23
Feb
10

The story behind QWERTY


Ever wondered why keyboards had to be so cumbersome. Why couldn’t they simply list down the letters in an alphabetical order or any other order for that matter. Here’s the scientific explanation

The QWERTY design is based on a layout designed by C. Latham Sholes in 1874 for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the same year, when it first appeared in typewriters. It was designed to minimize typebar clashes.

The “Type Writer” had two features which made jams a serious issue. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or typebars, which would clash and jam if neighboring arms were depressed at the same time or in rapid succession. Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called “up-stroke” design. Consequently, jams were especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what he had typed. The solution was to place commonly used letter-pairs (like “th” or “st”) so that their typebars were not neighboring, avoiding jams. While it is often said that QWERTY was designed to “slow down” typists, this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed, yet some of the layout decisions, such as placing only one vowel on the home row, did have the effect of hobbling more modern keyboards.

After a lot of trial-and-error QWERTY layout evolved.

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Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.

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