Who determined the order in which letters on a keyboard placed?

Who determined the order in which letters on a keyboard are placed, and why in that specific order?

I tried searching in the archives but couldn’t find anything, but sorry if this has already been answered. =]

Here’s a link on the invention of the qwerty keyboard. Basically they are laid out that way to slow things down, so that mechanicla typewriters of old would not jam. Check out Dvorak keyboard layouts for fast typing - all the most frequently used keys are on the home row.

I believe the original typewriter layout (remember the things that had letters on blocks flying up at a carbon impregnated strip over paper) was based on frequency of use of varoius letters in order to prevent tangling of mechanism and even out the rate of impacting.

So commonly used letters (etoain - guess) are spread out with less commonly used ones.

Someone will soon give the exact frequencies of letter use in english.

Obvoiusly my typing was slowed down too much to pip porcupine.

Cecil speaks on the origins of the QWERTY keyboard. Short story: it was Christopher Sholes’ company (which produced the first practical typewriter) that came up with it. This was to reduce typewriter jamming by spreading out the most often used letters.

He also discusses Dvorak keyboards in the column.

Sorry about the typo in the thread subject line.

Is anyone here fluent in use of the Dvorak layout? How difficult would it be for someone efficient with QWERTY with switch to Dvorak?

A friend at work switched from qwerty to Dvorak. He went cold-turkey to Dvorak as recommended and was doing pretty well with it after a few days, including a few hours of using their tutorials. I’m not sure how long it took for him to get faster with Dvorak, though.

Good luck with getting faster with the Dvorak keyboard. IIRC the stats on speed with the Dvorak were faked. I’ll try and dig up a reference.

Oops, no need. There’s a link to in Cecil’s column linked to above.


IMHO, it’s not worth the time to learn if you want a speed improvement, but is well well well worth it if you want a comfort improvement. It confuses me why so many people equate better with faster, and if you switch, I think you’ll see why.

No, QWERTY is not not not a slowdown. Dvorak is not going to make you any faster or better. The studies that boosted Dvorak the most were conducted by Dr. Dvorak, inventer of the layout.

THE FABLE OF THE KEYS – by S. J. LIEBOWITZ and STEPHEN E. MARGOLIS, debunking the whining of the Dvorak camp.

Another intelligent site. – Shorter than the above, with this quote:

The author seems to agree with Achernar, but, again, the plural of anecdote is not data.

“Typing Errors” – Our pals Stan Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis, writing for Reason and debunking Dr. Dvorak’s claims of superiority.

Hmmmm, triple negative. I guess that means QWERTY is not a slowdown. :wink: