Just over 300 years ago, in 1714, Queen Anne of Great Britain granted a patent to Henry Mill.  Mill, who was an engineer, had come up with the idea of a machine that could write. The patent application suggests that the machine was a sort of early typewriter. But credit for the first modern typewriter or more specifically, the keyboard, goes to an American named Christopher Latham Sholes, a newspaper editor and printer who lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His colleagues in the venture were Frank Haven Hall, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule.

The keys on Sholes’ keyboard were arranged alphabetically – this caused problems as the keys of commonly used letters kept clashing. That is, until a new keyboard was introduced with the most commonly used letters kept as far apart as was possible. Thus, in the early 1870s, the Qwerty keyboard, still is use today, on typewriters, phones and computer keyboards, was born.

What did Sholes do next?  He sold his idea to E Remington and Sons and the modern typewriter quickly became an indispensable tool for practically all forms of writing other than personal handwritten correspondence. It was widely used by professional writers, in offices, and for business correspondence in private homes. Typewriters were a standard fixture in most offices up to the 1980s, when they were jostled out of position by computers.

Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is said to have written The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, on a Remington typewriter with a Qwerty keyboard in 1876.

More information on the Qwerty keyboard can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY


Martin Pollins

Managing Director at One Smart Place
Martin Pollins is a Chartered Accountant and MBA with wide experience in corporate finance and business management. He has served on the boards of several companies, including those listed on the London Stock Exchange, AIM and OFEX. He is Chairman and Founder of OneSmartPlace and was a Council member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales from 1988 to 1996. He was managing partner of PRB Martin Pollins, based in Sussex, the first Accountancy firm to advertise on British television.He went on to create and launch the CharterGroup Partnership (the UK’s first Accountancy network) and then LawGroup UK (at the time, one of the largest networks of lawyers in the UK). In recent years, he helped to raise several £millions to fund British films such as The Da Vinci Code, Bridge of San Luis Rey, Head in the Clouds and Merchant of Venice with actors such as Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, F. Murray Abraham. Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne, Geraldine Chaplin, Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou, Penélope Cruz, Steven Berkoff, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Irons, Joseph Fiennes and many more.

He has written over 700 business publications (see Glossaries at http://onesmartplace.com/resources/glossaries/) and is editor of Better Business Focus (see http://onesmartplace.com/resources/better-business-focus-magazine). His Blog, on a wide range of subjects can be found at: http://onesmartplace.com/blog/
Martin Pollins

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