The first letter on a typewriter is QWERTY. It is one of the most common and well-known keyboard layouts in use today, having been developed in the 1870s to prevent typewriters from jamming.
The original layout was designed by Christopher Latham Sholes, who also created the first commercially successful typewriter. Sholes and his colleagues had been trying to develop a writing machine since the 1850s, but they were struggling with getting the keys to align properly.
In the late 1870s, they finally hit upon a solution: They would arrange them alphabetically in two rows on each of three columns (hence QWERTY). This way, when you pressed down on one key it wouldn’t collide with another key below it — because that’s where another letter was located!
This layout also helped keep typists from jamming up their machines by mistaking two adjacent keys for one another. The only problem was that this layout was really inefficient for typing quickly (which is why we still type so slowly today).
But that wasn’t much of an issue for Sholes and his colleagues — they didn’t care about speed anyway (most people were still using pen.
Last modified: September 6, 2022