Monday, April 27, 2009

I also wrote a second program, NADIST, to calculate the distances between all pairs of letters around the rim of a Sholes and Glidden type basket. The original letter arrangement around the basket was:

Figure by Richard E. Dickerson for NADIST
where * represents a number or a punctuation mark. The lower two rows of the keyboard alternate along the half of the type basket nearest the operator, from left to right, and the upper two keyboard rows alternate in a similar manner around the back rim of the basket. -- Richard E. Dickerson: "Did Sholes and Densmore Know What They Were Doing When They Designed Their Keyboard?", ETCetera, No.6 (February 1989), pp.6-9.

I investigated several Sholes & Glidden Type-Writers, and found that their type baskets are all arranged as shown below (top view). In fact, A is placed next to Q, not next to Z. And Z is in between S and C. Why did Dr. Dickerson make such a mistake?

Sholes & Glidden Type-Writer and its type basket


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