A while back I took apart a daisywheel typewriter.

Today, I’ll look at the daisywheel itself.

If you were designing a daisywheel, your first instinct would be to put all the letters on there more or less in order. a-z then A-Z and numbers and symbols.

That’s not what’s on the wheel however.


So, that’s the order on the wheel.

What’s the significance?

The real intent is to spin the wheel around as little as possible to spell out the most common words that it’ll be pressing onto the paper.

So, take a look at the middle of the lowercase section:


Those are exactly the most common words in the English language. “e” of course being the most common, flanked by the other vowels on one side and “clshtn” on the other.

I’ll check to see what percentage of words in the language can be spelled with those. This is actually more tricky since I’m looking for a weighted percentage based on the likelihood that a word is really used.

Kinda cool, eh?