Why Are the Keys All Mixed Up?

The familiar arrangement of letters used on English language keyboards known as QWERTY originated with the first commercially successful typewriters patented in 1878 by Christopher Latham Sholes. The purpose of his design was to prevent mechanical jams by spreading out the most frequently used letters.

Many alternative arrangements have been proposed over the years, most notably the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard introduced in the 1930s by Dr. August Dvorak. Though adopters of his design achieved faster typing speeds than possible with the QWERTY layout, it was never successfully marketed. Consumers were satisfied with what they had and could not be persuaded to relearn how to type.