Why Are the Numbers On a Keyboard Arranged With the Lowest Numbers On the Bottom and Phones Are the Opposite?

Mechanical adding machines, based on rotating wheels, always have the 0 button adjacent to the 1 button.

By convention, most old adding machines had the numbers increasing in value from the bottom and this may be a hangover from when the machines had levers on the wheels rather than buttons.

When the numbers were put on to a pad arranged as a three by three grid with one left over, the order of the numbers, as far as possible, was kept the same.

On a rotary telephone dial the 0 comes adjacent to the 9 because a 0 in the telephone number is signalled by in pulses on the line.

When telephones acquired push buttons in a grid, the ordering of the buttons was carried over from the old telephone dial.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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