Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Qwerty Keyboard

Writers might not have moved beyond the ink and quills for penning stories if not for the advent of the typewriter.


The typewriter was designed in the 1860's by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The name QWERTY comes from the first six letters appearing in the top letter row of the keyboard.

Though the basics of the modern QWERTY keyboard remains the same, there are a few differences. The original design have a "0" or "1" and the letter "M" was at the end of third row, next to the "L". Also, the "X" and "C" are reversed. And some typewriters didn't include an exclamation point until the 1970's.

Because of the positioning of the letters, many English words can be typed using only the left hand, while only a few words can be typed with only the right hand. (Wooh! Score for the south paws.)

While the US utilizes the standard QWERTY keyboard layout, some variations are utilized in other countries, including Canada and the UK. Computer designers adopted the QWERTY layout with modifications, creating a numeric keypad and adding function keys.
Today, QWERTY keyboards come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Some mobile phones use a half QWERTY keyboard with two characters sharing one key.
Although other inventors tried to "improve" upon the QWERTY design, the changes weren't significant enough to motivate typists to learn a new way of typing. 

I was in 7th grade when I learned the QWERTY system on an IBM Selectric typewriter. Do you remember when you first learned to type and on what typewriter? Do you use a keyboard other than a QWERTY?

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2 comments:

shelly said...

I remember how annoying the it was to listen to click..click...click..bing.

JEFritz said...

I actually learned to type on a computer. I took a class in high school and now I can really zip along :). I've always wondered if someday, the QWERTY system will be replaced by one in the phone-texting format.

That's a frightening thought.

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