The QWERTY keyboard layout: a historical quirk

The surprising history of the QWERTY keyboards and why they are not efficient
The QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to slow down typists.


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For those in a hurry:

  • The QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to slow down typists in the 19th century.
  • It was meant to prevent mechanical typewriters from jamming when keys were pressed too fast.
  • It became the standard layout for typewriters and later computers, despite its inefficiency.
  • There are alternative layouts that are more ergonomic and faster, such as Dvorak and Colemak.

The Invention of the QWERTY Keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1868. Christopher Latham Sholes created it. It was for early typewriters.

The Reason Behind the QWERTY Keyboard Layout

Sholes faced a problem with typewriters. Keys jammed when typing was fast. The QWERTY design was a solution. It made typists slow down. This reduced jamming.

Impact on Modern Devices

The QWERTY layout is still in use. It’s found in computers, phones, and tablets. The design, once made to slow down typing, is now a standard.

Alternative Layouts to QWERTY

Different layouts exist today. Dvorak is one example. It’s designed for faster typing. However, QWERTY remains dominant.

Conclusion: A Unique Solution

The QWERTY keyboard layout is more than a design. It’s a unique solution to a mechanical problem. Its creation has had a lasting impact on how we type.

The QWERTY layout’s journey from typewriters to digital devices is fascinating. It reminds us of the ingenuity in solving everyday problems. A simple design with a big effect.