Technology

Lawrence “Larry” Tesler: Cut, Copy and Paste Inventor Dies at 74


Lawrence Larry Tesler, computer scientist who invented the cut, copy and paste feature in computing, is dead.

Mr Tesler was one of the early icons of the new computing world. He started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people.

Among his inventions was the “cut”, “copy” and “paste” commands – that the personal computer became simple to learn and use.

larry tesler lawrence copy cut past inventor

Tesler died this week, according to Xerox, where he spent part of his career.

“The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler,” the company tweeted.

“Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas. Larry passed away Monday, so please join us in celebrating him.”

Tesler graduated from Stanford University and specialized in human-computer interaction, employing his skills at Amazon, Apple, Yahoo, and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

The cut and paste command was reportedly inspired by old time editing that involved actually cutting portions of printed text and affixing them elsewhere with adhesive.

Tesler created the idea of ‘cut, copy, & paste’ and combined computer science training with a counterculture vision that computers should be for everyone,” the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley tweeted yesterday.

The command was made popular by Apple after being incorporated in software on the Lisa computer in 1983 and the original Macintosh that debuted the next year.

Mr Tesler worked for Apple in 1980 after being recruited away from Xerox by late co-founder Steve Jobs.

He spent 17 years at Apple, rising to chief scientist.

He went on to establish an education startup and do stints in user-experience technology at Amazon and Yahoo.


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