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CategoriesNooks and cranniesYesteryearSemantic enigmasThe body beautifulRed tape, white liesSpeculative scienceThis sceptred isleRoot of every evilEthical conundrumsThis sporting lifeStage and also screenBirds and the bees SEMANTIC ENIGMASWhy aren"t the letters on a computer system keyboard in alphabet order?Richard Hearty, Newcastle top top Tyne UK The "computer" keyboard is directly derived from the old typewriter keyboard. As the original typewriters were mechanically slower than a reasonably fast typist the secrets were arranged to sluggish the typist down. For this reason the typical letters, a, s and also e are supplied by the 3rd and fourth finger the the left hand. Columb Healy, Staining Lancs since typists have been trained top top Qwerty keyboards since the 1860s and also noone deserve to be bothered retraining them. Ian, London They provided to be - in the 1870"sSeehttp://home.earthlink.net/~dcrehr/whyqwert.htmlThe inventor the the "standard" typewriter keyboard, C. L. Sholes, come up with a layout the suoted the unwieldy mechanical instrument of the type.There is likewise a rumour that words "typewriter" coule be typed quickly due to the fact that all the letters were top top one row. Eoin C. Bair¿, Dublin Ireland because they use the qwerty sample originally developed for mechanical type-writers. The reasonable of the qwerty layout was based upon letter intake in English quite than letter postion in the alphabet. Peter Brooke, Kinmuck Scotland The "qwerty" keyboard plan stems from mechanically typewriters. The keys are i ordered it to make quick typing challenging as old typewriters would conveniently jam. Of course human beings being adaptable sorts have learned to conquer this obstructionist system and now (some folks) kind faster than they talk, or even think. R Kenig, London UK because when keying in English (don"t know about other languages) you use some characters (such as vowels) far an ext frequently than others (such as Z or X), and the keyboard is design to help you reach the most frequently used secrets most easily. However, to truly benefit from this you need to discover to touch type and avoid looking in ~ the keys and prodding away with one finger. Once you find out to touch type you will wonder exactly how you controlled before. Mary, Glasgow Scotland They space arranged randomly because manual typewriters often tended to jam if the user typed too rapid - as such the arrangement was intended to slow beforehand typists down. Now, of course, we want to be able to typer faster faster faster, therefore why change what we"re all used to? Julie F, London due to the fact that fingers execute not check out from left to best miche, scotland The tricks on a qwerty board were designed once typewriters to be mechanically driven, secretaries at the moment were supposedly so efficient that the arms moving the characters and also attached come the keys regularly got entangled, request the ministrations of an high-quality engineer. The answer, put them where you the very least expect them! Fiona Bell, Nuneaton Warwickshire This is basic one. The qwerty typewriter key-board was design to keep letters typically used together away indigenous each other to prevent jamming. Computer keyboards followed this since people are offered to it and don"t desire to relearn typing, whether because that a key-board in alphabet order or on one of those ones with all the typically used letter in the straightforward to reach places. Richard Smeltzer, Hamilton Canada This is a relic indigenous the distant days of typewriters. The most commonly used letters were same spaced throughout the key-board in order to alleviate the lot of time the print hammers jammed. Because of the truth that the eras of typewriters and also computers overlapped significantly it was most likely thought ideal not to alter the layout the the more modern-day keyboard, in spite of the jamming trouble no longer existing. Richard, London England Those of girlfriend who have used an old mechanically typewriter will certainly remember just how typing too fast caused every the secrets to stack on peak of one another, efficiently jamming the machine. Early on typewriters did have actually the tricks in alphabetical order, but it was discovered that the tricks jammed an extremely easily through this arrangement. To protect against it keys were moved about so that the weaker fingers were needed more frequently. This expected that human being typed in ~ a speed which the maching can handle; giving rise to the "querty" keyboard we uncover today; or at least if you"re English - my key-board is French and also thus "azerty".Even there is no the mechanical difficulties, there would be no logic this day in placing the keys in alphabet order. It would make more sense to have actually the most typically used secrets next come the the strongest fingers. Experimental keyboards have actually been developed using this logic and shown to it is in much much faster than "querty" however the market seems stuck in that is ways and not prepared to innovate. Terence Hollingworth, Blagnac France A crude oil typewriter was developed in 1660 by Wm. Petty.At some stage in it"s evolution, somebody came up through the QWERTY keyboard we space all acquainted with. This was designed deliberately to make inputting a sluggish process, so the the hammers would"nt foul one another. Over there is no factor nowadays why the secrets should not be in alphabet order, other than that we would all have to relearn the skill. Brian Clayton, Glasgow U.K. The setup is come seperate letters which frequently occur consecutively in words, to get rid of jamming of manual typewriters. Sue bailey, London UK The "qwerty" keyboard was design for use on typewriters therefore that frequently used letter were spread out apart, staying clear of clashing or jamming that the many used "hammers".It is, of course, completly un-ergonomic, outdated and also pretty useless. Role on the new standard! Clive, Bristol UK The keys deserve to be in any order you prefer if you reprogramme them and stick brand-new labels on. Generally they are in typewriter order since million so world have to be trained to touch type in the system. Typewriter secrets were laid out to minimise the clash that keystrokes once two surrounding letters room struck in rapid succession. There have actually been plenty of attempts to design a more ergonomic layout - such as Dvorak. Doug Gowan, Hornsey I know that top top the prototype typewriters (prototypewriters, if friend will!) the levers the hit the ribbon were quite prone to jam or obtain tangled up through one one more if the secrets were depression too quickly - if the typist go her project too well, in various other words. The QWERTY keyboard was because of this specifically design to slow-moving down the process of inputting as lot as possible. This would certainly seem to explain why the secrets aren"t in one intuitive order, such together alphabetically, and also why 3 of the vowels room annoyingly squashed up in the optimal line.By the moment typewriters that can cope with higher speeds, and indeed desktop computer computers, had actually been invented, the QWERTY set-up had end up being the convention, and also secretarial institutions were making a lot of money out of its innate difficulty. Although, the course, the alphabet chin is just a convention... Louise, Sheffield UK I uncovered the complying with answer by just typing your question into google. It appears to cover most bases. For this reason why friend didn"t shot that is anyones guess: v . . ."The name "QWERTY" because that our typewriter keyboard comes from the an initial six letter in the height alphabet row (the one just listed below the numbers). The is also called the "Universal" keyboard for rather evident reasons. It to be the job-related of inventor C. L. Sholes, who placed together the prototypes that the very first commercial typewriter in a Milwaukee maker shop back in the 1860"s.For years, well-known writers have accused Sholes of deliberately arranging his keyboard to slow down fast typists who would otherwise jam up his sluggish machine. In fact, his engine were simply the opposite.When Sholes developed his very first model in 1868, the secrets were arranged alphabetically in two rows. In ~ the time, Milwaukee to be a backwoods town. The crude an equipment shop tools obtainable there can hardly produce a finely-honed instrument that operated with precision. Yes, the an initial typewriter was sluggish. Yes, it did clash and jam as soon as someone make the efforts to type with it. Yet Sholes to be able to figure out a method around the difficulty simply through rearranging the letters. Looking within his beforehand machine, we have the right to see exactly how he did it.The very first typewriter had its letters on the end of rods called "typebars." The typebars hung in a circle. The roller which held the paper sat over this circle, and also when a crucial was pressed, a typebar would certainly swing up to hit the file from underneath. If two typebars were close to each various other in the circle, lock would tend to clash into each other once typed in succession. So, Sholes figured he had actually to take the most typical letter pairs such as "TH" and also make sure their typebars hung at for sure distances. The did this making use of a research of letter-pair frequency prepared by education Amos Densmore, brothers of James Densmore, who was Sholes" chef financial backer. The QWERTY key-board itself was identified by the existing mechanically linkages the the typebars inside the maker to the secrets on the outside. Sholes" solution did not remove the trouble completely, but it was greatly reduced. The keyboard setup was thought about important enough to be included on Sholes" patent granted in 1878 (see drawing), part years after ~ the an equipment was right into production. QWERTY"s effect, by reduce those stroked nerves clashes, to be to rate up typing quite than sluggish it down.Sholes and also Densmore went to Remington, the arms manufacturer, to have their machines mass-produced. In 1874, the very first Type-Writer showed up on the market. No contemporary account complains about the illogical keyboard. In fact, couple of contemporary accounts even cite the maker at all. At its debut, that was greatly ignored.Sales the the typewriter did not take off until after Remington"s second model was presented in 1878, providing the only significant modification come the keyboard as we recognize it today. The first machines typed only funding letters. The brand-new Remington No. 2 readily available both upper and also lower situation by adding the familiar shift key. The is called a transition because that actually brought about the carriage to shift in position for printing one of two people of two letters on each typebar. Modern-day electronic machines no longer change mechanically when the shift key is pressed, however its name continues to be the same. In the years following the initial Remington, many alternative keyboards came and went. Then, in 1932, v funds from the Carnegie Foundation, Professor respectable Dvorak, that Washington State University, collection out to develop the can be fried typewriter key-board once and also for all.Dvorak went beyond Blickensderfer in arranging his letter according come frequency. Dvorak"s residence row provides all 5 vowels and also the five most typical consonants: AOEUIDHTNS. Through the collection on one side and also consonants ~ above the other, a unstable typing rhythm would be developed as each hand would tend to alternate.With the Dvorak keyboard, a typist can type about 400 that the English language"s most typical words without ever leaving the residence row. The similar figure ~ above QWERTY is 100 The home row letter on Dvorak do a full of 70% of the work. Top top QWERTY they do just 32%.The Dvorak keyboard sounds really good. However, a key-board need come do more than simply "sound" good, and also unfortunately, Dvorak has failed come prove itself exceptional to QWERTY. It shows up that countless of the studies offered to test the performance of Dvorak to be flawed. Countless were carried out by the good professor himself, developing a problem of attention question, since he had a financial attention in the venture. A U.S. General Services management study of 1953 shows up to have been more objective. It uncovered that it really didn"t issue what keyboard you used. An excellent typists kind fast, bad typists don"t.It"s not surprising, then, that Dvorak has actually failed to take hold. No one desires to take it the time and also trouble to find out a new keyboard, particularly if the isn"t convincingly premium to the old. A couple of computer programs and also special-order daisy wheels are available to transform modern typewriters or native processors come the Dvorak keyboard, however the demand for these products is small. ~ all, skilled typists can can do almost 100 indigenous a minute through QWERTY . Indigenous processors increase that speed significantly. The gains that Dvorak insurance claims to sell aren"t really needed." Tim, London England key-boards with other layouts room available; usually designed for world who have actually motor difficulties.One style has huge buttons v the usual letters grouped approximately the room button in the centre."Concept keyboards" are level touchpads which allow a key-board layout to be totally customised through as countless or few areas as desired.Microwriters have actually just a couple of keys and rely top top the pattern in which they room pressed to create letters. James Buller, London UK You space all wrong. The computer system keyboard is a direct copy that the typewriter keyboard, therefore why is the typewriter key-board arranged in a non-alphebetical order? The answer is so when they (typewriters) were first introduced they can easily be prove to display how timesaving the device would be by having actually sales to represent quickly form out the word "typewriter" as every one of these letters are found to be on the optimal row. Brian C. Amore, Hawthorne, NJ USA So, usually to sum things up,the modern computer key-board is based turn off of the qwerty design.And the was designed come inhibit keying so that the typewriter would certainly not overheat.Because these typewriter human being got to architecture the format of the keys, they placed the letter to "typewriter" all on one heat to do it much easier for typewriter salesmen come demonstrate.But her fingers don"t check out left to compose anyways, so who cares? Amanda, Greenville United says Ian that London (second reply) is not correct to indicate that no-one have the right to be "bothered" to redesign the computer keyboard. Provided the sheer number of QWERTY key-boards that must exist world-wide, it would certainly be fairly impractical, if not uneconomical, to change them now. Pete Wigens, Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK They go this to placed U and also I together. ;) Jacki , Boston, US include your answer