Friday Reads: Shift Happens by Marcin Wichary

Shift Happens tells the story of keyboards like no book ever before, covering 150 years from the early typewriters to the pixellated keyboards in our pockets.

It’s a book about typists competing during the Shift Wars of the 1880s; Nobel-prize winner Arthur Schawlow using a laser to build the best typo eraser; August Dvorak – and many others – trying to dethrone QWERTY; Margaret Longley and Lenore Fenton perfecting touch typing; Soviet agents listening to American keystrokes; women pouring into offices, eager to do more than typing and re-typing; people aspiring to make the best mechanical keyboard today by blending the past and the future.

This is the only book that connects the world of typewriters to the universe of computers. Whether you’re into vintage typewriters, classic clicky IBM keyboards, or modern mechanical wonders, it will have something for you. None of the above? Get ready to become a keyboard nerd anyway, and look at an everyday boring QWERTY slab with newfound respect.

You’ve never seen a book on technology like this. Shift Happens is full of stories – some never before told – interleaved with 1,000+ beautiful full-color photos across two volumes. This edition features an extra volume of additional illustrations and “making of” material, and everything comes wrapped in a slipcase. It’s a great gift for keyboard or typewriter aficionados, but also suits everyone who cares about design, the stories of everyday objects, or tech history.


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