitude for his generous donation of his entire archive for the benefit of the Society. It contains a substantial amount of writing ball-letters and other very rare documents, among them the handwritten first Danish patency application concerning the writing ball. Carsten Erik Noe was also one of the original members who took the initiative to form the Society in May 2006. He wrote this article in the spring of 1995 by request from the local Museum of Lolland-Falster

 

Sverre Avnskog and Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen, principal and priest at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, illustration from “Nutiden” number 526 of Sunday October 17, 1886.

The Writing Ball Turns 125 years

 

By Carsten Erik Noe

English translation by

Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

An early autumn morning on the fifth of September 1835 Hans Rasmus Johan Hansen was born in Hunseby by Maribo. He was son of school teacher Johan Frederik Hansen and Juliane Marie Cathrine, maiden name Matzen. Rasmus’ father died suddenly in 1839 from typhoid fever and left wife and three small boys, of which Rasmus was the eldest, not yet four years old. The widow was hard put to provide for the three small children and therefore moved in with her former foster father, the school teacher Rasmus Malling, from whom he got his new name[1].

 

Rasmus as a small boy was a very quick learner, he was interested in mathematics and talented in drawing. The preparative teaching for confirmation made a deep impression on him, and one day he confided in the vicar, whose name was Gude, that his greatest wish was to become a priest. However, after his confirmation he was apprenticed as a house painter in order to make good use of his talents in drawing. One day he was summoned to meet Count F.M.Knuth at Knuthenborg Manor, and the result of this meeting was that the count sponsored the education of young Malling-Hansen at the Jonstrup teacher training college, from where he graduated with distinction after three years. He then returned home and became assistant teacher in Maglemer near Hunseby, and a year later his dream was fulfilled – his faithful supporter, the count, sent him to the capital city for theological studies[2].

 

This is how the story starts, but Rasmus Malling-Hansen was not only a priest. He also took a keen interest in deaf-mute pupils, and it was in this connection as a principal, teacher and priest at the Danish school for the deaf that he invented the writing ball. In March 1870 Rasmus Malling-Hansen submitted his application for a patent on his writing ball. It is an interesting fact that the application for the writing ball (30 pages) had to be presented in handwriting.

 

In his capacity as teacher of the deaf-mute Rasmus Malling-Hansen found out that ordinarily one is able to write only 4 phonemes a second and in daily speech utter 12 phonemes a second. In comparison, a sign speaker (a deaf or deaf-mute person using his/her hands to communicate) is able to produce around 12 phonemes a second, i.e. practically the speed of normal speech. This was the idea, or point of departure, which led Rasmus Malling-Hansen to the invention of the writing ball. He simply transferred the hand alphabet to a sphere.

 

 


[1] SA: Malling-Hansen was babtized Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen, but as an adult he chose to only use the name Rasmus Malling-Hansen. He started to use the hyphen consistently around 1883 but did use it now and then even earlier.

[2] SA: Malling-Hansen stayed in Hunseby until 1858. He also worked as a private tutor, teaching children in the home of the vicar and at the Knuthenborg Manor. In addition he pursued private studies and did his A-levels.

Drawing of the first official model of the writing ball from 1870.
Writing ball no 117, owned by Carsten Bodenhoff (photo: Carsten Erik Noe)

The First Model

 

The first model was ready in 1865, but it was only a precursor of a model appearing in 1867[1]. It was not only mechanic but also electric – something which was not easy to grasp at the time. However, it was constructed in such a way that it was tricky to use. Since the paper was placed below the machine on a platen, it was quite simply not possible to see what was being written. Another problem were the batteries which at the time were hard to find, and the machine weighed as much as 75 kilos[2]

 

This was the machine on which he obtained his patent in 1870, however he did not manage to put it into production before realizing its flaws. Hence he developed the purely mechanical model, designed and built in a simpler manner and weighing merely 5 kilos[3]. Rasmus Malling-Hansen obtained – remarkable for that period of time – a 15 year monopoly (the word used for patents. For his experiments and continued improvements he received support from, among others, the Ministry for the Interior, the Reiersen Fund, the Classenske Trust and the Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Trust[4].

 

At the Nordic Exhibition in 1872 the writing ball was completely different. The new writing ball had been extracted from its box and the paper was now - instead of being fitted to a cylinder - put into a frame where it was more visible. The writing ball was, in contrast to so many other current typewriters, not built with iron but brass. In connection with the exhibition Rasmus Malling-Hansen allowed professor Jünger’s Mechaniske Etablissement – the company which already was making the writing ball – permission to produce a special model of the writing ball, and they got 13 years’ monopoly on the modified model, the takygraf (speed writer). The takygraf was a new model, modified in order to be able to write 20 letters per second or 1200 per minute. This was a velocity which a present day machine would hardly be able to achieve with the keyboard or our time[5].

 

In the following years they developed other models that were lighter as well as cheaper. The first one cost 1200 kroner, but later on the price dropped to 150 kroner. They also fabricated some special models for the use of blind people, one with Braille (embossed printing keyboard) and another one with moon code (a rare form of embossed writing).

 

The Keyboard

 

The keyboard of the writing ball is hemispherical and divided into left and right hand side, where one is for vowels and the other one for consonants. Also, the most frequently used letters are placed so as to fit the quickest fingers. Rasmus Malling-Hansen had a model made so that he could test whether the position of his hand was suitable, and this model was done by the ceramic factory Aluminia Fajance[6]. The practice semisphere is mentioned in a diary written by Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s brother-in-law[7].

 

125 Years Later

 

Today, 125 years after the first patent of the writing ball, probably very few people realise that the typewriter partly emanates from an almost unknown Dane. For the Malling-Hansen keyboard was not to be the one used henceforth.

 

In America, in 1873, C. Latham Sholes invented a typewriter[8]. The design was inferior and slower than that of the writing ball. Sholes’ typewriter had the keyboard we know and use today. He sought support from a company that normally produced firearms[9], namely Remington. They saw the advantages of the concept and ideas of his design, but they were however somewhat hesitant for a start. But when it seemed that the typewriter was going to be a success, they issued it with the name of Remington and produced it in the thousands[10]. The typewriter has stolen a march on the writing ball since long time back, one of the reasons being that for every time Malling-Hansen would spend 100 kroner on his writing ball, the Americans would invest 1000 dollars[11].

 

If Rasmus Malling-Hansen had been more interested in his writing ball he would surely have won this battle – given its superior construction – but Rasmus Malling-Hansen turned his attention to other issues. In connection with his work with the writing ball he had found out that by placing a carbonised paper underneath, the inked side facing the paper, one obtains a laterally reversed copy of the text on the backside of the paper on which we have typed. By processing the laterally reversed copy through a printing press one would obtain a copy of the typed text. Malling-Hansen tested with several colours, and the most suitable one was blue, which could be put through the printing press 6 times.

 

He went public with his new invention already in 1872, calling it xero-graphy (dry print). Without fully realising it he had invented what is today known as the copying machine. This was 69 years before Chester Carlson[12] presented his copying machine, which he sold to Rank Xerox later on. Carlson’s model was, however, of a more advanced type.

 

 


[1] SA: We are not certain when the first complete writing ball was ready. However, we know for sure that RMH had the keyboard ready in the shape of a porcelain hemisphere with the letters indicated in 1865. However, the first complete machine is assumed to have been built and finalised possibly in 1867 (or 68-69).

[2] SA: It has commonly been assumed that it was the batteries which made the first model so heavy (75 kg), but  more detailed research into the batteries of that time has shown that they had the apparent size and appearance of our present day jam jars. They are called “wet cell batteries” and were also used in telephones. It is more likely that the first model was the table model seen in the first Danish patent application and therefore was so heavy. Incidentally, it is worth noting that what was typed on the Remington machine – a so-called “up-striker” was also not visible. One had to lift up the platen in order to see the writing on the underside.

[3] SA: It has been alleged that several mechanics struggled in order to find a mechanical solution to the movement of the paper in order to find a substitute for the batteries, which were rather unreliable and required much maintenance. When no one came up with a perfect solution, RMH himself solved the problem, and the first writing ball without batteries appeared in 1875, the first tall model, but initially without colour ribbons.

[4] CEN: See E. Elvius: Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884 page 298-299

[5] SA: The takygraf was patented by RMH together with his probably most important collaborator throughout many years, professor Jürgensen. Jürgensen’s precision work was an important contributing reason behind the design and the very solid version of the writing balls.

[6] CEN: See Bredo L. Grandjean: “Aluminium Fajance gennem hundrede år”, commission of Berlingske Forlag, Copenhagen 1963, fig 19.   SA: We do not know for certain whether the first porcelain hemisphere from 1865 was in fact produced by Aluminia Fajance. For the porcelain hemisphere they have in their possession there was produced in 1871. Hence, it is not the hemisphere RMH used for his experiments in 1865 – it is probably a practise hemisphere which was lent out to potential clients.

[7] CEN/JMC: The practise hemisphere is mentioned in a diary kept by Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s brother-in-law, I.A. Heiberg (brother of RMH’s first wife Cathrine Heiberg); see: Johanne Agerskov: “Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?”, Copenhagen 1925, p 60-61.

[8] JMC: Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890) constructed a typewriter in collaboration with Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule, patented in the USA on June 23, 1868. James Densmore entered as an investor, and the machine was produced in vast numbers by Remington.

[9] SA: And sewing machines! We can see clear evidence of this in the first Remington model. It has evident marks of a sewing machine in design as well as decoration.

[10] SA: Analysts who have investigated Remington’s sales statistics during the first years are of the opinion that the company operated with intentionally inflated numbers in order to stimulate the selling. A rather unbiased assessment is that around 1600 specimen of the first model were sold. In other words, RMH was not completed outmanoeuvred in the market. However, in the long run the writing ball clearly lost out. Perhaps because RMH seems to have lost the interest in developing and promoting it further after ca 1880.

[11] SA: The investor James Densmore spent some thousand dollars on the further development of the Sholes/Glidden/Soules’ machine from 1868. It is alleged that he made a profit of close to 1 million dollars later on when he sold out his shares.

[12] JMC: Chester Carlson (1906-1968), American inventor of Swedish descent.

Newspaper advertisement from around 1880
Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s tombstone. It was originally placed in the Garnison Cemetery but is now at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Kastelsvej, Copenhagen (Photo: Carsten Erik Noe).

Principal of the School for the Deaf-Mute

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was also principal of the School for the Deaf-Mute. In 1883 he was awarded 6000 kroner by the Government and 4000 kroner from the Carlsberg Foundation for his research concerning the periodicity of children’s growth. He discovered that there was a connection between the heat of the sun and children’s growth: by weighing and measuring his 130 students daily he had found that children grew in jerks and not, as previously assumed, steadily and constantly. These discoveries attracted attention all over the world when in 1884 he presented them publicly at an international medical congress and later on in a study entitled “Periods in Children’s Growth and the Heat of the Sun”[1]. In connection with this study he established sites for similar measurements in several places around the world, intending to map out the hidden power, called X, which made all life on the planet grow according to a fix rhythm.

 

Decorations and Awards

 

Admittedly Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s typewriter (writing ball) was not the first typewriter to have been constructed – there were several attempts before him, first in 1717 and later on in 1834 and 1865. But his machine was the first one to be patented as well as put into mass production. During his lifetime he received a number of decorations and awards, among them the Danish Knight of the Dannebrog and the Swedish Order of the Wasa. Also: the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service in Denmark, awarded on May 31, 1872, and the Austrian gold medal “Pro Litteris et Artibus”. He was awarded first price medal at the Nordic Exhibition in Copenhagen in 1872, Vorschritts Medal at the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873 and a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1878[2].

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was married twice, the first time to the daughter of the previous principal of the school for the deaf-mute, Søren Heiberg, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg. Rasmus and Cathrine had 9 children, all of them girls, of which the two last ones were stillborn, and Cathrine died giving birth[3].

 

His second wife was Anna Cathrine Maria Steenstrup. This marriage did not produce children.

 

What Happened to the Writing Balls?

 

We know that the writing ball was exported to several countries. After the Paris Exhibition in 1878  “...Reverend Malling-Hansen has received 40 orders on the writing ball, of which 9 from Denmark, 7 from France, 2 from Sweden, 2 from Norway, 3 from England, 2 from America, 1 from Italy, 2 from Bohemia, 1 from Hungary, 1 from Egypt, 10 from Peru. The machine is made in Professor Jürgensen’s Establishment at the price of 300 kroner”[4].

 

Where Can Writing Balls Be Seen?

 

One of the Braille models is today at the Danish Institute for the Blind[5]. It is quite special, because it has never been used. The other more ordinary models are in different places, for instance in the Technical Museum in Elsinore, in the Communication Museum in Aalborg, the Bodenhoff Company (owned by Carsten Bodenhoff) in Albertslund, Stenstrup Museum (a model that has belonged to the founder of the museum, Lauritz Jensen), Svendborg Museum (has belonged to Christian Møller, the founder of the Lutheran Missionary Society of Bornholm), and a prototype of Aluminia Fajance in the museum of Royal Copenhagen[6].

 

A Good Man

 

On the 27th of September 1890 Rasmus Malling-Hansen was walking along Borgergade not far from the school for the deaf-mute, when he suddenly collapsed[7]. Witnesses related that he suddenly clutched his chest, fell down and remained still. A physicist who happened to be nearby rushed to the scene and could only register that Malling-Hansen was already dead. He was 55 years old.

 

A great scientist was gone and with him also 30 years of research. Thousands of people attended the funeral, among them scores of the most well-known scientists and business personalities. The King, Christian IX sent a large wreath[8]. He was very interested in Malling-Hansen and had paid him a visit several times in order to admire his work.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was multi-talented. He was very musical and known for his brilliant organ playing.

 

He had many theories, one of them being that the reason for the very colourful sunsets during 1883-84 was the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa[9]. He was of the opinion that the refraction of the sunrays in the atmospheric layers of ashes generated the beautiful colours seen at sunset, a theory which science subsequently accepted.

 

Among scientists he was called: One of the pioneers of science; and by others – a true humanist and a good man.

 

Postscript

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was a very hard-working man, and if all his activities were to be included in this article, it would grow into a thick volume. However, there are still a number of unanswered questions, to which I would like to find out more, for instance what happened to all his writing balls? – In total, I have managed to find only about 25 in the entire world.

 

I have set up a database of information about writing balls and other issues in order to garner more complete information about Rasmus Malling-Hansen. I would be grateful to receive more information and documentation about him.

 

My knowledge about Rasmus Malling-Hansen is based upon the following sources:Illustreret Tidende; Berlingske Tidende; Politiken; Aarhus Stifttidende; Lolland-Falsters Folketidende; Ritzau; Nutiden; Danmarks Præstehistorie; Jonstrupbogen; Nordisk Tidskrift for Blinde, Døvstumme og Idiotanstalter; Nordisk Hygiejnisk Tidsskrift; The Century of the Typewriter; Slægten Heiberg; Aluminia Fajance gennem 100 år; Salomons leksikon; Opfindelsernes Bog 3; Opfindernes Liv I; Dansk Biografisk leksikon; De Kongelige Ordners Historiograf; De Danske Kongers Kronologiske Samling; Cand.Polit Christian Barnholdt; Sven Gudmand (Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen); major Niels Høyer-Nielsen; Henny Peetz; Teknisk Museum Helsingør; Grafisk Museum; Teknisk Museum Aalborg; Blindeinstituttet; Stenstrup Museum; Svendborg Museum; Bornholms Museum; Post- og Telemuseet; Lolland-Falsters Stiftsmuseum; Teknisk Skole Viborg.

 

I acknowledge with much gratitude the assistance of Roskilde Library.

 

 

 

 


[1] JMC: The study was published in Danish in three books, called Fragments I, II and III in the period 1883-86 and was also translated into German.

[2] CEN: Elvius: Danmarks Præstehistorie 1869-1884, p 298-299.

[3] CEN: Concerning his marriage to Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, see C.F.Heiberg: The Heiberg Lineage, Oslo 1941.

[4] CEN: See Johanne Agerskov: Hvem er Skrivekuglens Opfinder?, Copenhagen 1925.

[5] SA: This writing ball now belongs to Medicinsk Museion, Bredgade 62, Copenhagen. In 2011 it was shown at the Post and Tele Museum in Copenhagen.

[6] SA: This prototype is a white porcelain hemisphere with letters printed or painted, which RMH had made in order to be used as ”practise hemispheres” by potential customers. Unfortunately it is presently not on display (2012). There is one more porcelain hemisphere, black and in private ownership. JMC: One of the publicly owned hemispheres is today, as far as we know, at the Museum of International Ceramic Art, Grimmerhus, Middelfart.

[7] SA: Malling-Hansen had walked along Borgergade and had almost reached the end of that street, where it meets Store Kongensgade, and then he collapsed on the corner of the street which at the time was named Leopardlængen but today is called Suensonsgade. He was carried into one of the apartments of Leopardlængen.

[8] SA: The information about the wreath from the King is very interesting, but so far we have never been able to find documentation to back it up, except in an article by Christian Barnholdt, and unfortunately he cannot remember where he has seen this piece of information.

[9] JMC: The Indonesian volcano Kratatoa exploded in August 1883. The ashes gave the atmosphere a reddish colour, and the eruption influenced the climate of the entire planet for at least five years.

Article in "Frilandsliv", 11 February 2014.

Det var den daværende præsident for Det Internationale Rasmus Malling-Hansen Selskab, Christian Barnholdt, der sammen med nu afdøde grev Adam Knuth fra det nærliggende Knuthenborg Gods i 2008 indviede mindetavlen i Hunseby på Lolland.

Udskrift og kommentarer af Jørgen Malling Christensen:

 

 

Nedenstående artikel er fra avisen Frilandsliv ( www.frilandsliv.dk ) og publiceredes den 11 februar 2014.  ”Frilandsliv” er et tillæg der bringer artikler og annoncer med et indhold, der specielt henvender sig til fritiden på landet. Frilandsliv udkommer hver tredje uge som tillæg til fire landbrugsfaglige aviser – Landbrug NORD, Landbrug SYD, Landbrug FYN og Landbrug ØST, der udkommer til alle landbrugere og fritidsbrug i hele Danmark.

 

Artiklen om Rasmus Malling-Hansen og skrivekuglen er skrevet af redaktøren og journalisten Palle Dahl.  Den er kort men indholdsrig og er et tegn på, at der stadig er interesse for Malling-Hansen og for skrivekuglen; og at vor hjemmeside bliver læst og brugt!

 

 

Sådan er der så meget…

 

Lollik opfandt verdens første skrivemaskine[1]

 

I en elektronisk tidsalder, hvor internet-feberen ubønhørligt raser, er det lidt sjovt at tænke på, at det kun er knap halvanden hundrede år siden, skrivemaskinen blev opfundet.

 

Det var lollikken Rasmus Malling-Hansen, der i 1865 opfandt verdens første skrivemaskine, og skrivekuglen er æret med en mindetavle vad Rasmus Malling-Hansens fødehjem i landsbyen Hunseby på Lolland.

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen, der levede fra 1835 til 1890, gjorde sin opfindelse samtidig med, at han fra 1865 var forstander ved Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i København. Rasmus Malling-Hansen var samtidig hovedmand bag en række progressive reformer af døveundervisningen i Danmark.

 

Mindetavlen i Hunseby blev i 2008 sat op af Det Internationale Rasmus Malling-Hansen Selskab, der i 2006 blev stiftet for at genskabe den internationale berømmelse Rasmus Malling-Hansen i 1870’erne og 1880’erne opnåede ved sine banebrydende opfindelser, der udøver skrivemaskinen også omfattede xerografien og tørkopieringen i 1872[2].

 

Det var den daværende præsident for Det Internationale Rasmus Malling-Hansen Selskab, Christian Barnholdt, der sammen med nu afdøde grev Adam Knuth fra det nærliggende Knuthenborg Gods i 2008 indviede mindetavlen i Hunseby på Lolland.

 

Når grev Adam Knuth, der i 1969 i strid med sin far lensgreve Frederik Marcus Knuths ønske grundlagde Knuthenborg Safaripark, deltog ved indvielsen af mindetavlen, skyldes det blandt andet, at det var grev Adam Knuths tip-oldefar, Frederik Marcus Knuth, som finansierede Rasmus Malling-Hansens uddannelse til student, lærer og præst.

 

Det Internationale Rasmus Malling-Hansen Selskab, der  blev stiftet i 2006, tæller i 2014 omkring 30 medlemmer fra blandt andet Danmark, Norge, Tyskland, Holland og USA.

 

Men sådan er der så meget.

 

palledahl@frilandsliv.dk

 

 


[1] JMC: Der har været mange tidligere forsøg på at konstruere skrivemaskiner før Malling-Hansens skrivekugle, men de havde det tilfælles at de blev fremstillet i et eller et fåtal eksemplarer, ikke fungerede tilfredsstillende som hurtigskrivningsapparater og ikke blev serie-fremstillede og solgt.  Den første model af skrivekuglen blev fremstillet under perioden mellem 1865 og 1870, fik flere patenter i 1870 og blev seriefremstillet håndværksmæssigt fra dette år. I samme periode konstruerede Sholes, Glidden og Soule deres første prototype (1868) af en skrivemaskine, senere modificeret og masseproduceret  i industriel skala under navnet Remington fra 1 marts 1873. 

[2] JMC: Xerografi er tørkopiering! Man kan desuden nævne Malling-Hansens opfindelse af takygrafen – verdens hurtigeste skrivemaskine – også i 1872. Medens Malling-Hansen opnåede international berømmelse i 1870’erne på grund af skrivekuglen, kan man tillægge at han indenfor lægevidenskaben og i kredse som beskæftigede sig med den menneskelige fysiologi og kroppens vækst opnåede en høj grad af international berømmelse og anerkendelse takket være hans banebrydende og årelange forskning i skolebørns vækst under årets løb – en berømmelse som skabtes i perioden fra 1884 og frem til hans død i 1890 – og fortsatte efter den tid!