The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard: Fact or Fiction?

The QWERTY keyboard has been a staple in modern computing for over a century. But where did this iconic design come from and is the story behind its creation fact or fiction?

The Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard

The QWERTY keyboard was first introduced in 1873 by Christopher Sholes, a Milwaukee-based newspaper editor and printer. Sholes wanted to create a faster and more efficient way for his reporters to type on their mechanical typewriters.

The design of the QWERTY keyboard was based on the idea of separating frequently used letters to reduce the risk of jamming in the mechanical arms of the typewriter. This resulted in the now familiar arrangement of letters on the keyboard, with the most frequently used letters scattered throughout the keyboard to prevent jamming.

The Legend of the QWERTY Keyboard

The story behind the creation of the QWERTY keyboard has been the subject of much speculation and debate over the years. Some believe that the keyboard was deliberately designed to slow typists down, in order to prevent jamming.

This theory is based on the idea that Sholes was in cahoots with typewriter manufacturers, who wanted to sell more machines by making typing a slower and more labor-intensive process. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim and it is widely regarded as a myth.

The Reality of the QWERTY Keyboard

In reality, the QWERTY keyboard was simply a product of its time. The mechanical limitations of early typewriters made it necessary to separate frequently used letters in order to prevent jamming.

Today, with the advent of digital technology, the mechanical limitations of typewriters no longer apply. Nevertheless, the QWERTY keyboard has remained the standard for keyboard design, due to its familiarity and widespread use.


In conclusion, the QWERTY keyboard is a product of its time and the story behind its creation is a mix of fact and fiction. The design was based on the need to prevent jamming in mechanical typewriters, and any suggestions of deliberate design to slow typists down are unfounded. Despite its mechanical limitations, the QWERTY keyboard has stood the test of time and remains the standard for keyboard design to this day.

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