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Definition: QWERTY keyboard


The standard typewriter keyboard layout used throughout the world. Q, W, E, R, T and Y are the letter keys starting at the top left, alphabetic row. Designed by Christopher Sholes, who invented the typewriter, the QWERTY arrangement was organized to prevent people from typing too fast and jamming the mechanical keys. The QWERTY layout was included in the drawing for Sholes' patent application in 1878. See keyboard, AZERTY keyboard and typewriter.

   QWERTY LAYOUT

     Q W E R T Y U I O P
      A S D F G H J K L ; '   Home Row
       Z X C V B N M , . /







QWERTY Goes Way Back
This Hammond Multiplex typewriter, which used a QWERTY keyboard, was offered in 1913 with two fonts that could be quickly switched. (Equipment courtesy of Dorothy Hearn.)






They Do Jam
Even QWERTY keys could jam if the person was a careless typist.