Have you ever wondered why the keys are in such a strange order on keyboards? I have. I've known this answer for years, but taking a break from writing Sexton Sand, I thought I'd share it with you.
"QWERTY" (pronounced Kwert-ee) is named for the order of the letters of the first row of letters on standard keyboards. It wasn't always that way. Initially, the keys were in alphabetical order.
The first typewriters (and they were made this way for many years) were mechanical devices. When the typist pushed a key, the key lifted a little hammer-like arm that smacked the letter against a ribbon that smacked against the paper and made a mark. Each key had it's own hammer-like arm.
If the typist went too fast, the little hammer-like arms made a metallic "clang" and stuck together. They had to be pushed back manually and resulted in ink smeared fingers and ink smeared pages.In 1878, a couple of smart guys (smartasses, too in my opinion) by the names of Christopher Sholes and Amos Densmore decided to slow typists down.
They slowed them down by arranging the letters on the keyboard so the important ones (like "a" and "s", etc.) were on the left side of the keyboard, and other important keys (like "m" for example) were on the lower right. The theory was that typists would have to hunt and peck and therefore would go slowly enough that jamming the machine would be the least of their worries.
Two things make this story a little humorous: 1) Typists in those days typed full-time. It didn't take them long to learn the new keyboard and start jamming keys all over again. 2) The other thing is human nature: if you make a major change like that--re-arranging a keyboard--the change will stick once the grousing stops and people get used to it.
As proof of #2, I submit the following: Take a look at your keyboard. Odds are very great it's a QWERTY keyboard.