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Commonly a separate type element (called a typebar) corresponds to each key, but the mechanism may also use a single type element (such as a typeball) with a different portion of it used for each possible character.
At the end of the nineteenth century, the term typewriter was also applied to a person who used a typing machine.
Malling-Hansen attended the world exhibitions in Vienna in 1873 and Paris in 1878 and he received the first-prize for his invention at both exhibitions.
Typically, a typewriter has an array of keys, each of which causes a different single character to be produced on the paper by causing an inked ribbon to be struck against the paper by a type element similar to the sorts used in movable type letterpress printing.
The typewriter quickly became an indispensable tool for practically all writing other than personal handwritten correspondence.
It was widely used by professional writers, in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes. Remington and Sons, IBM, Imperial Typewriters, Oliver Typewriter Company, Olivetti, Royal Typewriter Company, Smith Corona, Underwood Typewriter Company, Adler Typewriter Company and Olympia Werke.
The Hansen Writing Ball was produced with only upper-case characters.
The Writing Ball was used as a template for inventor Frank Haven Hall to create a derivative that would produce letter prints cheaper and faster.
Malling-Hansen placed the letters on short pistons that went directly through the ball and down to the paper.