Typists across America quickly employed their collective thumbs in 1893 after a Phoenix court reporter conceived of – and applied for the patent on – a center space bar for typewriters.
Its purpose, to conveniently create space between words, was hastened by its unusually large size – deftly designed for ambidextrous use.
In the ensuing 129 years, the opposable thumb’s connection to keyboards has remained a hot topic. Since 2007, Apple has introduced, improved upon and done away with the thumb-operated home button – and Google is searching for ways to, ahem, make space on Chromebooks by eradicating the bulky, horizontal bar.
– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100