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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.

#Science #Society

Your opinion matters
40 Comments
Kendra Eichholz
Extremely interesting!
1
Sep 14, 2015 12:40AM
Jaime Augusto Alzate
Jaime Augusto Alzate
SHOLES, THE INVENTOR OF THE TYPEWRITER, WAS VERY SMART. HONOR TO HIS MEMORY.
9
Sep 14, 2015 3:06PM
Christina Muurmoor
Christina Muurmoor
Cool and interesting fact
1
Sep 14, 2015 8:19PM
Jackie Hunter
Jackie Hunter
intersting
0
Sep 14, 2015 8:43PM
Larry Schwartz
Yeppers, this ol' timer remembers when keys got jammed together.......Enjoy your computers, all you young pups!! :)
11
Sep 14, 2015 8:44PM
Ian Bitcoin
Ian Bitcoin
I'm getting too old! To think this is something new to almost 2 generations! UGH!
4
Sep 14, 2015 8:50PM
Danny More
Danny More
WOW.. Learn something new everyday..........
0
Sep 14, 2015 9:01PM
Mark Zimmerman
Mark Zimmerman
Yes,I've often wondered about such things, also how the alphabet became standard, and why words mean what they do,and how names were assigned to colors, and letters on musical Notation, I could go on and on, there are millions of standards for everything in the universe. Mark.
3
Sep 14, 2015 9:01PM
Steve Webster
Steve Webster
Most importantly, the word "the" was used so frequently that you had to avoid this word jamming, as well as keeping frequently used letters typed by alternate but predominately middle three fingers of each hand.
0
Sep 14, 2015 9:09PM
Elizabeth Cain
Elizabeth Cain
Growing up we had a regular typewriter; we also had a "Chemical Keyboard" typewriter as my Father was Chem. Prof. That was before the newer typewriter came out that had a ball to change out. When the "new ball font" came out ........ that was fun and easy to change. They also had foreign language ball fonts, medical terms font and several others. Certainly was easy to use....
0
Sep 14, 2015 9:44PM
Mark Paul Steptoe
Mark Paul Steptoe
No info about the competition ? , it wasn't just about key jams , also about speed of typing , there were different makers using different keyboard setups
0
Sep 14, 2015 11:13PM
Meredith Alleruzzo
Meredith Alleruzzo
I'll never forget a visit to Paris in 2008 when I was finishing an MA online. Spring break and a good deal coincided with the final draft of my thesis so I took my laptop. But the 220 cord I purchased at Radio Shack didn't work in my hotel so I ran out in a panic looking for an outlet, then an Internet cafe. It didn't dawn on me that French keyboards would be different- ha! The vowels were in very different places so I had to type one character at a time, sitting next to a sleeping wino with a BO problem. I teach immigrants English but that topic never came up. It was hilarious!
0
Sep 15, 2015 12:08AM
Al Irvine
Al Irvine
The set up of the typewriter was done when most secretaries were men. The keyboard was set up to prove that women could not use a typwriter to any degree of efficienvcy. The keys for shifts and capitalizing was set up to use the pinky fingers which men argued women could handle. The set of the keyboard favors the left hand.
0
Sep 15, 2015 12:25AM
Michael L Reinhardt
Michael L Reinhardt
Damn, I'm only 27 and I still remember that. Shows how new a pc really is.
0
Sep 15, 2015 1:37AM
Ruby Evelyn Senior
I have only known the qwerty key board. You mean there was another in my day?
0
Sep 15, 2015 3:28AM

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