The Writing Ball of Vejle Museums.

Vejle museums' writing ball with serial number 123, photographed from above. It is a 1878 model, which was developed for the World's Fair in Paris in 1878. It was this specimen that sold the most copies. It is referred to as the tall, transportable model, and was delivered in a mahogany wooden box. It is equipped with color ribbon, line change key and a bell that was struck each time a line was completed. The keyboard consists of 54 keys or stamps, and all are intact, as you can see. Photo: Jørgen Malling Christensen.

On October 21, 2021, I visited Vejle Museums and was granted special access to their writing ball.


Vejle Museums – see their website: – is an overall name for 10 separate exhibition, adventure and infotainment places in and around the town of Vejle – and, remarkably: all of them free of charge!


Their writing ball is not normally exhibited, due to its high pecuniary value. I made an arrangement to see it and was graciously received by the curator, Anders Horsbøl Nielsen, who showed me not only the writing ball but also took time to treat me to a fascinating tour around the vast storage facilities of the museum.


I was permitted to see, touch (with gloves) and photo the writing ball. This particular specimen has been known to us for a long time and is included in Dieter Eberwein’s list of writing balls. He has let me know that it is serial number 123. I looked everywhere on the ball but could not find any number engraved, - however I trust Dieter! It is an 1878 portable model with ribbon, and it is kept in its original, beautiful, mahogany box.


It has 54 keys, and no key is missing. My general impression is that it is in reasonably good condition, with no apparent visual damages. However, it has probably never been restored. A more trained eye than mine is needed to ascertain, whether it is in working order, and I did not try to type on it (for fear of damaging it).


As to its history, nothing is known. The museum item records show that it is marked as item no. 1402 and noted as: “Skrivemaskine, kaldet ‘Pindsvin’”, i.e. “Typewriter, called ‘hedgehog’” , and that it was donated by a person named Jesper Larsen, Skyttehusgade 28, Vejle. The address indicates one of the historic buildings of Vejle town.


SA: We also know the writing balls with the serial numbers 124, 125 and 126.

Some more photos of the writing ball, all taken by Jørgen Malling Christensen.
Excerpt from the Vejle museums' inventory list. Photo: Jørgen Malling Christensen.