Profession: Inventor of the QWERTY Keyboard
Why Famous: While Sholes did not invent the keyboard, he integrated and innovated upon the work of prior inventors in this area. One of Sholes earliest models—made with fellow printer Samuel Soule and a lawyer and amateur inventor, Carlos Glidden—was referred to in a Scientific American article as a 'literary piano.'
Notably, the QWERTY keyboard which Sholes is best-known for inventing was designed to slow typing so as to prevent the jamming of typewriter keys from too-fast typing.
This design has continued, despite the fact that jamming is no longer a problem for computer keyboards. Some have suggested alternative keyboards would be more efficient—for instance, the Dvorak keyboard.
- 1868-06-23 Christopher Latham Sholes patents the Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful of its kind