Originally posted 2016-02-24 18:20:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
The Striking Story of a Keyboard Design
Look down at your keyboard. See it? The first six letters spell QWERTY.
That’s what they call the keyboard layout we’ve been using for 140 years: the QWERTY layout.
It looks very much like an emphatic adjective: QWERTY! I propose we start using it that way.
Well, that’s very QWERTY! . . . She’s had a lot of trouble, but she is so QWERTY!
It would certainly be easy to type. Just slide a single finger across that row of keys. I’ll let you decide which finger. It may depend on your mood.
It would mean enduring.
Not only that. It would mean many good stories are told about the subject. Not all are true.
That certainly is the case with the QWERTY layout.
It appears QWERTY may have been conceived in the mind of an investor from Meadville, 90 miles to the north of Pittsburgh. It was then born in Milwaukee, WI., and grew up in Kittanning and Pittsburgh.
We’re talking about the late 1800s. There seems to have been a lot of tinkerers looking to get rich, at least in the just-victorious North. They often put their heads together, and their money, to come up with things that would sell.
Christopher Latham Sholes wanted to make a typesetting machine for his Milwaukee print shop after his typesetters went on strike. That idea failed. So he used it to make a machine for print shops that could be used to number pages, tickets, etc.
He and a fellow inventive printer patented a prototype . The patent attorney they went to also was an inventor. I told you, everybody was.
“Couldn’t this print letters and words, too?” he asked. That, of course, was Sholes original idea.
The attorney joined the partnership, providing development money.
The trio came up with the “literary piano.”
Seriously. It looked like a small piano. It was wooden. The keys were ebony and ivory. The alphabet ran the way it’s supposed to: ABCD. . . They got a patent in 1868 and typed hundreds of letters on the machine seeking investors.
One letter went to James Densmore who lived in Meadville at the time. He was so taken with the typed solicitation, that he bought a quarter of the patent without seeing the device.