Taken from posts by Laura Agadoni, Mateo Zeske, DarrylRehr.
The "QWERTY" arrangement on a keyboard is the most common keyboard layout. Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter in 1868 with the keys in alphabetical order, but fast typists made the keys jam. The QWERTY arrangement was designed to slow the typists down. The idea is that most words in the English language require the user to cover more ground on the keyboard. The QWERTY format kept the typewriter from jamming as much because the most common letters were on opposite sides of the type bar, which kept the rods that held the keys from clashing and sticking. The biggest competitor to QWERTY is the Dvorak keyboard. August Dvorak designed a keyboard in 1932 that put vowels and the consonants people use most all on the middle row of the keyboard, thus greatly increasing the typing speed. Despite more than a century of efforts to dislodge it... QWERTY survives. It is the keyboard peopleLOVE to hate, but it is as much a cultural standard as the Roman alphabet. Fun Fact: The word "typewriter" can be written entirely with letters from the first row of keys. Many speculated this was the reason for the QWERTY arrangement.