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The fastest typist in the world is PicklePower. Here's why

Posted By Tony Rust

The fastest typist in the world is PicklePower. Here’s why.

You might ask, ‘Who is the World’s Fastest Typist’.  I'll tell you who is The Fastest Typist in the World,  and why, and it's none of the names that you'll currently find on the Internet who claim to have that title. 

I say that as someone who has been responsible for running online Weekly and Monthly Cash Prize Fastest Typist Competitions for over 15 months and continuing.  The person who I believe is The Fastest Typist in the World, or his username rather,  is PicklePower

And now I’ll set out the reasons why I believe that PicklePower is The Fastest Typist in the World. 

PicklePower lives in the USA and  has competed in bsbltyping.com online Weekly and Monthly Cash Prize Fastest Typist Competitions.  In the bsbltyping.com Weekly £10 Prize Fastest Typist Competition No.13 in June 2020 he earned the title first of Champion,  and then went on to become a Weekly Winner Hall of Famer, achieving a top score of 167 WPM with 100% first-time accuracy in that time.

The Weekly £10 Prize Competition measures the speed and accuracy of a typist over a one minute period.  The number of first-time accurate keystrokes that PicklePower made during that one minute period was 835, equivalent to almost 14 keystrokes per second.  There are few living organisms in nature that beat or move at that speed, but PicklePower’s brain-eye-finger co-ordination achieved that, and with stunning 100% first-time accuracy.

Later in the year, in the bsbltyping.com September 2020 Monthly £30 Prize Fastest Typist Competition, PicklePower stunned us all by achieving 147 WPM with 100% first-time accuracy in this competition which involves  typing 500 words (2,500 keystrokes).  Although not as high a speed as the One Minute Competition, it still works out at over 12 perfectly accurate keystrokes per second.

These are two amazing feats of human dexterity and extraordinary hand-eye co-ordination and established PicklePower as the fastest typist in the world in these two fast typing disciplines.

Let’s compare the above performance with the available information which appears when you search online for ‘world’s fastest typist’ or ‘world record typist’.

When you do a search in Google to find out who is the fastest typist in the world, what is displayed is the name Barbara Blackburn, but it is followed by this statement:- "The highest typing speed ever recorded was 216 words per minute (wpm), set by Stella Pajunas in 1946, using an IBM electric typewriter. Currently, the fastest English language typist is Barbara Blackburn, who reached a peak typing speed of 212 wpm during a test in 2005, using a Dvorak simplified keyboard."  So, Google gives you two names as the answer, and you then figure out which one to use.  That’s not a very clear answer to the question but it does introduce the notion that perhaps Stella Pajunas set her record speed in a language other than English.

You can see a video of Stella Pajunas at https://www.pond5.com  but this doesn't seem to be a record of the actual 216 WPM record setting performance.  And there’s no mention anywhere over what period of time the 216 WPM was set; was it 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 minutes; an hour?  There’s nothing online that I can find that provides facts and evidence about the detail of Stella’s fast typing records.  I heartily agree with the narrator of the video though,  that Stella certainly looks to be   charming, friendly and vivacious.  And the fact that she  typed at the rate of 140 WPM for one hour in an international competition on a standard IBM typewriter is a very impressive achievement.  But there’s nothing that I can find that shows what she typed and with what degree of accuracy.

Moving on to Barbara Blackburn who’s record is said to be of ‘a peak of 212 WPM’ (exactly what does that mean?) during a test in 2005 using a Dvorak simplified keyboard.  But in any case, I would discount this record because it isn’t a standard QWERTY keyboard which is used by the majority of people.  You might as well have a world record typing speed based on the stenography machine used in courtrooms; it doesn’t count as a fastest typist record on the standard computer keyboard that the vast majority of us use.   Whether or not the Guiness Book of Records proclaims Barbara Blackburn as  the world’s fastest typist, or not, she didn’t use a standard QWERTY keyboard and that, as the saying goes, is that.  She might well hold the record for a Dvorak keyboard, but she doesn’t hold it for a QWERTY (or local language equivalent, like the AZERTY or QWERTZ layouts) keyboard, and that is what most people’s understanding of  how the world’s fastest typist record should be set.

I have researched the term ‘burst speed’ and ‘peak speeds’  in relation to world record fast typing speeds which have been achieved, but information is very thin on the ground, as is most information about world records for fast typing on a conventional QWERTY keyboard in a conventional manner (for the purposes of this article I’m ignoring fast typing records for nose typing and the like, as entertaining as those things might be).

So, what other names appear when you search for the world’s fastest typist? Well, a video of  Sean Wrona always appears close to the Barbara Blackburn searched text.  Sean has a legitimate claim to the title, having won a competition that was held in 2010 called the Ultimate Typing Championship And if you go that route, then the in only the second of those competitions, held ten years later in 2020,  Anthony ‘Chak’ Ermolin as the second only winner also has a claim to the title.  But neither has 100% accuracy in this typing competition that has only been held twice in ten years.  So, as good as Sean and Chak are, they are, they aren’t as good as PicklePower.

Who else?  Well, that’s the point at which the Internet seems to run dry.

Or does it.  It was only because as part of my research for this article  I was listening to a YouTube video by Sean Wrona that I learnt of the name Robert Messenger, a man who has written a truly authoritative blog called ‘The Last Days of Speed Typing Glory’.  I’m perplexed as to why this  excellent blog doesn’t appear prominently when you search for ‘the world’s fastest typist’ but maybe it doesn’t contain enough keywords.  I won’t plagiarise Robert Messenger’s blog, I leave a link below.  I’ll just say that if you want to know anything about typewriters and or Champion Typists from the days of typewriters, then this is the website to visit.   And on the subject of authoritative sources of information, Sean Wrona himself is working on a book, ‘Nerds Per Minute’,  about his own typing experiences as someone who held the title of The Fastest Typist in the World for the decade from his time of winning the inaugural Ultimate Typing Championship in 2010.  It should be a good read.

There are also a number of top race game typing websites – 10fastfingers.com, nitrotype.com, typeracer.com and others – who all have their lists of top fast typists, and they show some very, very fast word per minute speeds but the duration of the typing in these games is very short, often less than 30 seconds.  It’s often not what you’d call typing in the conventional sense, it’s all about ‘burst’ speed.  Also, and very importantly, they are all subject to computer algorithms which make adjustments for keys pressed incorrectly and then give a ‘corrected’ words per minute score. 

Even the Guiness Book of Records doesn’t have record for one minute typing on QWERTY keyboard.  The closest I can find is of  Carole Forristall Waldschlager Bechen who in April 1959 “attained with a ten-word penalty per error on a manual machine in five minutes a speed of 176 wpm” at Dixon, Illinois, USA on 2 April 1959.  That’s an incredible speed, even if it had been achieved on a ‘works tuned’ typewriter, but even so, it is an adjusted words per minute speed.  It’s not raw, first-time accurate typing.

Based on all of the above it’s clear that there is no absolute standard for anyone claiming the title of The World’s Fastest Typist. 

So how do you decide who is the World’s Fastest Typist?

Let’s look at some pertinent definitions:

  • Typing - the action or skill of writing something by means of a typewriter or computer.
  • Typist - a person who is skilled in typing

These two definitions define who and what they do.  But they don’t define a standard.  We’re looking for the best; no mistakes; we’re looking for perfection.  That leads to only one more definition.

  • Perfect - as good as it is possible to be.

In the context of the world’s fastest typist, that has to include the highest degree of first-time accuracy, and that means 100%.

Accepting that 100% accuracy is the only standard of typing perfection then computer algorithms  should play no part in the determination of a true Word Per Minute score.  You could score 200 WPM with 98% accuracy but the typist who scores 167 WPM with 100% first-time accuracy is the better fast typist. 

There is need to determine who is the Fastest Typist in the World but it’s clear that there is no one answer to this question because the answer depends on what is being typed.  Don’t be mislead by headline statements of 220 WPM or even 400 WPM , these are always over a short burst speed, and rarely 100% first-time accurate and may refer to inputting text into a mobile phone or other device.  The qualifier as to what the claimed speed actually refers to should always be a prominent part of the claim.

Typing competitions or typing championships in the days when typewriter manufacturers used such events to promote there machines were themselves of different types.  They were generally of different durations, such as five minutes or an hour of typing or anything in between.  So even then there were different world records to try for, and different holders of the title ‘The World’s Fastest Typist’. 

There is a need to be a framework for the title of the World’s Fastest Typist,  a framework that sets the specification of the title.  It is the intention of bsbltyping.com to set standards for the award of the title of The Fastest Typist in the World’.  The first element of the standard is that achievement will be based on the QWERTY (or local equivalent) keyboard layout.  The next will be the duration or the number of Words/Keystrokes.

Durations

  • 15 Second Burst Speed
  • 30 Second Sprint Speed*
  • One Minute
  • Five Minutes
  • One Hour

Words/Keystrokes

  • 500 Words (2,500 keystrokes)

We will be releasing more information with regard to these standards but for the present moment,   bsbltyping.com,  with the experience and the authority of running regular online Weekly and Monthly Cash Prize Fastest Typists Competitions, determine that The World’s Fastest Typist over a one minute period  is the competitor known as PicklePower who achieved a validated score of 167 Words Per Minute and 100% first-time accuracy in the bsbltyping.com Weekly £10 Prize Fastest Typist Competition No. 13 held in June 2020. 

We further determine that PicklePower is the World’s Fastest Typist over 500 words (2,500 keystrokes) with  147 Words Per Minute and 100% first-time accuracy in the Monthly £30 Prize Fastest Typist Competition No.3 in September 2020.  These records have not been broken as at the time of writing (1st July 2021)

About the author

Tony Rust is the Managing Director and Chief Product Designer of the Better Skills Better Life Ltd.’s range of Typing Testers, Typing Tutors and Typing and Language Tutors.  Tony’s expertise in typing skills and training goes back over 30 years to 1988 when he designed a typing tutorial for the then ground-breaking hand held computer, the Psion Organiser II.  The product was called ‘The Finger Organiser’ sold worldwide and a proficient user of the typing method could achieve over 50 words per minute using just a thumb and three fingers.  Tony then went on to design the Fingers for Windows range of typing and typing and language products which he exhibited and sold in many language variants in many countries throughout the 1990’s.  These were designed from the outset to make the process of learning to touch type easy and quick, using a ‘3 Level System’ of practice.  He has designed and overseen the development of a wide range of software products including software for the Japanese company, Sharp, and has spent many years training people in the use of productivity software.  With all of these products he says that the key to real productivity is the ability to use the computer keyboard well.  Never one to settle for the status quo, Tony recently spent ‘three and a half happy years’ in China honing his martial arts skills at a Kungfu Academy and then a year and half on a Chinese Language course at Ludong University.  During this period, he also managed to find time to qualify – with Distinction - as a TEFL Teacher (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) with the Dublin based TEFL Academy.

 More about the author on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyrust/