Thursday, August 03, 2006

Printing Telegraphic Dispatches. -- The Western Union Telegraph Company is now putting in a new patent telegraph printing machine on the Chicago line and hereafter dispatches transmitted over this line will be printed as they are received at the office in this city. The machine is furnished with keys similar to a piano, each key representing a letter in the alphabet, and by a peculiar mechanical arrangement each letter is printed as it is received at the office. Thus all mistakes arising from blind chirography will be thoroughly appreciated by our citizens. The machine will be put into operation this afternoon. -- Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Vol.24, No.232 (October 9, 1867), p.1, l.4.

On the days around in 1867 Mr. Christopher Latham Sholes often visited the office of the Western Union Telegraph Company in Milwaukee (cf. Chas. E. Weller: The Early History of the Typewriter, La Porte (1921)). Keyboard of Hughes-Phelps printing telegraphHe saw the Hughes-Phelps printing telegraph there. Its key­board looked like a piano, arrang­ing A to N left to right and O to Z right to left (shown right, taken from U. S. Patent No.26003). Mr. Sholes adopted a piano-like keyboard in his Type-Writing Machine, in which he could place but twenty-one keys (U. S. Patent No.79265) and later twenty-eight keys (cf. "Writing by Machinery", Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Vol.26, No.236 (October 6, 1869), p.1, l.4). He changed the keys into button-like ones in April of 1870 (cf. Chas. E. Weller: The Early History of the Typewriter, La Porte (1921)) when he invented a new Type-Writer with a four-row keyboard, in which each row consisted of ten or eleven keys (U. S. Patent No.182511 but it has only three rows). In his new model Mr. Sholes moved vowels to the upper row of the keyboard in order to put the twenty-six letters in ten columns (shown below, taken from Koichi Yasuoka: "QWERTY Revisited", Journal of Information Processing and Management, Vol.48, No.2 (May 2005), pp.115-118). This is the origin of QWERTY.

Origin of QWERTY


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