On June 23rd 1868, the typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard still in use today and was patented by Christopher Sholes.
What is the QWERTY keyboard?
(Pronounced kwer-tee). QWERTY refers to the arrangement of keys on a Standard English computer keyboard or typewriter. The name derives from the first six characters on the top alphabetic line of the keyboard.
The arrangement of characters on a QWERTY keyboard was designed in 1868 by Christopher Sholes, the inventor of the typewriter. According to popular myth, Sholes arranged the keys in their odd fashion to prevent jamming on mechanical typewriters by separating commonly used letter combinations.
However typewriter’s’ had been invented as early as 1714 by Henry Mill and reinvented in various forms throughout the 1800s. It was to be Sholes, who invented the first one to be commercially successful.
What came first: the typist or the keyboard?
The answer depends on the keyboard. A recent article in Smithsonian’s news blog, Smart News, described an innovative new keyboard system that proposes a more efficient alternative to the ubiquitous “universal” keyboard best known as QWERTY – named for the first six letters in the top row of keys. The new keyboard, known as KALQ, is designed specifically for thumb-typing on today’s smart phones and tablets.
One such invention was an early typewriter, which he developed with Samuel W. Soulé, James Densmore, and Carlos Glidden, and first patented in 1868.
The earliest typewriter keyboard resembled a piano and was built with an alphabetical arrangement of 28 keys. The team surely assumed it would be the most efficient arrangement.
By 1890, there were more than 100,000 QWERTY-based Remington produced typewriters in use across the country. The fate of the keyboard was decided in 1893 when the five largest typewriter manufacturers Remington, Caligraph, Yost, Densmore, and Smith-Premier merged to form the Union Typewriter Company and agreed to adopt QWERTY as the de facto standard that we know and love today.
One of my typewriters I have at home on display is 1914 Royal Typewriter.
The Royal Typewriter Company was founded in January 1904 in a machine shop in Brooklyn, New York by Edward B. Hess and Lewis C. Myers.
Did you know the British novelist Ian Flemming, who wrote the James Bond novels, would use a Royal Typewriter, including Ernest Hemingway.
I bet you didn’t know there other things you can do with a typewriter than just typing words. Today’s YouTube video clip below is from user name maichols, about the artist Leslie Nichols, the typewriter artist.
Notable typewriter manufacturers included E. Remington and Sons, IBM, Imperial Typewriters, Oliver Typewriter Company, Olivetti, Royal Typewriter Company, Smith Corona, Underwood Typewriter Company, Adler and Olympia Werke.
The IBM typewriter, came out on June 16 1911, IBM stands for International Business Machines.
The Smith Corona Typewriter came out in 1866, established by the brothers Lyman Cornelius Smith, Wilbert Smith, Monroe C. Smith and Hurlburt Smith.
The Imperial Typewriter Company was a British manufacturer of typewriters based in Leicester, England.
E. Remington and Sons (1816–1896) was a manufacturer of firearms and typewriters. Founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, on March 1, 1873 it became known for manufacturing the first commercial typewriter.
The Oliver Typewriter Company was an American typewriter manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The Oliver Typewriter was the first effective “visible print” typewriter, meaning text was visible to the typist as it was entered. Oliver typewriters were marketed heavily for home use, utilizing local distributors and sales on credit. Oliver produced more than one million machines between 1895 and 1928.
Olivetti S.P.A. is an Italian manufacturer of typewriters, computers, tablets, smart phones, printers and other such business products as calculators and fax machines. Headquartered in Ivrea, province of Turin, the company has been part of the Telecom Italia Group since 2003. The first PC can be assigned to Olivetti as the Programma 101, produced in 1964 and a big success in the US market.
In lieu of today’s story, as you type away into the sunset, remember how on June 23rd 1868 the type writer patent from Christopher Sholes had started today!
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell