ARTICLE SUMMARY: History is an amazing look back at where we were and where we are headed. Through history we can see the iterations of yesterday to the things we take for granted today.

There is an old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, as designers we are well aware of how true this is. Just look at the numeric keypad.

Francesco Bertelli‘s article “A brief history of the numeric keypad” Is a classic look back at something we use every day and probably have no clue how it came to be. It’s interesting that the keyboard came about sometime between the first and second industrial revolutions (from 1820 to 1920) and not earlier. Even more interesting is that

  • In 1887 Bell Telephone experimented with a push button phone before the rotary dial was used
  • “0” was not used on a keyboard until 1902
  • The 3 x 3 layout wasn’t used until 1914

The numeric keypad is another case study in how design is constantly improving the inventions of the past in an effort to make life better and easier for all.

If you are into history this article is for you. Even if your not into history there are a lot of interesting little factoids you may be surprised at.

This is well worth the read, who knows, this look back may inspire the next great design.

Let us know what you think in the comments.