Friday, February 26, 2010

The father of the typewriter was Christopher Latham Sholes, who ran headlong into an unforeseen problem. His early machines, slower than the typists' fingers, kept jamming. To correct this problem Sholes carefully devised the QWERTY keyboard. He spread the most common letters---E, T, O, A, N, I---all over the board and ensured that frequent combinations such as "ed" had to be struck by the same finger so that the machine would not jam. In other words, the QWERTY keyboard was invented to slow down typing speed. -- William Hoffer: "The Dvorak Keyboard: Is It Your Type?", Nation's Business, Vol.73, No.8 (August 1985), pp.38-40.

The most frequent combination in English is "th", which ordinary has to be struck by different fingers. The second is "er"+"re", and the third is "he"+"eh". "ed" is less than half for "th" (cf. Roy T. Griffith: "The Minimotion Typewriter Keyboard", Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol.248, No.5 (November 1949), pp.399-436). "To slow down typing speed" is nothing but a hoax of Mr. Robert Parkinson, as I mentioned before.

Friday, February 12, 2010

When mechanical typewriters were developed, touch-typists had to be slowed down by inefficient keyboard layouts because their increasing dexterity would continually jam the mechanically slow machines. One of the most inefficient designs (by Christopher Scholes in 1873) was the QWERTY layout, which was adopted and mass-produced by Remington. More typists accordingly learned on the QWERTY layout, more companies therefore adopted the same layout, and a virtually unbreakable lock-in of the QWERTY keyboard resulted.-- Mark Mason: "Making Educational Development and Change Sustainable", International Journal of Educational Development, Vol.29, No.2 (March 2009), pp.117-124.

"Touch-typists had to be slowed down" is nothing but a hoax by Mr. Robert Parkinson, as I mentioned before. The QWERTY keyboard was invented by Mr. Christopher Latham Sholes, not Scholes (cf. U. S. Patent No.207559). E. Remington & Sons adopted QWERTY keyboard, but the other typewriter companies, including Caligraph and Hammond, offered their own keyboard arrangements, not QWERTY, in the 1880's.