This Is Why It’s Called The “Shift Key”

It has perhaps the most weird name out of all the keyboard keys: the Shift key. But have you ever wondered how this handy key got its name? Well, that’s why we work day and night here at I’m A Useless Info Junkie, so we can give you the (useless) answers you seek.

As it turns out, the “Shift” key got its name from typewriter’s “Shift Lock” key.

You see, the first machines did not type lowercase letters, they only typed capital letters. At least until 1878, when the new Remington No. 2 was introduced to the market. The improved Remington No. 2 offered both upper and lower case characters and to achieve that, it added a new key to the standard typewriter keyboard. This new key was named the Shift key because it literally caused the carriage to shift up the case stamp to change from lower to capital letters and vice versa. (the article continues after the ad)

Of course, modern computers no longer need to shift anything in order to change the case, but the name remains the same.

Oh. by the way, the key was in the exact same position as it is today:

Photo: Brooks Boys Online

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: Why The Keypad Arrangement Is Different For A Telephone And A Computer?

Main Article Photo: Creative Commons,
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie

Sources: Consider QWERTY…the typewriter keyboard…the Universal User Interface…. | Antique Typewriters and Office Collectibles: Identification & Value Guide

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