Two Fingered Talent - The History of Typing
Plenty of people who use computers and keyboards today haven't the faintest clue about how to type. If you're one of those people, you may have earned some teasing and jokes aimed in your direction as you hammer out business correspondence or homework with the "two-finger" method. Well, the joke is on them, and you can tell those who laugh at your lack of typing skill that you're just honoring the original typewriter!
That's right; the first typewriters were designed for two-fingered tappers just like you! However, typewriters were invented to help blind people, and if you're reading this, eyesight probably isn't an issue for you. Nonetheless, the first typewriters were aimed at blind people to allow them to read by feeling embossed letters on paper.
The typewriter, as we know it, came along in 1866, though the idea of one dates back to 1714. Christopher Latham Sholes and two other men, Carlos Glidden and Samuel Soulé, built the first practical typing machine in 1866, though, and Sholes obtained a patent in 1968. The Remington Gun Company was the manufacturer of the machines. Who would have thought that a company famous for guns had anything to do with typewriters? In fact, it took one more patent and another three years for Sholes, Glidden, and Soulé, to produce a model close to the typewriters we use today.
We have Mrs. L.V. Longley to thank for that, as she developed the method for ten-fingered typing in 1978. Touch typing, or memorizing the location of keys and not needing to look at the keyboard to hit the right letters, was Frank McGurrin's concept. But Sholes was the one to hit on the idea of the QWERTY layout, the standard keyboard layout used today. Since typists back then were getting faster at their skill, something had to be done to slow them down and keep machines from jamming. The QWERTY layout was the perfect answer.
QWERTY layouts don't make much sense, though, and August Dvorak decided to do something about it in 1936. His new keyboard layout was more ergonomic and allowed typists to type faster, but by then, QWERTY had caught on and no typewriter manufacturer wanted to start changing things or asking people to retrain.
Interestingly enough, IBM could've revolutionized the way we type today, with the introduction of the PC. They didn't seem to realize that PCs would be used by people who really didn't have any typing skills to begin with and that the QWERTY legacy didn't make much of a difference to those individuals. On top of that, modern keyboards didn't have jamming issues and layouts to slow people down were a thing of the past.
Basically, the keyboard you're using today is one that was designed for individuals who lived over a century ago in very different worlds than we do today. It's funny that, for all our technology, we're using outdated typing technology! So when people poke fun at your lack of skills, you can honestly say that you're right with the times! Why not go one step further, and challenge your ten-fingered typist friends to a speed test?