Look at your keyboard ― What does QWERTY stand for? Is it a word?

Most of us take our keyboards for granted. If we’re touch typists, we automatically position our fingers above the same eight keys and our muscle memory takes over. We just type!

(What are those eight keys called? And what do they have to do with a popular Google search? Read about that here.)

But our keyboards have an interesting history. Most English language keyboards have a QWERTY layout. And QWERTY isn’t an acronym or neologism. The name is simply the first six characters in the top far left row of letters. A Milwaukee newspaper editor and printer named Christopher Sholes invented the QWERTY layout. He sold the design to Remington in 1874, the year the format debuted on typewriters.

Sholes was also one of the inventors of the “Type Writer,” an early text-producing machine. The first version had problems caused by type bar jamming. In an effort to resolve the problem, Sholes eventually ditched the machines’ original alphabetical key arrangement and moved toward the QWERTY layout. Did you know that with the QWERTY keyboard thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, but only a couple hundred can be composed with the right?

Do you use an alternative to QWERTY, such as Colemak or Dvorak Simplified Keyboard? Let us know which you prefer.