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Why letters on the keyboard are arranged that way 9/14/2015 •

Why letters on the keyboard are arranged that way

We all got accustomed to the way the keys with letters are arranged on the keyboard. But do you have any idea why? The reason was rather practical: it was done in such a way so that a typewriter shouldn't get locked.


The first typewriters had characters on the end of special bars. When a key was pressed, a bar would swing up and hit a tape coated with ink. When the character struck the tape, the impression of the character was transferred onto the paper. Sometimes two bars could jam, especially when the keys pressed one after another were located close. This made the process of typing slow and ineffective.

The American inventor of the typewriter Christopher Latham Sholes experimented with over 50 different ways of keys arrangement until he finally stopped at the famous QWERTY version which guaranteed much lower frequency of possible jams.

Later when these devices were improved, the problem of jams was eliminated and thus there was no need in such a keyboard anymore. However, computer keyboard inherited this type of arrangement and we still use it because the introduction of a new keyboard would demand retraining of all people who are good at touch-typing.

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