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Typewriter keyboard

From Academic Kids

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CircularKeyboard.jpg
an index typewriter with a circular keyboard

The 1874 Sholes & Glidden typewriters established the QWERTY layout for the letter keys that is used nowadays in Anglophone countries for virtually all computer keyboards and the majority of other keyboards. Other nations using the Latin alphabet may use variants of the QWERTY layout, for example the French AZERTY layout.

It is generally acknowledged that the QWERTY design was concerned with trying to minimize jamming of the keys. How this was accomplished is a matter of some dispute. It is easy to find claims that QWERTY was intentionally designed to slow typing down so as to minimize jamming, although there does not appear to be any hard evidence to support this claim. There were many other typewriter designs competing with QWERTY during the latter part of the nineteenth century although QWERTY eventually came to dominate the market. News reports of typing contests during that period indicate that QWERTY did quite well.

Radically different layouts such as the Dvorak keyboard have been marketed for many decades but have not been able to replace the QWERTY layout, despite the advantages claimed by their proponents. The Dvorak layout placed the frequently used letters in the home row in order to minimize movement of the fingers while typing most words. There is little dispute of this fact, although there is a great deal of dispute about whether finger movement actually increases typing speeds [See QWERTY].

Many non-Latin alphabets have keyboard layouts that have nothing to do with QWERTY. The Russian layout, for instance, puts the common trigrams ыва, про, and ить on adjacent keys so that they can be typed by rolling the fingers. The Greek layout, on the other hand, is a variant of QWERTY.

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