Weekly Writing Prompt #21
This week in history sees the first patent of the typewriter. It was hardly an original idea and there had been patents registered by others for machines like a typewriter. But credit for the first modern version goes to Christopher Sholes, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1868.
The problem with his first machine though was that the keyboard was arranged alphabetically, as anyone would expect then. But as operators learned to type at speed the metal arms holding each letter often became entangled.
Sholes studied the problem with his partner Amos Densmore and worked out which letters were most often used. They then put them as far apart as possible on a new keyboard, reducing the chance of clashing arms as they would be coming from opposite directions. And thus the 'Qwerty' keyboard we all know, was born.
Thanks to Sholes and Densmore, Remington began producing typewriters just a few months later. One of their early customers was Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, one of Twain’s most well known works, published in 1876, is widely believed to be the first novel ever written on a typewriter.
So this week's prompt comes from that very book. Enjoy.