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The QWERTY keyboard - Essay Example

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College
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Journalism & Communication
Pages 5 (1255 words)

Summary

The QWERTY keyboard The strange word QWERTY, with its capitalization of all the letters and absence of a letter “U” after the letter “Q”, defies the rules of English orthography and yet has become the marker of one of the most ubiquitous conventions of modern writing: the keyboard…

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The QWERTY keyboard

A quintessentially American invention, the QWERTY design demonstrates one of the key principles of human development: the triumph of culture over logic and the survival of a tradition which may not be the fittest for purpose, but certainly wins the prize for durability under pressure. The initial design of the typewriter keyboard was motivated by an intention to slow down the writing process, for technical reasons due to the tendency of the metal keys to stick if they were moved too fast (Baron 27). Through trial and error, early type writer inventor Christopher Latham Sholes from Milwaukee came up with the mechanically optimal arrangement of characters: in four rows, all in upper case (David 333). A further refinement was added by production partner Remington in the form of a letter combination which allowed the word “TYPEWRITER” to be formed using only the top row of characters. (David 27). So it was that the combined demands of technology limitations and sales ambition led to the final QWERTY format. As is the way of things in the modern world, technology moved on rather rapidly, and competitors soon appeared on the horizon, eager to take the ideas that had gone before and transform them into something better and cheaper than existing models. ...
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