Friday, August 17Care to be aware

Why Do We Have QWERTY Keyboard, Not ABCDE?

We have been using QWERTY keyboards for ages. Most of us have been believing that the unusual arrangement of the keys, rather than ABCD, is because the people who used mechanical typewriters in the past moved their fingers too fast–fast enough that it would jam the typewriters.

It might have been one of the probable causes which compelled active minds to think about arranging the keys in a random fashion, QWERTY. But, the story can be a total myth, or somewhat, less accurate. And it becomes more convincing after we read a piece of text tagged as a ‘research paper’.

I’m not the first human to be curious about the history of the keyboards. There are many people who went past their curiosity and made efforts to find what’s hidden in the history. Pointed out by Jimmy Stamp of the Smithsonian, a Japanese research duo Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka published a paper ‘On the Prehistory of QWERTY‘ in 2011.

History of QWERTY Keyboard

Christopher Sholes holds the patent for the typewriter with a QWERTY keyboard. However, QWERTY layout is a not a one-man effort but a hit and trial that lasted for years before Sholes finally made it. The first typewriter created by Sholes in 1868 looked like a piano. It had only 28 keys arranged A to N (left-to-right) and O to Z (right-to-left).

Various telegraph operators used typewriters to understand Morse codes. The keyboard layout in an alphabetical order made the decoding process difficult for them. It was confusing while translating the Morse code, and it didn’t help them do the stuff quickly.

history of qwerty keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard was brought into existence after receiving suggestions from such operators, changing one or two keys at a time. Eventually, it turned into what we mostly see on our computer keyboards, and in the digital form on our touchscreen devices.

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