Remington typewriters were available but Nietzsche wanted a simple to use and portable typewriter which would allow him to travel, when necessary, to more salubrious climates. The Malling-Hansen Writing Ball seemed to fit the bill.
In 1882, Nietzsche received his Malling-Hansen Writing Ball directly from the inventor. Unfortunately he was not satisfied with his purchase because he could not master the use of the instrument.
A number of theories have been proposed to explain why Nietzsche was unable to take advantage of his Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. According to some accounts, the instrument was damaged during a trip to Genoa. The inept mechanic who tried to repair it may have inflicted further damage.
Nietzsche immortalised his struggle with the writing ball with this verse:
“The writing ball is a thing like me:
Made of iron yet easily twisted on journeys.
Patience and tact are required in abundance
As well as fine fingers to use us.”