qwerty

1929, from the first six keys on a standard typewriter keyboard, read as though text, from top left. Mechanical typewriter patented 1867; the QWERTY layout itself is said to date to 1887, dominant in U.S. from early 20c.; it is not meant to slow down typists, but to separate the letters in common digraphs (-sh-, -ck-, etc.) to reduce jamming of swing-arms in old-style machines. It actually speeds typing by requiring alternate-hand strokes, which is one reason the alternative DVORAK keyboard is not appreciably faster. Remnants of the original alphabetic typewriter keyboard remain in the second row of letter keys: FGH-JKL. The French standard was AZERTY; in Germany, QWERTZ; in Italy, QZERTY.

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