70269Re: [TYPEWRITERS] Re: The demise of full keyboards.
- May 27The discussion has included some of the importantvreasons, but it has not focused on others of equal or greater importance. These include the dimuninant position of Remington (QWERTY, 4-row, single shift) that was not simply based on being the first. Remington was not successful until about 1882-83, when the American Writing machine’s full-keyboard Caligraph # 2 was beginning to be bought in larger numbers than in its first two years. The key was that Remington saw the problem of sales and dominance in terms of the creation of a workforce trained to use its typewriters and keyboard earlier than did American and at a much larger scale. It not only had its own training program, but it made deals with stenographic and business schools all over the U.S.. These deals included lower wholesale prices on their machines and free advertising suport for school trade catalogs and trade cards that included the Remington typewriters. Moreover, local branch offices of Remington (Wyckoff, Seamans, and Benedict), offered temp and permanent places,ent services for certified skilled typists on their machines. This often included credit for the typists to purchase their machines —originally, temps were expected to bring their own typewriters. In addition, Remington regularly threatened to sue competitors over everything from trademarked name infringement for example, “Standard” and “Type Writer”), but also over asserted patent infringement. Some of these threats became lawsuits, but most did not proceed to that point because competitors backed off. This tended to increase Remington’s dominance. Yes, American Writing Machine and, later, Hammond, Yost and Smith Premier, also made deals with schools and had employment departments, but at nothing like the scale that Remington did. Hammopmnd did not have a QWERTY keyboard until 1890, a point by which Remington was extrte,mely dominant, and SP’s and Yost’s double QWERTY keyboards were associated with training at a relatively few schools. The first company to match Remington in these strategies was Underwood, with its keyboard matching or similar to Remington’s, and it had the capital base buy 1904 and 1905 to pull it off. Oliver, with its 3-row QWERTY keyboard with the double shift. never quite escaped its identity as a home or small business typewriter (or a highly specialized manifolder among Remingtons and Underwoods in large business offices). Black until 1905 or so insisted on the superioriority of its double-shift “Scientific” keyboard, pushing potential clients to select it. As a first typewriter for small business people and hime users, the argument often worked. But not for larger businesses that employed people trained by schools and by using four-row single-shift machines. Remington’s answer to this situation of more competition was the Union trust, and four-row single shift machines like the Densmore and, in 1904, the creation of false flag companies like Monarch to compete with Underwood. By the time Remington’s own machines were dropped in 1914 and it offered the Remington # 10 in 1908, they were behind the curve in sales but not behind it with their keyboard and the success of Underwood. After WW1, when high school attendance increased for several reasons, Underwood and Remington competed intensively to get their machines into them and into their typewriter training classes. The competitors that still had three-row double-shift machines were doomed to fail. The very large majority of typist had learned on the four-row single shift machines, The battle was over, Oliver limped through the 1920’s, and machines like the Molle and Maspro died an early death. Only because Remington bought out Noiseless did their technology survive after Remington converted it to four-row single shift.Peter Weil
People are reluctant to change unless there is a much-improved method.There have been lots of keyboard configurations tried over the years, but the QWERTY keyboard eventually became the standard because it was first, the others were not *that* much better and because of the time required to learn a new layout it was practical to have one standard.
Horses were standard transportation for thousands of years until the automobile. Some people were reluctant to change, but because of the speed and convenience, the automobile became the standard.
So until someone comes up with something much better, the QWERTY layout will continue.
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