Newcomers to the MacOS operating system may notice changes in their familiarity with this environment. Although, in general, there aren’t many changes from Windows, it is true that you need to get used to new concepts, like Finder, applications folder, etc.
And when it comes to taking a look at the keyboard, there is one that gets a lot of attention. We are talking about the command key on the Mac. It is the equivalent of the Windows flag, and it opens the door to perform many operations and tasks, such as screenshots or some cool shortcuts. But this strange symbol has a somewhat mysterious origin… What is it
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The mysterious origin of the command key on Mac
This symbol is actually called the “Solomon’s Knot” and is used in many countries in northern Europe. For example, in Finland from the 1950s and in Sweden in the 1960s, its appearance somewhere indicates a site of cultural interest, like a hermitage. There are more modern hypotheses that indicate that this symbol corresponds to the aerial view of Borgholm Castle, the work of King Canute I and destroyed in 1806, although it was later rebuilt. It was also one of the old Finnish mornedas, although since the adoption of the euro in 2002 it has been lost.
And how do you find a European symbol on the keyboards of every Mac in the world? To do this, we have to go back to August 1983, and the anecdote comes from the mouth of Andy Hertzfeld, engineer who developed the Macinstosh in the 80s. When developing Mac computers at the time, it was important that the user could call each menu command directly from the keyboard, so we wanted to add a special key to the keyboard to call the menu commands.
This key would be called “Apple key”. When you press it in combination with another key, select the corresponding menu command. To do this, a small Apple logo, the apple, was displayed on the right side of each menu item along with a keyboard command, to associate the key with the command. One day in the late afternoon, Steve Jobs broke into the software development area at Bandley 3, and he was upset by something, something normal about him. I had just seen MacDraw for the first time, which had longer menus than in other apps. “There are too many apples on the screen! It’s ridiculous! We take the Apple logo in vain! We must stop doing it! ”
After being told that the command key symbol should be displayed with each item, Jobs said it would be better to find a different symbol instead of the Apple logo, and as this affects manuals and keyboard hardware, there were only a few days left to find something else. It’s hard to find a little icon that means “order,” and the matter was a bit on the back burner. The person responsible for bitmap development was Susan Kare, and she had an extensive international symbol dictionary and leafed through it.
He looked for a suitable symbol that was distinctive, attractive, and at least had something to do with the concept of a menu order. Finally, fell on a floral symbolThis has been used in northern Europe to indicate an interesting cultural feature or attraction. She made a 16 × 16 bitmap of the little symbol and showed it to the rest of the team, and everyone liked it. And the story is this, it still continues on the keyboards of every Mac sold. ⌘
Susan is also responsible for many of the fonts used, such as Chicago, Geneva or Monaco, as well as HappyMac, the smiley logo that was used on Macs when starting the computer. Much is due to this designer, and The mystery of the curious history of the control key is finally solved. By the way, do you dare to listen to classic Mac sounds? You have them in this YouTube video.