Who invented the ‘Escape’ key? The story of a button with more than 50 years

Apple introduced its new range of portable MacBook Pro, looking like main novelty having implemented a secondary OLED display on the keyboard. They have called Touch Bar and help make easier controls some applications, but to squeeze Apple had to sacrifice a veteran with decades of history, the button ‘Escape’.

Yes, it’s that little key you can read ESC and is located on the top left of your keyboard. If you are young perhaps almost never you used, and that is the vision of Apple too, but it is a piece of computer history that 50 years later is still present in virtually all computers. But who created it and why?

Escape key

Image Source: Google Image

Who and when invented the ‘Escape’ key?

The key ‘Escape’ was invented in 1960 by Bob Bemer, IBM programmer. At that time, computers from different manufacturers communicate with various types of codes, and Bemer invented the ESC key as a way for programmers could change from one to another type of code quickly and easily.

When thanks to the efforts of Bemer own and many other computer worldwide codes were standardized, the key evolved into a kind of switch on the computer, a way to force them to stop doing what they were doing for the user regained control.

Why ‘Escape’ and not another word? Some believe it is a little anxiety in him, and he wanted to serve as the key panic button. You see, Bob Bemer, or Bob Bemer, it is also known to develop COBOL language in 1959 or create the ASCII code in the sixties. It was also the first to warn about the Y2K bug and the possible catastrophic consequences it could have which years later became known as effect 2,000.

You may also like to read another article on Lab-Soft: Is the mute button one of the best kept secrets of Apple in its iPhone?

But times change and nobody need panic buttons on a keyboard. In fact, except in the world of programmers, producers of TV or PC gamers, fewer and fewer people use this key. So in the end it was logical that some manufacturers of computers, like Apple, had just venturing remove it from their keyboards.

But each time it is used less

In this chart Google Books Ngram Viewer, a tool that measures the frequency of search terms over time, we can see an example of the rise and fall of interest in the ‘Escape’ key. He lived its golden age between 80 and 90, but in the last two decades the interest, and therefore use, have been falling.

Again, in many areas it is still used, and many of us will still give you two or three times a day to this key. But it is a reality that increasingly is used less, and although it will remain important in some areas, for home users is a fairly dispensable key. Apple Will there marked the starting gun to disappear from our keyboards? Only time will tell.

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