The QWERTY Keyboard

June 5, 2017

Typing is something that nearly everyone has to do all the time. Whether on a full size computer keyboard, a smaller tablet, or smartphone. Have you ever wondered why the keys are laid out how they are? Our current keyboard is called a QWERTY keyboard, and the reason for this is because the first 6 letters from the top left it will create the “word” QWERTY. There are actually different variety of keyboards, but these variations are rare. Here is a brief history on origins of the QWERTY keyboard.

It all started with the typewriter, which was introduced to America in 1868, by Christopher Latham Sholes. He was one of the first inventors of the typewriter in the United states, and the inventor of the QWERTY keyboard. There were issues with the original design and many of these came from typebars. Typebars were connected to the keys, so that when a letter was pressed, it would swing out and hit a tape, which had ink on it to put onto the page. The issue with this was that it was slow. Also, if letters were used too close together on the keyboard in quick succession, they could easily jam.

To solve the issue of keys jamming, Sholes decided to rearrange the keys. The idea was to space out the keys that are used a lot so they wouldn’t cause jams. This resulted in the invention of the QWERTY keyboard in 1872. Although there have been many efforts to introduce different keyboards, none of them have stuck. The reason your iPhone has a QWERTY keyboard is because a typewriter would jam if the keys were pressed too quickly. A little known fact, Mark Twain was actually one of the first to purchase those early typewriters and the first author to submit a typed manuscript on one.



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