Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why the letters on your keyboard are not in alphabetical order.

Every computer with a keyboard has the same alphabetical arrangement.

A long time a go a guy named Sholes designed the typewriter. He arranged the keys in alphabetical order like this:

- 3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

This was back in the old age when technology was non-existent so the typewriter had a lot of problems. When you pressed two keys that are beside each other quickly, it would jam.

Using trial and error, Sholes arranged the letters so that all the letters that were used the most were far apart from each other. So when you type, you don't usually press the keys that are right beside each other. That gave the lowest chance of jamming.

This is the design that Sholes' used when he tried selling his typewriter design in 1873 to Remington and Sons.

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 - ,
Q W E . T Y I U O P
A X & C V B N ? ; R

Remington and Sons switched the place of the letter "R" and the period. This gave a higher chance of jamming but the rumour is that they did this because it allowed for the word "TYPEWRITER" to be typed using one row.

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