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A remarkable fact

March 25, 2018

Here is a most remarkable fact. On a qwerty keyboard – originally designed for typewriters, remember – what is the longest word that can be written using the letters from only one row?

Answer: typewriter. (From the top row.)

Isn’t that the most extraordinary coincidence?

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7 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    And the longest word typed with alternating hands is skepticism.

    • Ah – didn’t know that. But it only works with the US spelling, of course.

      • Simon Carter permalink

        True but it’s one of those things most people feel the need to check for themselves!

  2. Duncan permalink

    That sent me straight to the Wikipedia page. It does seem likely the developers were aware you could make the word typewriter from that row, and who knows if that influenced the final layout? Not that it being the longest possible word follows from that.

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    My understanding was that the QWERTY layout was carefully arrived at so that the letters that were most commonly used were kept furthest apart on the layout of the hammers of the typewriter (and thus the keyboard) to prevent them from crashing into one another when typing fast. Last summer on holiday I had to use a computer with a French keyboard. The French keyboard was quite different in layout which was exceptionally difficult to adjust to; a touch-typist, I had to go back to pecking away with two fingers.

    • Yes, you’re right. Now that nobody uses typewriters any more and there are no hammers to jam, it would make sense to get rid of the qwerty layout and replace it with something more ergonomic. But qwerty is just too well entrenched now and it’s never going to be replaced. At least in the English- speaking world. I didn’t know French keyboards were different.

  4. Simon Carter permalink

    Also before the invention of keys a dial was used to select the letters so the operator rather than the the machine was called a tyoewriter.

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