QWERTY definition hardware
/kwer'tee/ (From the top left row of letter keys of most keyboards) Pertaining to a standard English-language typewriter keyboard (sometimes called the Sholes keyboard after its inventor), as opposed to Dvorak
or foreign-language layouts (e.g. "keyboard AZERTY" in french-speaking countries) or a space-cadet keyboard
or APL keyboard.
The QWERTY layout is a fine example of a fossil
. It is sometimes said that it was designed to slow down the typist, but this is wrong; it was designed to allow *faster* typing - under a constraint now long obsolete. In early typewriters, fast typing using nearby type-bars jammed the mechanism. So Sholes fiddled the layout to separate the letters of many common digraphs (he did a far from perfect job, though; "th", "tr", "ed", and "er", for example, each use two nearby keys). Also, putting the letters of "typewriter" on one line allowed it to be typed with particular speed and accuracy for demos
. The jamming problem was essentially solved soon afterward by a suitable use of springs, but the keyboard layout lives on.