QWERTYUIOPASD and FGHJKLZXCVBNM? History of the QWERTY Keyboard
The arrangement of the letters QWERTYUIOPASD and FGHJKLZXCVBNM must be familiar to you. Or you know but forgot to see where? The arrangement of QWERTYUIOPASD and FGHJKLZXCVBNM is the arrangement of letters that you find on your typewriter, computer, laptop, and even your mobile keyboard. This keyboard is named the QWERTY keyboard in general. The name comes from the first 6 letters of the arrangement of letters on the keyboard. This QWERTY keyboard is a type of universal keyboard used for writing Latin alphabet letters. If there is a question, why the arrangement of letters is QWERTY, not ABCDEF like the usual alphabetical order, all of that has history and reasons.
A typewriter is one of the first-word processing technologies launched in the world and is also considered the forerunner of computer devices. The typewriter itself was first created and invented by Christopher Latham Sholes and his creation sold commercially in the market. Before Sholes, there was the name of Henry Mill and William Justin Burt who was touted as the creator of the typewriter. But, unfortunately, the typewriter they both made was imperfect. Even the typewriter works longer than when writing by hand. Therefore, do not be surprised if typewriters made by Bury and Mill are not sold in the market.
The imperfect typewriter was then successfully developed by Christopher Latham Sholes and two of his colleagues, Samuel W. Soule (a printing expert) and Carlos S. Glidden (a mechanic). However, during the development process, Soule resigned from this project and was later replaced by James Densmore, a businessman who supported the project financially. After a long process, the first typewriter appeared with the name Sholes and Glidden typewriter. Seeing the success of the machine, the company E. Remington and Sons bought and patented the technology in 1873, under the name Remington No. 1. However, the best-selling product on the market and gained high popularity was when Remington No. 2 appeared in 1878. After that, the Sholes typewriter was finally used by many people, like aristocrats, professional writers, and office workers.
Initially, the typewriter was created using a keyboard with an arrangement of letters ABCDEF. It’s normal, like the alphabetical order that we know. However, it turns out that the arrangement of letters ABCDEF at that time made typists type too fast. This made the typewriter experience problems at that time. The typewriters created by Sholes often experience mechanical failures and jammed when pressed.
Sholes accommodate all the problems of his findings and try to find the right solution. On the advice of his colleagues, Sholes decided to randomize the arrangement of letters on the typewriter keyboard of his invention. Then create the arrangement of letters in your smartphone, laptop, and PC at this time. Namely the arrangement of letters QWERTYUIOPASD, for the first 13 letters, and FGHJKLZXCVBNM for the next 13 letters. For Sholes, the QWERTY letters he made were the most complicated. This he created to reduce typist speed in typing. He has a clear goal, namely by slowing down typists in typing, then mechanical failure may not happen again.
The arrangement of the typewriter was finally revealed on a computer keyboard, and the QWERTYUIOPASD letter arrangement was formalized as an ISO (International Standard Organization) standard keyboard in 1973. Actually, besides the arrangement of letters QWERTY, other letters are also popular. The arrangement of letters is called the ASK (American Simplified Keyboard), or commonly called DVORAK which was discovered by Dr. August Dvorak around 1940. However, the keyboard with the arrangement of DVORAK was not used because, according to the results of the study, it was considered to still have the potential to make someone type quickly – which ultimately led to a typewriter malfunctioning. Then it was decided that the DVORAK arrangement should not be made up of letters in the ISO standard.
On a computer, the keyboard is one of the media for important data input. Its main function is to send signals in the form of letters, numbers, or symbols to the CPU (Central Processing Unit) to become a digital signal that is easily understood by the processor. In its development, the QWERTY keyboard does not only consist of letters but also numbers from 0 to 9. This number keyboard has a standard arrangement or ISO, which is above the QWERTY key. However, in addition to that, there are also additional or separate keyboard numbers, which are to the right of the Space key. This number keyboard is present on keyboards for PCs and several types of laptops. Also, as digital technology develops, such as computers, keyboard functions are added. Not only are QWERTY letters and numbers arranged, but they are also given function keys and cursor control keys.
That’s the history and development of keyboard keys that we know, QWERTYUIOPASD and FGHJKLZXCVBNM, or QWERTY. The arrangement of the letters does not appear suddenly or carelessly made. There is a strong background to make it what it is today.