I have absolutely no musical skills. None at all. Or so I thought. Until I discovered I’d been playing the literary piano for more than forty years (yikes!! I’m soooo old). And, I’m guessing all of you know how to play it as well. ‘Literary Piano’ was a term used for the typewriter at the beginning of its creation.
A printer/newspaper editor/politician named Christopher Latham Sholes is credited with inventing what we know today as the typewriter. At the time, the ‘literary piano’ was in existence, but it was clumsy and inefficient. In 1868, Sholes came up with a new version that could type sentences more quickly than he could write them.
Sholes called it “the typewriter.” Since he didn’t have the funds to manufacture the device, he typed out letters and sent them to potential investors. James Densmore offered to invest, but regretted it when he saw the prototype. The device printed letters on the underside of the paper, and you couldn’t see what you were typing, it only printed capital letters, and unless you were a typing expert, the keys constantly jammed. This was a bit of a problem since Sholes was the ONLY expert typist in the world.
They worked to resolve the flaws and Shole sold his share of the patent for a few thousand bucks. Densmore, however, became a millionaire.
Part of Shole’s efforts for the device was designing the layout of the keyboard. In 1873, the license for the typewriter was sold to Remington, and they re-designed the keyboard into the one that is still used today. Don’t you find it funny/interesting that, with all of the modern technology and advancements, the keyboard has remained the same? Even today’s computer keyboards still use this same layout. Muscle memory is a hard thing to retrain, so I for one, am glad they haven’t changed it. I have enough trouble keeping up with all the new stuff I HAVE to learn.
Supposedly, the current QWERTY layout was created so salesmen could impress customers by typing out the brand name, "TYPE WRITER QUOTE", from one keyboard row. The story is unsubstantiated, but it's kind of interesting, so I'm going to pretend it's true. :)
Little did I know back in junior high when I took the typewriting course, that it would come into such good use decades later. I actually disliked the class. I sucked at typing, and I didn’t really care to learn, because I didn’t plan to work in an office (which I have done many times over). I guess it didn’t really occur to me that I would need it in my dream job as a writer. :) (I’m still not an excellent typist. I type really, really fast, but with a bazillion errors.)
What about you? Do you remember learning to type? Did it come easy for you?