QWERTY, named after the first six keys found on the top left letter row of any standard keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard that you and I know now, was developed in the 1860s by an amateur inventor by the name of Christopher Latham Sholes. A newspaper man, who devoted his leisure time in developing machines that could increase the efficiency of his work. Mr. Sholes, along with James Densmore, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé developed the first-ever design for a type-writer. However, this model was not set up like the present QWERTY keyboards. In the earliest models, the keys were in an alphabetical order and resembled piano keys. It made sense, as finding the letters would be easier and less time would be spent on hunting them. The device was patented in the year 1868.
Why QWERTY? – Origin Story
Well, there are few urban legends around this. The most popular one being that it was too easy. As the story goes, the alphabetical arrangement of keywords was efficient, maybe a little too efficient. Earliest type-writers were delicate machinery and fast typing resulted in regular jamming. And jamming meant huge maintenance expenses.
That is what you will find all over the internet. But, in a 2011 paper, researchers from Kyoto University tracked down type-writer evolution and the earliest profession where it was used. Motoko Yasuoka and Koichi Yasuoka, in the paper, concluded that the design had nothing to do with the failing mechanics. Their study suggests that the earliest type-writer users were telegraph operators, who found it difficult to type morse code on the existing keyboards.
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Why QWERTY is here to stay?
You learned to type on your QWERTY-style keyboard, and so did I. And so did anyone from our parents or grand-parents’ generation. We are using the QWERTY arrangement for around 150 years now.
It’s not like keyboard evolution peaked with QWERTY. In reality, the world has been introduced to a few designs over the years. Designs that would actually increase our typing efficiency. But we kind of just stuck with what we have. It’s like we’re in a loop. We learn it because it’s on every device, and it’s on every device because everyone knows it. So, yeah, it here to stay alright!!
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