• Nitika Mehra

QWERTY: The First Six Keys on First Letter Row of The Keyboard

Updated: May 27

QWERTY is a keyboard design for Latin-script alphabets. A Latin-script alphabet (Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet) is an alphabet that uses letters of the Latin script.

The name comes from the order of the first six keys on the top left letter row of the keyboard (Q W E R T Y). The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter (Remington No. 1 which was the first commercially successful typewriter) and sold to E. Remington and Sons in 1873. It became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, and remains in widespread use.

The QWERTY layout was devised and created in the early 1870s by Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In October 1867, Sholes filed a patent application for his early writing machine he developed with the assistance of his friends Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soulé.

The construction of the "Type Writer" had two flaws that made the product susceptible to jams. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or type bars, which would clash and jam if neighbouring arms were pressed at the same time or in rapid succession. Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called "up-stroke" design.

In November 1868 he changed the arrangement of the latter half of the alphabet, O to Z, right-to-left. In April 1870 he arrived at a four-row, upper case keyboard approaching the modern QWERTY standard, moving six vowel letters, A, E, I, O, U, and Y. In 1873 Sholes's backer, James Densmore, successfully sold the manufacturing rights for the Sholes & Glidden Type-Writer to E. Remington and Sons. The keyboard layout was finalized within a few months by Remington's mechanics and was ultimately presented:

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

After they purchased the device, Remington made several adjustments, creating a keyboard with essentially the modern QWERTY layout. These adjustments included placing the "R" key in the place previously allotted to the period key. The QWERTY layout became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, the first typewriter to include both upper and lower case letters, using a shift key. The modern layout is:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - =
Q W E R T Y U I O P [ ] \
A S D F G H J K L ; '
Z X C V B N M , . /

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