A keyboard layout with its origin in a layout by Christopher Shoales designed to slow
typists. QWERTY came about when Remington modified the layout so its salesmen could
type 'typewriter' using only keys in the top row of letters.

qux = Q = rabbit job

QWERTY /kwer'tee/ adj.

[from the keycaps at the upper left] Pertaining to a standard English-language typewriter keyboard (sometimes called the Sholes keyboard after its inventor), as opposed to Dvorak or non-US-ASCII layouts or a space-cadet keyboard or APL keyboard.

Historical note: The QWERTY layout is a fine example of a fossil. It is sometimes said that it was designed to slow down the typist, but this is wrong; it was designed to allow faster typing -- under a constraint now long obsolete. In early typewriters, fast typing using nearby type-bars jammed the mechanism. So Sholes fiddled the layout to separate the letters of many common digraphs (he did a far from perfect job, though; `th', `tr', `ed', and `er', for example, each use two nearby keys). Also, putting the letters of `typewriter' on one line allowed it to be typed with particular speed and accuracy for demos. The jamming problem was essentially solved soon afterward by a suitable use of springs, but the keyboard layout lives on.

The QWERTY keyboard has also spawned some unhelpful economic myths about how technical standards get and stay established; see http://www.reasonmag.com/9606/Fe.QWERTY.html.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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