Dion Moult Seriously who ever reads this description.

The one and only IBM Model M Keyboard

Any computer enthusiast will tell you that whereas computers in general have been getting better over the years, keyboards have been steadily degrading in their preference for design rather than build quality. Simply put, all keyboards nowadays (characterised by mushy rubber dome chicklet keys) are terrible. If all of this sounds like a weird geek fetish to you, stop reading now. Otherwise, read this series of posts which will give you a good general knowledge of the subject.

I had been debating for a while now whether or not to invest in a proper mechanical keyboard. Given that I am mostly mobile on a laptop, lugging around another keyboard would be a pain. But recently I stumbled across an IBM Model M back from 1991 (there is a birth certificate on its back).

IBM Model M Keyboard

After giving it a thorough cleaning, I have been using this for a month now and it is a beauty to type on — I doubt I’ll ever go back to using a regular keyboard again.

A few gotchas for the uninitiated:

For those who have had the same dilemma as I did, make the switch. You won’t regret it.


hari says: (22 June 2013)

My brother bought the DAS Keyboard and swears by it. It is a keyboard similar to the IBM keyboard. It has n-key rollover, which means you can press simultaneously any number of keys and they all get recorded.

Dion Moult says: (22 June 2013)

Hey Hari – the DAS keyboards and the other modern mechanical interpretations are arguably equally good as the IBM Model M. However they all use (to my knowledge) the Cherry switches rather than the original buckling spring mechanism that the Model M sports. Also, there is something rather poetic about the old-school original with a DoB on its back :) But all in all, any modern mechanical keyboard is worth getting.

Good point about the n-key rollover. I suspect the model I have supports n-key rollover too, but with the USB adapter a quick test shows I’m now limited to 6 keys.

hari says: (22 June 2013)

For me, I am not a keyboard fanatic myself, but I have to say that keyboards are so important because they allow typing so fast if designed well. What with so many touch devices out there in the market with on-screen keys and the lack of tactile feedback, separate, full sized keyboards may end up being a niche market soon.

I actually own (and still occasionally use) a vintage, classic World War II Era German portable typewriter and I love its clicking noise. Now THAT’s a real vintage keyboard!

TheTypist says: (27 September 2013)

There’s a company called Unicomp that still makes these very keyboards: http://www.pckeyboard.com/

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