Animal Keyboard

The "animal keyboard," introduced by Smith Corona in the mid-1930s, was designed to teach children how to type by having pictures of animals on the keys of the typewriter. As explained by Merritt Ierley in his book Wondrous Contrivances:

The idea was to teach children to type by having the keys labeled for different animals. Hence, on the left hand, as the instruction book explained, “Little finger is birdie finger, third finger is doggie finger, second finger is bunnie finger,” and so on for each hand. As an added help, there was a matching animal ring for each finger. Despite its innovative charm, the animal keyboard seems to have had a short run and is virtually forgotten today except for one in the Smithsonian Institution.

The Antikey Chop website provides even more info about the animal keyboard, but I must be missing the point because I don't understand how having pictures of animals on the keys would make it any easier to learn how to type.

Allentown Morning Call - Jan 7, 1937

     Posted By: Alex - Mon Apr 06, 2020
     Category: Inventions | 1930s

Not having this device available, my friends and I learned that the middle finger is the birdie finger -- on either hand.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 04/06/20 at 12:22 PM
I learned my typing skills in the 1970's at high school. Boys never signed up for that class - it was for GIRLS! I was an oddity in that class, being the only male out of 32 students. I'm not sure if such a method would have worked for me, but I can use all ten fingers.
Posted by KDP on 04/06/20 at 03:36 PM
I guess the animals were there to replace the letter so the children would not watch the keys when they type. It's prettier than plain keys with no design.
Posted by Yudith on 04/06/20 at 08:17 PM
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