The typewriter keyboard derives its design inspiration from the classic typewriter. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, it provides a superior typing experience through its advanced mechanical switches. Its in-built features are designed to deliver data through electronic devices, including PCs and smart devices.
Let’s look at a brief history of how the typewriter keyboard evolved with a specific focus on the popular Qwerty layout.
History of the typewriter layout
Let’s briefly look at how the layout of the typewriter came to be.
Christopher Latham Sholes invented the first practical typewriter in Wisconsin in 1867. The early typewriter design included a piano-like keyboard with 28 letters in alphabetical arrangement.
By 1873, the typewriter keyboard had 43 keys. Sholes signed an agreement with Remington for the manufacturing of Sholes Glidden typewriter.
In 1874, Sholes debuted the Qwerty layout for the typewriter. The layout was integrated into the then-produced Remington typewriter.
The keyboard layout then went on to become the base layout for all future layouts of the modern computer keyboards. To date, we see Sholes’ Qwerty layout used in the modern mechanical typewriter and keyboard design.
The arrangement of keys in the Qwerty keyboard layout
It is thought that the first typewriter had some mechanical issues, which led to the introduction of the Qwerty keyboard layout. The bars would collide with each other and jam, so Sholes wanted to separate the sequence of the common letters. He arranged the keys with the most common letters in spots that were hard to reach. It was meant to slow down typists to avoid collision.
Alternative keyboard layout to Qwerty keyboards
The Qwerty keyboard layout is not the only keyboard design. Over time, there have been various alternative keyboard layouts that aimed to be more ergonomic and efficient. However, none gained as much traction as the Qwerty keyboard layout.
For instance, there is the Dvorak keyboard layout which is quite different from the Qwerty layout. It reduces the distance traveled by fingers and frequently prompts the typists to alternate hands-on letter sequences.
The standard computer keyboards have generally followed the Qwerty keyboard layouts. Over time additional keys were added to the layout, including the Escape key followed by the arrow and function keys. The keyboard layouts of the modern computer keyboards include a numeric pad, function keys in the top row and cursor arrows.