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All Other Keyboards are Trash: A Complete History of IBM's Model M Keyboard

Articles in Peripherals | By August R. Garcia

Published 8 months agoSat, 12 Jan 2019 00:18:20 -0800 | Last update 5 months agoThu, 11 Apr 2019 01:05:36 -0700 📌

Be careful when carrying a Model M. If you drop it, you might damage your floor.

2,209 views, 2 RAMs, and 5 comments

Update 10 April, 2019: This article contains affiliate links for the Model M keyboard, since you should buy it. You can find the Unicomp Model M here, which I have literally bought like four of, and you can search for vintage IBM Model M keyboards here. Through these affiliate links, 256KB is paid a commission for any purchases that you make. No additional charges are incurred to you by using these links.


Upon seeing the IBM model M, you may have a few questions:

Why does this keyboard look like shit? Also, why is this keyboard so fucking loud?

- You

The unassuming IBM Model M keyboard shown beow, dated 26 April, 1986, was sold for $150 at Portland, Oregon's Free Geek thrift shop—a rate considered a steal compared to what most sell for online.

An IBM Model M Keyboard dated 25 April, 1986

These cocksuckers have been around since 1984 and they probably make whatever you're typing on right now look like shit.

Anyway, what's the deal with this keyboard? Here is some relevant content:

A Complete History of IBM's Model M Keyboard

History

Layout

You already know what the Model M's layout looks like, since you're typing on it right now. The layout of a modern QWERTY keyboard was defined by IBM's classic Model M.

But I am an asshole who uses DVORAK or am Japanese or some shit.

- Probably Some Asshole Reading This

Notably, the original Model M did not have Windows keys, because Bill "Users Shouldn't Have to Compile Their Own Drivers" Gates had not yet infected the planet with his proprietary garbage.

Normans Get Out - Part 1

Proprietary software is for casuals.

Normans Get Out - Part 2

That feel when.

Buckling Springs

The IBM Model M keyboard is defined in part by its use of "buckling springs," which are used to register keypresses and to make a fucking shit ton of sound.

An IBM Model M Keyboard with Various Keys Removed

The feel of these keys is substantially different from a generic keyboard that you'd find at a library computer lab, or possibly your house. To quote NPR correspondant Martin Kaste, "most keyboards today use rubber domes, little mushy blisters under all the keys. They're quiet, cheap, and good enough, but there's not much for your finger to feel on its way down. But with buckling springs, the feel is everything."

To get more technical about how these keys actually work:

In the starting position, the spring puts pressurs on a rocker, preventing it from closing the circuit. But,when you press the key down, the spring eventually buckles, tilting the rocker to contact a layer of membrane, and registering the stroke at the precise instant that you feel the tactile feedback.

- Linus "Nice Affiliate Links for Computer Parts" Sebastian in the video below

Direct Link to Video

Ignoring all of the technical aspects of how the springs work, the point is that they are superior to whatever you are currently using, unless it is a Model M.

IBM Model M Clones: Is There a Legit Model M in 2019?

While this keyboard is very nice, you'd have to be a complete autist to spend $300 on a keyboard from the eighties. Is there a version of this keyboard that could be purchased by, you know, someone who isn't a textbook case of Aspergers Syndrome? As concisely summarized by The Verge, yeah you can basically still get these mother fuckers through Unicomp

In 1990, IBM spun off its US typewriter, keyboard, and printer business into a new company called Lexmark. Six years later, Lexmark dropped its keyboard division during what Muyskens calls an industry-wide shift towards cheaper products. IBM continued to commission products from a factory in Scotland and, briefly, a company called Maxi-Switch, but the last IBM Model M — as far as we know — rolled off the production line in 1999.

You can still buy an official Model M for about $80, but it won’t wear the IBM badge. After Lexmark left the business, Muyskens and other former employees began slowly purchasing the keyboard’s intellectual property rights and manufacturing equipment, working under the name Unicomp. "We’ve had to change the electronics," Muyskens says. "The clamshell cover material was changed back in ’99. But pretty much everything else has remained the same."

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2014/10/7/6882427/king-of-keys

With that in mind, in 2019, you can still basically get an IBM Model M from Unicomp, who sells the keyboards shown in the image below for roughly $90 new (as opposed to several hundred dollars you'd spend on an early Model M). The keyboards are made with many of the same parts.

Unicomp Model M Keyboard

Notably, Unicomp's modern Model M keyboards:

  • Are black
  • Have two "Windows" keys
  • Use a USB connector rather than a PS/2 connector
  • Contain LEDs in the top right to indicate whether the num lock, caps lock, and scroll lock features are toggled on or off
  • Are made with the same parts as the original Model M keyboards, including the same buckling springs (pictured below)

Buckling Spring Under a Key in the Unicomp Model M

In Conclusion, These Keyboards Basically Spit in the Face of God

Unless you are a fucking casual, you probably already stopped reading this article to buy one of the finest Model M keyboards.

The Virgin vs. Chad IBM Model M

Be careful when handling your Model M. If you drop it, you might damage your floor.

Users Who Have Downloaded More RAM:
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eeeeeeee (7 months ago)
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Posted by August R. Garcia 8 months ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] Maya S. (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
• [2019-01-12 0:18 PST] August R. Garcia (8 months ago)
🕓 Posted at 12 January, 2019 00:18 AM PST

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Profile Photo - August R. Garcia August R. Garcia LARPing as a Sysadmi... Portland, OR
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Site Owner

Grahew Mattham

August Garcia is some guy who used to sell Viagra on the Internet. He made this website to LARP as a sysadmin while posting about garbage like user-agent spoofing, spintax, the only good keyboard, virtual assitants from Pakistan, links with the rel="nofollow" attributeproxiessin, the developer console, literally every link building method, and other junk.

Available at arg@256kilobytes.com, via Twitter, or arg.256kilobytes.com. Open to business inquiries based on availability.


Account created 9 months ago.
187 posts, 920 comments, and 274 RAMs.

Last active 6 hours ago:
Commented in thread Quality Content Dump: The Thread

Profile Photo - Jeb Bush Jeb Bush ??? Florida
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> 2040: Barron Trump wins the 2040 Presidential Election

TFW

Users Who Have Downloaded More RAM:
eeeeeeee (7 months ago)
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Posted by Jeb Bush 7 months ago 🕓 Posted at 26 January, 2019 07:13 AM PST

“I think [Jeb] wants to be president" - George W. Bush on Fox News

Profile Photo - eeeeeeee eeeeeeee Rope Wholesaler
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Quality User

did you make this after watching linus shill tips or are you a genuine autismalist?

Users Who Have Downloaded More RAM:
ramcups (7 months ago)
ramboss (7 months ago)
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rampp (7 months ago)
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Posted by eeeeeeee 7 months ago 🕓 Posted at 28 January, 2019 12:18 PM PST

buy cheap rope with Amazon Prime

Profile Photo - August R. Garcia August R. Garcia LARPing as a Sysadmi... Portland, OR
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Site Owner

did you make this after watching linus shill tips or are you a genuine autismalist?

My pronouns are he/him and my triggers are not having a numpad.

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0 Posted by August R. Garcia 7 months ago 🕓 Posted at 28 January, 2019 20:13 PM PST

Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.

Profile Photo - eeeeeeee eeeeeeee Rope Wholesaler
🗎 5 🗨 96 🐏 153
Quality User

My pronouns are he/him and my triggers are not having a numpad.

do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior, the "gaming mouse with num pad"?

Users Who Have Downloaded More RAM:
ramcups (7 months ago)
ramboss (7 months ago)
ramcat (7 months ago)
rampp (7 months ago)
ramyy (7 months ago)
🐏 ⨉ 5
Posted by eeeeeeee 7 months ago 🕓 Posted at 28 January, 2019 22:38 PM PST

buy cheap rope with Amazon Prime

Profile Photo - August R. Garcia August R. Garcia LARPing as a Sysadmi... Portland, OR
🗎 187 🗨 920 🐏 274
Site Owner

do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior, the "gaming mouse with num pad"?

I bet those are even good:

If there's one that has good build quality and that doesn't look like a rave, I'd even buy one. In the meantime, this is the computer mouse master race:

Download more RAM. 🐏 ⨉ 0 Posted by August R. Garcia 7 months ago

Edit History

• [2019-01-29 15:28 PST] August R. Garcia (7 months ago)
🕓 Posted at 29 January, 2019 15:28 PM PST

Sir, I can do you a nice SEO.

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