<hardware> /kwer'tee/ (From the top left row of letter keys of most
keyboards) Pertaining to a standard English-language typewriter keyboard
(sometimes called the Sholes keyboard after its inventor), as opposed to Dvorak
or foreign-language layouts (e.g. "keyboard AZERTY" in french-speaking
countries) or a space-cadet keyboard or APL keyboard.
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.
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