Christopher L. Sholes

Born: 1819
Birthplace: Danville, Pa.

Typewriting machine—Publisher and politician Sholes invented the first practical typewriting machine (the name was coined by the Scientific American journal). His chief innovation was the development of the QWERTY keyboard, which is still the one most commonly used today. In this arrangement, the most common letters of the alphabet were placed far apart so that the machine's type bars had time to fall back into place before the next one came up. As a result, Sholes's machine was less subject to jamming and made for more efficient typing. (2001)

Died: 1890