TIL That the inventor of the QWERTY keyboard, Christopher Latham Sholes, actually designed it to be slow and inefficient. As his original alphabetical layout caused jamming of the typewriter due to the quick access of vowels. More efficient keyboards never caught on due to the popularity of QWERTY.

Read more: https://blog.oup.com/2018/06/nine-striking-facts-history-typewriter/

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  1. Perhaps, but the evidence for that is pretty weak. [Here’s](https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/fact-of-fiction-the-legend-of-the-qwerty-keyboard-49863249/) an interesting take from the Smithsonian’s magazine.

    >While it can’t be argued that deal with Remington helped popularize the QWERTY system, its development as a response to mechanical error, has been questioned by Kyoto University Researchers Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka. In a 2011 paper, the researchers tracked the evolution of the typewriter keyboard alongside a record of its early professional users. They conclude that the mechanics of the typewriter did not influence the keyboard design. Rather, the QWERTY system emerged as a result of how the first typewriters were being used. Early adopters and beta-testers included telegraph operators who needed to quickly transcribe messages. However, the operators found the alphabetical arrangement to be confusing and inefficient for translating morse code. The Kyoto paper suggests that the typewriter keyboard evolved over several years as a direct result of input provided by these telegraph operators. For example;

    >>“The code represents Z as ‘· · · ·’ which is often confused with the digram SE, more frequently-used than Z. Sometimes Morse receivers in United States cannot determine whether Z or SE is applicable, especially in the first letter(s) of a word, before they receive following letters. Thus S ought to be placed near by both Z and E on the keyboard for Morse receivers to type them quickly (by the same reason C ought to be placed near by IE. But, in fact, C was more often confused with S).

    >In this scenario, the typist came before the keyboard. The Kyoto paper also cites the Morse lineage to further debunk the theory that Sholes wanted to protect his machine from jamming by rearranged the keys with the specific intent to slow down typists:

    >>“The speed of Morse receiver should be equal to the Morse sender, of course. If Sholes really arranged the keyboard to slow down the operator, the operator became unable to catch up the Morse sender. We don’t believe that Sholes had such a nonsense intention during his development of Type-Writer.”

  2. While a neat idea to think about, this is a common misbelief. There’s actually (according to what I’ve read on this subject) no historical evidence actually proving this theory.

  3. Its funny we all think of a typewriter as some ancient invention, but they were commonplace until the early 90s.

    I wrote my first ever essay on a typewriter and I am only 41

  4. Slow & inefficient is kinda the wrong way to say it. It’s designed in mind with what letters are used together with others, so there was a smaller chance of the typewriter getting stuck.

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