Steven Spielberg's beamspring?


12 Feb 2024, 02:22


Ran across this photo of Steven Spielberg in his office, circa 1982. What kind of a keyboard is that? Looks like a beamspring to me, but I'm not an expert.

I dug around for more photos, but this is all I could find.

(Here's another copy in case imgur doesn't work.)

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12 Feb 2024, 02:29

It looks to be IBM 5253/5254. The terminal specifically looks like an IBM 5253 Display Station, which (along with its 5254 dual-operator sibling) were for the IBM 5520 Administrative System, a document creation, editing and storage system. They're interesting since the terminals look very similar to IBM 5250-series ones (5251/5252), but their keyboards are what the later 6580 Displaywriter keyboards are based on and also have a speaker inside.


12 Feb 2024, 02:44

sharktastica wrote:
12 Feb 2024, 02:29
It looks to be IBM 5253/5254. The terminal specifically looks like an IBM 5253 Display Station,
Hey, just curious, would it be too much to ask for you to un-ban me from r/modelf and r/modelm? I promise to behave.

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14 Feb 2024, 03:55

Looks like an example of the twinax terminals I used in my youth, back in the 1980s; I'd assumed 5251 but I'll defer to sharktastica, not least as I was never certain. Even at that age and in that era (1980s, when keyboards were either really obviously terrible such as the ZX81 and Spectrum, or they were fairly consistently decent mechanical ones: seems a bit of a luxury for people to have been able to criticise Hi-Tek switches!) I could recognise that the keyboard was something special, it was incredible to type on. And it had the famous clunker, which was very loud and made the whole desk shake, just in case the already quite impressive tactile feedback wasn't enough.

The terminal itself was kinda fugly and also the heaviest I've ever encountered: it took two of us to move it a short distance, and even as an 18-year-old the experience almost crippled me. I didn't think that much of the system it was connected to (not sure what; possibly a System/38 but I've even less idea than I have about the exact model of terminal) until they "upgraded" it to an HP something-or-other which was much worse in every conceivable way. The terminals were also very cheap and nasty in comparison and creaked when you typed.

Shame I never fully appreciated it at the time: I knew nothing about keyboards and I suppose I had little reason to, and it wasn't until another 10 years had passed during which rubber domes started to appear and rapidly got worse that I really sat up and took notice when a new PC at work came with a Model M. A Dell, of all things, no wonder it took some time to find out what it was.

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