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Have you ever looked at a keyboard and wondered why the letters are not in alphabetical order? People have all kinds of theories to explain this. Some say it was designed to keep all the letters in the word typewriter in the top row, which helped salespeople show off. Others claim it’s a sneaky plan to slow typists down.

Today most experts believe this layout was created to keep typewriter keys from jamming. Each letter on early typewriters was attached to a metal arm. The metal arm moved when the typist hit a key. If the typist hit a key before the previous key had fully moved back, the arms could get stuck. The typist would have to stop and unjam them. In a QWERTY keyboard, letters that are often used close together (such as i and e) are far apart. This makes it less likely for the metal arms to get stuck.

Learn more about the QWERTY keyboard.

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