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Comment: There is a legend that the Reminton-Rand keyboard layout, also known as
the QWERTY style keyboard, was deliberately designed to slow typists down,
due to the inability of early mechanical typewriters to handle fast
typing. Is this true?

Additionally, the Dvorak keyboard is allegedly conducive to
considerably fast er typing speeds, due to superior layour of the keys.
There is conflicting information available about this.

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D. Dodge Silver
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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Comment: There is a legend that the Reminton-Rand keyboard layout, also known as
the QWERTY style keyboard, was deliberately designed to slow typists down,
due to the inability of early mechanical typewriters to handle fast
typing. Is this true?

Additionally, the Dvorak keyboard is allegedly conducive to
considerably fast er typing speeds, due to superior layour of the keys.
There is conflicting information available about this.

Regarding the QWERTY keyboard, there was a paragraph in my Introduction to Keyboardng textbook that claimed that the keys were arranged to have commonly used pairs of letters far apart from eachother in order to keep the hammers from striking the page at the same time.

But, if that's the case, why didn't they just re-order the hammers, and leave the keys in alphabetical order? And, why are "er", "ty", and "sa" together? Those are fairly common combos.

D. Dodge "D is for Dvorak" Silver

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quote:
Originally posted by D. Dodge Silver:
[
But, if that's the case, why didn't they just re-order the hammers, and leave the keys in alphabetical order? And, why are "er", "ty", and "sa" together? Those are fairly common combos.

Because, according to legend, it was more important to have the one word "typewriter" all on one line so that the salesmen could ytpe it out quickly to impress the customers.

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Posts: 7767 | From: Paradise Ceded | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
BCE
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
But, if that's the case, why didn't they just re-order the hammers, and leave the keys in alphabetical order?
I think it's more to do with the mechanical design of typewriters. Each key was more or less directly aligned with its corresponding hammer.

I don't think it would be possible to have, for example, the "A" key on the upper left side, while the "A" hammer was on the right middle. Imagine the tangle of crossing and interweaving levers and hinges!

BCE

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Rommel
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Then wouldn't it have made sense for the "typewriter" keys to be in the middle row instead of on top? I find it easier to type those letters, because the fingers are already over those keys.

I've heard conflicting reports on this one, but if it wasn't to slow typists down or space the hammers, what was the reason for the QWERTY layout?
About.com says the legend is true:
quote:
The type-bar system and the universal keyboard were the machine’s novelty, but the keys jammed easily. To solve the jamming problem, another business associate, James Densmore, suggested splitting up keys for letters commonly used together to slow down typing. This became today’s standard "QWERTY" keyboard.

I seem to remember reading an article somewhere refuting this, but all the articles I can find right now all agree.
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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by BCE:
quote:
But, if that's the case, why didn't they just re-order the hammers, and leave the keys in alphabetical order?
I think it's more to do with the mechanical design of typewriters. Each key was more or less directly aligned with its corresponding hammer.

I don't think it would be possible to have, for example, the "A" key on the upper left side, while the "A" hammer was on the right middle. Imagine the tangle of crossing and interweaving levers and hinges!

BCE

Quite right. The hammers are pretty simple mechanically speaking. Switiching them around would require much more space and make some keys more difficult to push then others.

Beach...spreading the common letter out amongst different fingers makes for faster typing...Life!

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Avril
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While it may seem that having the keys in alphabetical order would make typing faster, I think once you've learned the layout, it makes no difference. You'd still have to learn where keys were if they were arranged alphabetically, and I'm slowest on the keys with the most "logical" arrangement--the numbers, in order, right there at the top--because I use them least often. I've heard the QWERTY legend, but it doesn't make much sense to me, since within a few months, you're probably typing just as fast as you would no matter how the keys are arranged, because you've memorized where they are.

The letters I find hardest to reach are the ones used least often--Z and X. Why wouldn't the people wanting to slow us down put Z and X on the "home row"?

Av "flying fingers" ril

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the Virgin Marrya
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so true. and, anyway, have you really found it any easier using the alphnumeric keypad to send text messages via telephone. (it's not the only reason you end up pressing the keys with your thumbs)
or how about the rinky-dink digital diaries with alphabetical keyboards. - too hard, right?!?

AND where are all those evolutionists to prate on about adaptation and all that. Personally I'd trade my opposeable thumb for a decent tail and venemous fangs.

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Van Couver
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Don't know if OT or not

But the keyboard that I have actually is a

QWERTZ keyboard

For as the Z is a lost more used in German than the Y. Whereas the y is placed down at the yxcv row.

bg
Van COuver

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GravyTrain
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quote:
Originally posted by Avril:
[QB] While it may seem that having the keys in alphabetical order would make typing faster, I think once you've learned the layout, it makes no difference ... since within a few months, you're probably typing just as fast as you would no matter how the keys are arranged, because you've memorized where they are.[QB]

Avril,

as someone that has successfully converted to the Dvorak keyboard layout, I can personally verify that the above is simply not true. Phenominal speeds can be achieved with the Dvorak layout for several reasons:

1> The more common letters are easier to reach. Home row keys are aoeuidhtns, the upper row [it's easier to reach up than down] is ',.pyfgcrl and the bottom row has many monstrosities: ;qjkxbmwvz.

Less distance travelled with the fingers = more speed and less stress.

2> There is a direct correlation between typing speed and what percentage of two letter combinations alternate hands - in otherwords, it's far faster to type a word with lots of left-right-left-right strokes that all with one hand.

The Dvorak layout, as you may notice, has all the vowels on the left hand, encouraging far more alternating hand strokes. The longest one-handed word on a Dvorak keyboard is 'papaya'. I can't count how many massive one-handed words there are on a standard QWERTY keyboard ('monopoly', 'stewardesses', 'westward', 'defecated' come to mind immediately, many many more exist)

3> There are several VERY common consonant combinations that are close to each other. One poster talked about how ER and TY were close, and how they were common. On the Dvorak, they tend to have an 'outside-in' motion, which is easier to hit than an inside-out motion. Notice NT, SH, NTH, ST, and SN are all done with the 'strumming' motion.

My top speed is almost 90 WPM when typing natural English and I know exactly what I want to say. This compares quite favorably to my top speed on QWERTY which was barely over 50WPM.

...

As for the legend in the original post, well, studies were done that show how the typist using a Dvorak keyboard has far less distance to cover with his fingers to type everyday English (over 7 times farther required using the standard QWERTY keyboard) and since that is a strong correlation to maximum attainable typing speed, the fact that the original alphabetical layout (the remnants of which you see in the middle row) is similarly superior to the QWERTY layout (only by about a factor of 2) should suggest strong evidence that the legend, indeed, is true.

Incidentally, there are keyboards FAR superior to the Dvorak, but they look like they came out of Star Trek. Among the changes - they've gotten rid of the original diagonal slanting of the keys (which was only in place to facilitate the way the key hammers worked) and there are 2 4x4 squares of keys, and the left thumb is used to hit the 'E' key...

GT.

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