July 26, 2017

History of the Keyboard: Happy 145th Anniversary

hard_working_on_computer_anim_7364More than 80% of Americans over the age of three (!) have at least one computer in the house today. Most of us don’t have its predecessor: the typewriter. But the typewriter keyboard was the forerunner of the computer keyboards we all know now. I just wanted to take a moment to wish the keyboard a happy 145th birthday!

On this date in 1868, an American named Christopher Sholes patented the first usable typewriter with the same “QWERTY” key organization we all know today. The keys were not placed in alphabetical order, but with the most-frequently used keys under and near the fingers of the trained typist (who, if you learned like I did, lines up his her left hand with the pinkie finger on “A” and the right hand with the pinkie finger on the semicolon, and both thumbs on the space bar).

Check out Sholes’ patents at Google Patents

It’s not hard to see how the invention of the typewriter (and later the computer) keyboard has revolutionized our ability to communicate. But it has had interesting “side effects,” too–like giving women ground-floor entrance to the business world. On this the 145th anniversary of the keyboard, think about it for a second–how does this one invention affect your life?


About Lisa

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show at www.GenealogyGems.com. She is the author of the books Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies and The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and the Google Earth for Genealogy DVD series, an international conference speaker, and writer for Family Tree Magazine.