Unfolding the logic behind the QWERTY Keyboard

Today, our laptops and computers are an integral part of our lives. For many, work and recreation are on the laptop. We’re handicapped if we’re unable to access our phones. From writing work emails to texting our friends, the keyboard is something we have gotten so used to that we can type even with our eyes closed even though the keyboard isn’t arranged alphabetically.

Ever wondered why the alphabets on the keyboard are not alphabetically arranged or in no other particular chronology like everything else? We’re so used to arrangement today, but it might have created a whole lot of confusion in the 1800s when it came into use.

Why Such An Unusual Pattern?

The qwerty keyboard was invented in the 1870s by one of the creators of the original typewriter, Christopher Latham Sholes. This first typewriter was patented in 1868 and it was designed with an alphabetical arrangement of piano-like keys. In this arrangement, commonly used letters were too close to each other, making the keys jam frequently. We all know that you couldn’t just hit backspace if you made an error on a typewriter. Therefore, the alphabets are now in a seemingly random layout because Sholes created the qwerty keyboard to purposely spread out the commonly used alphabets so that mechanical errors can be avoided.

The First Application

He made a deal with Remington which incorporated the new qwerty keyboard in their Remington No. 2 machine. Fun fact is that the top row of the qwerty keyboard has all the letters to make the word ‘typewriter’.


There Is A Plot Twist

However, there are two researchers that have a different theory. In 2011, Koichi Yasuoka and Motoko Yasuoka tracked the evolution of the keyboard back to Morse code. They argued that early typewriters were used by telegraph operators who found the alphabetical arrangement confusing for transcribing messages.

Either way, the qwerty keyboard gained familiarity among the masses. This led to its adoption on electronic keyboards on computers. This is the keyboard that has become a key component of all our digital appliances today. We have come to love and depend on it and can’t imagine the keyboard in any other arrangement.