Swedish patent 1872

A photo of the writing ball model that was patented in Sweden in 1872. All copies are made by Jørgen Malling-Christensen. The illustrations in this presentation are not from the actual Swedish patent, but shows similar models.
Patentet ble presentert i Teknisk Tidskrift. Som man ser ble det innvilget 14. Desember 1872.

Rasmus Malling-Hansen’s Swedish Patent on the Writing Ball December 14, 1872 and its Abrogation in 1874.

Notisen i Post och Inrikestidningar 1874-02-26.

Research, transcription and comments by Jørgen Malling Christensen.


We have previously documented this patent, awarded Malling-Hansen on December 14, 1872, for various improvements on the writing ball. The 1872 patent was a follow-up on his first Swedish patent, awarded for the box model of the writing ball, valid for 9 years as from July 14, 1870.


Documentation – text and drawings – can be found in our chapter on patents under the headline of “Swedish Patents 1872”.


However, recent research has brought to light that the Swedish patent, valid for 8 years, was in fact abrogated by the Swedish government authority “Commerce-Collegium” already in January 1874. We learned this from an announcement in the Swedish official gazette “Post & Inrikes Tidningar”, issue of February 26, 1874.


The announcement lists 123 patents, awarded between 1859 and 1872, which the patent commission had abrogated. Some of these patents were abrogated simply because the original patency period had come to an end; others were abrogated before the time period stipulated, because the patent owners had not fulfilled the requirements stipulated, normally the need to set in motion, within Sweden, a fabrication and marketing of the product patented. The Malling-Hansen patent falls into the second category, although the announcement does not specify the individual reasons for each of the 123 patents.


In Malling-Hansen’s case, the Swedish text is as follows:


123:o  R Malling Hansen, Föreståndare vid Institut för dövstumma i Köpenhamn, av den 14 December 1872, å framställda förbättringar af den apparat för snabbskrifning, benämnd skrifkula, hvarå den 14 Juli 1870 meddelats patent;


In translation:


123:  R Malling Hansen, principal of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Copenhagen, of December 14, 1872, concerning improvements of the apparatus for speed writing, called writing ball, for which patent was awarded on July 14, 1870;


Until we find additional information, we cannot know for certain the reasons why the 1872 patent was abrogated prematurely. However, it is reasonable to assume that it has to do with Malling-Hansen’s inability to initiate production of the improved writing ball within the Swedish realm – at least, this is the requirement clearly stipulated at the end of the first Swedish patent for the box model of the writing ball, awarded July 14, 1870.


Interestingly enough, there is no mention of any abrogation of this, the first patent, which was to be valid for 9 years, i.e. until mid 1879. If that patent had been abrogated, it would have been mentioned in the announcement of February 26, 1874.


Den aktuelle utgaven av avisen.