Keyboard Layout Explained

The most advanced technologies of our time (including tablets, smartphones and computers) are still being directed by a system that was created by Christopher Sholes in 1873.
 
The system that was created then and that you probably just used to navigate to this very page is the QWERTY keyboard layout (named after the first six letters at the top left of the keyboard). Anyone who has ever typed anything has most likely used the QWERTY layout, as it has been the standard for how keys are arranged since Remington Arms Company adopted the style and took in global in 1873.
 
But why that order of letters? And why has the system never been improved upon or changed?
 
For starters, before the 1860s, keyboards and typewriters didn’t exist, so key order couldn’t even be considered. Then along came John Pratt’s Pterotype, which inspired Sholes to attempt to engineer his own fast typing device. Scientific American referred to Pratt’s machine as a “literary piano;” Sholes took that meaning rather literally, and made his first typewriter with black and ivory keys, and it was similar to many other typewriting machines of that era.
 
Jamming often occurred from the slow return of a keystroke and in the early typewriter models, and typebars would clash into one another as well. Sholes found that the specific arrangement of keys lessened the jamming and increased the typing speed. As a result, QWERTY was born.
 
And once this revolutionary machine was purchased by (then) E. Remington & Sons, QWERTY began infecting the globe and became the standard for all keyboard layouts. Even though a push for a better system was argued by August Dvorak (see the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard layout) and stenotypes used by stenographers are much more efficient, QWERTY is still the most widely used and recognizable keyboard layout on the planet.