November 29, 2016

What in the world is QWERTY?

QWERTY is the name of the keyboard on most computers found worldwide and comes from the first six letters on the top row of letters on the keyboard.  Perhaps a more interesting question is “How did the keys come to be arranged in the way they are?”

 Based on a CNN Money news video, here’s a brief history and the reason we call it a QWERTY keyboard.  Early attempts at creating a “typewriting” machine began as early as 1714 with Henry Mills.  Many of these machines look completely different than the typewriter that eventually developed in the mid-1860’s.  The biggest problem on many of the early machines was the keys would get stuck together as they were struck.  Some of the early machines had the keys in alphabetical order.  After realizing there were certain letter combinations that were repeated often in typing words, a different order was created so those keys would be less likely to stick together as they were typed at a fast speed.  Those changes resulted in the keyboard created and patented by Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soule in 1867 on their typewriter.  The invention was later sold to the Remington (weapons) family in 1873. 

In our digital age we don’t need to worry about the keys jamming together, however the arrangement of the keys has remained standardized since they those early years with only a few small modifications.