I figured I'd post something on this since, there hasn't been a response yet.
Based upon the fact that the patent number is in English, I took the chance that it was probaby originally from an English speaking country. The British patent for number 4615 is dated 1821 and references a method to destroying smoke in a chimney. The US patent is dated 1826 and is labeled as a machine for making hubs for wheels for carriages. I would speculate that it is the latter as opposed to the former, assuming that either one has any relation to the item shown. The timeframes for both patents would be consitent with the manufacturing appearance and apparent age of the device.
If this is that old, is it possibly a manual punch for something like loom control cards? They were functionally similar to the Hollerith punch card. That might be the link to 'modern' computers that used punch cards.
In the enlarged image, you can see characters in the grid so it appears that the stylus is used to select a letter, perhaps moving around a die for embossing. This is similar to the earliest typewriter prototypes and not that different from Dymo embossed label makers. Given the small size of the array, which would result in an even smaller size of the die being moved around by the stylus, it would appear to be for making really small print. Perhaps it's for writing up contracts? :-) Or maybe for the fine print in currency or coins
"It's clearly not QWERTY. But it has 81 characters, both upper and lowercase letters and the digits 1-9 (where is 0?- uppercase O?). It's a Norwegian/Danish keyboard as it includes the letters æ, ø and å (ÆØÅ). You clearly see that the system is that the less used uppercase letters are placed to the left and right, leaving the more frequently used lowercase letters in the middle. It would interesting to study the position of the lowercase letters relative to their overall frequency in the Norwegian language, but I'll leave that to others :-)"
January 2016 Cartoon Caption ContestBob's punishment for missing his deadline was to be tied to his chair tantalizingly close to a disconnected cable, with one hand superglued to his desk and another to his chin, while the pages from his wall calendar were slowly torn away.122 comments