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Discover the Incredible History of Typing

Why Know Typing History?

Do you know much about the history of typing? Perhaps you should! It’s enlightening to learn about how something developed into what it is today. You’ll understand it more thoroughly and learn why we use the conventions we do now. Plus, it’s just interesting.

The History of Typing: A Story

The first typing machine ever imaged was patented in 1714. This automatic typing machine, as it was called, was intended to be used to type documents so that the letters would be evenly spaced and easier to read than handwriting. There’s no evidence, however, that this device was ever commercially produced or even ever made.

Accurate and Fast Retyping

Another typing machine, which was actually made, in 1808, was produced to make writing possible for the blind. His device brought with it the first carbon copy, revolutionizing the lives of office workers everywhere. In 1829 a device like the typewriter, but with a dial instead of keys, was created by William Jones for use of the blind. None of these models brought a lot of public enthusiasm.

Brazilian priest Father Francisco Jaâo de Azevado made the first real typewriter out of wood and knives; he constructed it entirely with homemade materials, an incredibly impressive feat for anyone now, let alone in 1861!

Finally, in 1867, two men named Sholes and Glidden invented what we know as the first mechanical typewriter, which was, indeed, called the type-writer. Note on the etymology here: we usually think of ‘type’ as the simple verb for, well, using what would once have been a typewriter. But the word ‘type’ here refers to printed type, as in typesetting. Typewriters were created to allow you to ‘write’ in neatly printed type which worked perfect for secretarial services!

brief history of typing

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Did you know that early keyboards were in alphabetical order? But because of the inefficiency of early typing mechanisms, jams were extremely frequent. For that reason, the boards were redesigned so that letters frequently pressed in sequence were as far away from each other as possible. Since the keys were heavy, equal distribution of weight made them easier to press, and when they weren’t hit rapidly in sequence, jams were significantly reduced. The QWERTY keyboard made typing easier for early typists – though the layouts varied depending on country. The calculations to see what language used what words in sequence was complex, and in France, for instance, the first row was not QWERY but AZERTY.

Regardless, because our keyboards are no longer hard to press and don’t jam, in practical terms, this means that modern keyboards are actually designed to be inefficient. Simplified layouts such as the Dvorak layout from 1936 were created to remedy this once typewriters became more efficient. Dr. August Dvorak, the inventor, even made one-handed keyboards for typists who could only use one hand!

Sadly, none of the efforts of these innovators have caught on; we continue to use the inefficient QWERTY because it’s simply familiar to us. Well – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

The Evolution of Typing

Now you know something about typing. If you’re a beginner, maybe you should learn the Dvorak and scheme through some typing tips. If you’re already speedy, you can be impressed at yourself for excelling on such a tricky keyboard. Either way, we hope you have enjoyed this short history lesson about typing. It’s fascinating that even everyday processes have such complex histories.

Share the exciting history of typing with you friends!