Tuesday, November 21, 2006

It seems obvious that the traditional typewriter keyboard---the "qwerty" or "Sholes" keyboard---presents many difficulties for novice typists. The arrangement of the letters on the keyboard seems arbitrary and difficult to learn. The keys were organized by the Sholes brothers in 1873 to minimize the jamming of type bars in their early design of the typewriter. They placed the keys that were typed successively as far apart on the keyboard as possible, so that the type bars would approach each other at a relatively sharp angle, thus minimizing the chance of jamming. -- Donald A. Norman and Diane Fisher: "Why Alphabetic Keyboards Are Not Easy to Use: Keyboard Layout Doesn't Much Matter", Human Factors, Vol.24, No.5 (October 1982), pp.509-519.

The Sholes brothers? Mr. Christopher Latham Sholes and whom? Mr. Henry O. Sholes was at Lawrence, Kansas, in 1873 when Mr. Christopher Latham Sholes invented QWERTY keyboard at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Charles Clark Sholes was at Kenosha, Wisconsin, but he died there on October 5, 1867 (cf. "Died", The Kenosha Telegraph, Vol.28, No.19 (October 10, 1867), p.2, l.1-2). No brother could help Mr. Christopher Latham Sholes when he organized QWERTY keyboard. Furthermore, most-commonly-typed letter sequence in English is "th", which is placed adjacently on the QWERTY keyboard. The second is "er" + "re", also placed in the neighborhood of one another. They never stay far apart on the QWERTY keyboard.