History of Keyboards Layout Revolution Since 1868

The history of keyboards takes us back to the invention of typewriters. Therefore to know the background of the keyboards in-depth and accurately, you should start with the typewriters.

With that said, let’s go ahead and nurture your minds with the exciting background of the present-day keyboards.

Typewriters Invention

The history of keyboards takes us back to the invention of typewriters. Basically, back in 1714, a man with a scientific mind named Henry Mill invented a patent that looked similar to the later typewriters. He successfully presented two patents throughout his life but without any additional information.

A time came in 1865 when Rasmus Malling-Hansen put effort into inventing the first writing ball, named after its inventor. It was available for manufacturing in 1870 and was the first typewriter to be sold commercially. As for the layout of the Hansen Writing Ball, it had 52 keys arranged on a ball. It was a ball with a flat surface and made of porcelain.

History of Keyboards
History of Keyboards

Meanwhile, it attracted more people, and hence, the use of typewriters became common. Despite personal writing, it was used to help in offices, markets, and homes. Even though interestingly, they were invented in such a mass that most typewriters got similar designs as well. But unfortunately, its use faded with the invention of advanced typewriters.

First Typewriter with QWERTY Layout

Early in 1868, Christopher Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soule started efforts to invent an entirely new typewriter or modify the present with some advanced features. Finally, his efforts brought a typewriter with the layout of a QWERTY keyboard.

Layout of the QWERTY Keyboard

In 1873, Remington successfully manufactured the typewriters with the QWERTY keyboard layout which had 28 keys arranged on a black metallic surface.

Several manufacturers started adopting this feature because vast masses liked its functionality and design. Mostly it was similar to the earlier typewriter, but it resembled a sewing machine because it had a foot pedal to carry the carriage returns. It also had some pretty flowers on the sides and the front of the metal. Users had to press a button which pushed the hammer, causing an inked ribbon to type on the paper.

Addition of Keys to the QWERTY Keyboard

Modifications in the layout of the QWERTY keyboard kept increasing, leading to the invention of the Remington Typewriter 2. It had an addition of a shift key to the left side of the keyboard, eventually after ten years of the QWERTY discovery in 1878.

Then in 1880, Remington further modified the keyboard by allowing the users to type on the upper side of the roller. Further on, a tab key was discovered and added to the QWERTY keyboard to set up the margins in 1897.

Thomas Edison Contribution

His inventions are worth mentioning in almost every aspect of modern technologies. Here in the case of typewriters, Thomas Edison gifted us with the invention of the electric typewriter in 1872. It was operated electrically and had a printing wheel as well.

Although people did not adopt this invention for a long time, modern technologies are mainly based on his invented products in the present age, and none can deny it.

Evolution of Keyboards

The birth of keyboards is found to be associated with teleprinters. A teleprinter is a device used for sending and receiving texts by typing through a typewriter keyboard with the output result on a printed page.

Herman Hollerith Invention

Punch cards RE ALSO INVOLVED IN THE EVOLUTION OF computer keyboards. In computers, punch cards relate to the programs which control the computer’s functionality. Accordingly, in 1930, Herman Hollerith, a German-American statistician, invented a keypunch device. A keypunch device is used to punch holes into a complex page at some particular locations.

Later, with further advancements, some number and letter keys were added to that keypunching device. So that users can easily use that device for communication purposes, however, the first keypunch device was manual, and the latest ones are electromechanical.

Evolution of Computer Keyboards

MIT’s name is of great importance in this regard. It is the institute where the efforts to invent the first computer keyboard started.

You should remember that before the invention of the computer keyboard, punched cards were used to input the programs into the computers, which was a troublesome process. Also, only typewriters were the primary source of entering data into computers until the early 1970s.

Douglas Ross Contribution

At MIT, a mathematics professor’s assistant was researching how to enter the data into the computer by directly using the keyboard. His research succeeded in 1955 when he declared that an electrical typewriter associated with an MIT computer could be used as a keyboard.

MIT’s Whirlwind Invention

After a short time of this discovery, an MIT laboratory established a computer of the ages named MIT’s Whirlwind. It was the first ever computer that could use the keyboard to enter data into the computer. The layout of MIT Whirwind’s keyboard also followed QWERTY design and functionality.

Latest Version of the Keyboard

The present-day keyboards are the improved versions of the M; in 1984, a model of keyboards was invented by Lexmark and IBM.

They have advanced layouts. There are 104 alphanumeric keys with the specific design of numbers and alphabets. It also includes a section on navigational keys.

However, the keyboard which gamers use has some additional keys as well. Yet, some companies also manufacture keyboards with less than 104 keys.

Concluding the History of Keyboards

Consequently, this was a brief history of the keyboard.

However, since the future seems to be more technology-based, inventions are not stopped here. Therefore the keyboard’s journey will be also enhanced in the coming years. A time is expected when the use of the keyboard may be fully substituted by an enticing tool. You can judge it better by knowing that in the present day, a voice recognition tool has been used for writing instead of typing a letter on the keyboard.