Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher whose polemic writings still resonate today, was among the first few people in the world to use a typewriter. Or, as it was called at the time, a writing ball. Crafted by Danish inventor Rasmus Malling-Hansen, the writing ball had a number of advantages over competing designs: it was quieter in operation, simpler in construction, cheaper, and more portable. In retrospect, you can also add that it had the iconic appearance of a product of the mechanical age.

Thus typed Zarathustra

Nietzsche's particular writing ball, bought in 1882 as a tool to counter the writer's failing eyesight, had the serial number 125. It has recently been restored by Dieter Eberwein, vice-president of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society, who has written a book detailing how it was used and the manuscripts that were composed on it. Nietzsche doesn't appear to have relied on the typing machine to compose his most famous works, On the Genealogy of Morality and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, however it'll have surely been an aid to him by virtue of being operable by touch and requiring less hand-eye coordination than using a pen.