A widespread belief is that the letters on a QWERTY key-board (named for the first 6 tricks in the height row) are mixed up and also not in an alphabetical order so that trained typists would slow down and avoid jamming the beforehand typewriters who couldn’t manage a quick inputting of common letter pairings.

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According to this myth, amateur inventor Christopher Latham Sholes re-arranged the letters on a keyboard so that common sequence of letters, such as “he” or “th”, are separated. Allegedly, this would have prevented the machineries from jamming when easily typed.

However, this concept has no supporting evidence and also deserve to be conveniently debunked by the reality that the letters forming “er”, the English language’s fourth most common letter pairing, are inserted beside each other. Two Kyoto College Researchers though, Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka, propose an alternate solution that renders a lot more sense than the “mechanical error” concept. It all has to carry out through translating Morse code. (the short article continues after the ad)


In a document publimelted in 2011, the 2 researchers imply that the keyboard’s architecture was mostly influenced by just how the initially typewriters were being supplied. Due to the fact that at an early stage adopters were telegraph operators that needed to easily and also efficiently transcribe messperiods, they re-arranged the letters to the QWERTY layout as the alphabetical setup was not ineffective for translating morse code. For example:

The code represents Z as ‘· · · ·’ which is frequently perplexed via the digram SE, more frequently-offered than Z. Sometimes Morse receivers in USA cannot identify whether Z or SE is applicable, specifically in the first letter(s) of a word, prior to they receive adhering to letters. Thus S should be put near by both Z and E on the keyboard for Morse receivers to form them easily (by the same reason C ought to be inserted close to by IE. But, in fact, C was more often puzzled with S).

The paper likewise uses the morse code to further debunk the myth that Sholes rearranged the keys in order to safeguard his machine from jamming by slowing dvery own typists:

“The speed of Morse receiver must be equal to the Morse sender, of course. If Sholes really arranged the keyboard to slow dvery own the operator, the operator ended up being unable to catch up the Morse sender. We don’t believe that Sholes had such a nonsense intention during his advance of Type-Writer.”


Is this the true story behind the origin of the QWERTY keyboard? Well, even though we can’t be 100 percent certain, it’s a well researched concept and also makes a lot more sense than the “no evidence whatsoever” theory of slowing down operators. 

BONUS FACT: Regardless of its success, Sholes wasn’t persuaded that the QWERTY plan was the ideal architecture. Although his deindications were offered to Remington at an early stage, Sholes continued to construct choices and enhancements to the typewriter for the rest of his life.

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This consisted of numerous keyboard layouts that he claimed to be even more efficient. One of them was the complying with 1889 patent that was filed by Sholes himself, a year prior to he passed away, and also issued posthumously:

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Photo: US Patent Office

If you choose what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Why The “F” And “J” Keyboard Keys Have Raised Ridges?

Photo: eBayPhotoshop: I’m A Usemuch less Info JunkieSources: Fact of Fiction? The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard | On the Prehistory of QWERTY