Ever wonder why the keypads on phones and calculators are the opposite?

phone and calculator numbersHere’s a fun little “Did You Know” blog post for ya. Did you ever even notice the numbers on a calculator (or number pad on a computer)and a telephone are the opposite? I will be honest here and say I never really noticed it (or I just never thought about it) – when someone told me this fun fact recently, I had to turn on my iPhone and compare it to the number pad on my computer to confirm!

We use calculators, computers, and cell phones on a daily basis – so why isn’t the layout the same on all of these devices? Well the answer is that no one really knows for certain why this is – but there are a few theories out there. One of the most popular theories is that the numbers on a touch tone phone are modeled after the old rotary phones – the 1 is at the top and the 0 is at the bottom – since people were so used to using rotary phones when touch tone phones were introduced.  Another theory has to do with the numbers on a phone matching up with the alphabet. According to ABCnews.com – “When it came time to match letters of the alphabet up with the numbers, putting 1-2-3 across the top made a lot more sense because it was the most natural way to get ABC in the top row. If 7-8-9 had been at the top, one of two things would have happened — the letters and the numbers would have run in opposite directions, or PRS would have been the first set of letters. Either arrangement would have seemed very odd.”

Just a fun little piece of trivia for you to impress your coworkers with! :)

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2 Responses to Ever wonder why the keypads on phones and calculators are the opposite?

  1. Ann Meagher says:

    Oh man! This has been a long time gripe of mine. I have had to redial so many phone and fax numbers.

    • Staci says:

      Haha one of my coworkers brought it up to me after he had been using a calculator all morning and then tried to make a phone call and messed up the numbers!

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