Before there was QWERTY….

Blickensderfer Typewriter #7

Before there was QWERTY keyboard layouts, there were a number of others.

At left is a Blicksenderfer Model #7 typewriter from circa 1897.

It featured the DHIATENSOR layout, referring to the arrangement of keys in the bottom row, not the top row. Given the same notation, modern day QWERTY would be ZXCVBNM,.

Go figure.

This, along with the next typewriter, were in the Science & Technology room of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. Can’t recommend it highly enough!! GO!

In any case, here is a detailed picture of the type-head mechanism. The Blicksenderfer had an easily interchangeable type head to enable easy typeface changes.

Bennett $18 Typewriter

A little more than 10 years later, the world had standardized on something pretty close to the modern QWERTY keyboard layout.

At left, is a Bennett typewriter from circa 1910. QWERTY is where you might expect, but other keys are in quite different locations, the space bar being neither a bar nor at the bottom of the keyboard.

Quite a bit of change in the last 110 years!!

2 Responses to “Before there was QWERTY….”

  1. Luc J says:

    Looks like a modern Dvorak keyboard layout 🙂
    No, really, it seems to follow the same philosophy, grouping characters on a row according to the frequency of use.

  2. von says:

    Should be Luc, because it’s a bit old and if it’s arranged according to use, it wouldn’t be too hard to use.

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