LMI-CADR Lisp Machine Keyboard - The "Space Cadet Keyboard"

User avatar
JP!

07 Jul 2018, 03:49

I have to blame Webwit and Chyros for this one but I just ended up spending the most for any keyboard ever by a huge margin but I feel the acquisition was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Today I bought this lovely gem.

Full Album: LMI-CADR keyboard 1st Gen (Early 1980s)
space_cadet.jpg
space_cadet.jpg (179.76 KiB) Viewed 5483 times
Black version like this one: https://www.flickr.com/photos/obra/sets ... 353286814/

It is of course a Lisp "Space Cadet keyboard" but specifically this one went with a Lisp CADR machine. The CADR machine was actually the second machine designed at MIT with the first one called CONS. Apparently there were maybe a total of 25 of these essentially prototype machines which were sold and used extensively by MIT. Later when the Symbolics Corporation was formed they cleaned up the CADR design and sold it as the LM-2 which is were we see the first Symbolics branded "Space Cadet" branded keyboards with the beige case.

Edit:
Per Wikipedia: "Symbolics did get off the ground in 1980/1981, selling the CADR as the LM-2, while Lisp Machines, Inc. sold it as the LMI-CADR" so based on the brochure I found this keyboard was from the LMI-CADR so not a prototype but still exceedingly rare.

Brochure:
Spoiler:
Image


OG - The first of the Lisp Machine keyboards, called the Knight keyboard after Tom Knight, who did design work on the whole thing.
http://graflex.org/klotz/2003/aitv/
Novena__Knight_keyboard_16277937833-s.jpg
Novena__Knight_keyboard_16277937833-s.jpg (279.53 KiB) Viewed 5483 times
SAIL (Stanford AI Lab) version:
Image


Symbolics LM-2 model 1st Gen (1981):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDozftThFMw - Chryos you should do an update or a part 2 now ;)
http://rcsri.org/collection/symbolics-keyboards/
symbolics-keyboard-1.jpg
symbolics-keyboard-1.jpg (200.78 KiB) Viewed 5483 times
Symbolics 36xx series 2nd Gen (1983):
symbolics-3600-keyboard-1.jpg
symbolics-3600-keyboard-1.jpg (228.99 KiB) Viewed 5483 times
LMI Lambda Machine 2nd Gen (1983)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisp_Machines
Image
Spoiler:
LMI Lambda large.jpg
LMI Lambda large.jpg (160.45 KiB) Viewed 4435 times
Modern keyset inspired by the Space Cadet:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyb ... s_popular/
new cadet.jpg
new cadet.jpg (1.12 MiB) Viewed 5483 times
Webwit's Lisp boards:
https://www.reddit.com/r/MechanicalKeyb ... 89el/lisp/
keyboards-f2/the-lisp-keyboards-t98.html

Limited backstory, the seller had two LMI-CADR Lisp machines which were sold ages ago. While going through storage were two of these keyboards which were spares. Both of which sold on eBay today and I bought the second.

More Info:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisp_machine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-cadet_keyboard
http://www.unlambda.com/cadr/cadr_faq.html
http://xahlee.info/kbd/lisp_keyboards.html
wiki/Space-cadet_keyboard
Last edited by JP! on 17 Jul 2018, 01:23, edited 18 times in total.

User avatar
depletedvespene

07 Jul 2018, 03:53

I can't wait to see this one back into full working order! So many keys...

User avatar
Bass

07 Jul 2018, 04:45

Absolutely stunning :o . Can't blame you at all for wanting to spend big money on something like that.

User avatar
kakan

07 Jul 2018, 04:51

Congrats and hopefully we will see more of it here!

User avatar
JP!

07 Jul 2018, 04:55

I found the brochure for the machine which this keyboard went to on Pinterest :o

Per Wikipedia: "Symbolics did get off the ground in 1980/1981, selling the CADR as the LM-2, while Lisp Machines, Inc. sold it as the LMI-CADR" I am thinking this keyboard was from the LMI-CADR so not a prototype but still exceedingly rare.
Spoiler:
CADR_brochure1.jpg
CADR_brochure1.jpg (598 KiB) Viewed 5373 times
Last edited by JP! on 07 Jul 2018, 05:03, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Chyros

07 Jul 2018, 05:00

WAT

User avatar
green-squid

07 Jul 2018, 05:55

Oh my days! Looking forward to this restoration. Shame you can't use these on a modern PC.

User avatar
JP!

07 Jul 2018, 06:01

green-squid wrote: Shame you can't use these on a modern PC.
Oh really now? - photos-f62/80s-keyboard-party-t10963.html

User avatar
Damonskv

07 Jul 2018, 08:26

Wonder who was lucky to get the second one?

mcmaxmcmc

07 Jul 2018, 08:48

I just want to know the price at this point xD

User avatar
Chyros

07 Jul 2018, 09:42

mcmaxmcmc wrote: I just want to know the price at this point xD
According to eBay, both of them were $1600 BINs.

User avatar
JP!

07 Jul 2018, 14:33

Chyros wrote:
mcmaxmcmc wrote: I just want to know the price at this point xD
According to eBay, both of them were $1600 BINs.
Yes that is correct. More than I would have liked to have paid and sets me back a bit. There was even one that sold for $2.6k in open bidding with a missing key.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/LMI-Lambda-Lis ... SwHcparXAU
Spoiler:
lmi cadet.jpg
lmi cadet.jpg (234.6 KiB) Viewed 4603 times

taek

07 Jul 2018, 15:21

Congrats! truly worth getting it.

User avatar
j0d1

07 Jul 2018, 15:26

Congrats on the find! Someday I would like to see your complete collection, it seems glorious :o

User avatar
Sangdrax

07 Jul 2018, 17:43

Can't wait to see the pictures when you have it in hand.

User avatar
zslane

07 Jul 2018, 18:10

Congrats on that score! The 1st generation LM-2 Space Cadet is my Holy Grail keyboard, but the black one is super cool too!

User avatar
Rob27shred

07 Jul 2018, 18:27

Wow, great pick up JP & GL with the restoration!

User avatar
JP!

07 Jul 2018, 18:44

zslane wrote: Congrats on that score! The 1st generation LM-2 Space Cadet is my Holy Grail keyboard, but the black one is super cool too!
Yeah that white case is sweet looking. Definitely one of my favorites. I had no idea a black version existed besides the Knight original.
Rob27shred wrote: Wow, great pick up JP & GL with the restoration!
Thanks man. I will be looking into the USB conversion based on MMcM's conversion project.

davkol

08 Jul 2018, 20:24

green-squid wrote: Shame you can't use these on a modern PC.
lisp machine > modern pc

User avatar
depletedvespene

08 Jul 2018, 20:37

davkol wrote:
green-squid wrote: Shame you can't use these on a modern PC.
lisp machine > modern pc
But a modern PC can run Racket. Can a LISP machine do so?

davkol

08 Jul 2018, 21:12

Why would you want to do that? (Although writing a lisp environment in lisp is very simple.)

User avatar
depletedvespene

08 Jul 2018, 21:14

Just because (I did start out with Scheme in university, after all).

davkol

08 Jul 2018, 21:34

That's a reasonable motivation, but when you think about it… implementing any lisp on x86 is more of a hack than dealing with lisp on an architecture designed for lisp to begin with.

User avatar
depletedvespene

08 Jul 2018, 21:41

True, but I don't see any LISP machines for sale right now...

davkol

08 Jul 2018, 21:49

That's about the same with lisp machine keyboards.

User avatar
depletedvespene

08 Jul 2018, 21:54

davkol wrote: That's about the same with lisp machine keyboards.
Keyboards? I just saw not one, but TWO of them get sold on eBay a couple days ago... :mrgreen:

User avatar
zslane

08 Jul 2018, 23:06

Yes, a very rare event indeed.

User avatar
JP!

09 Jul 2018, 00:32

Not quite sure what to think of this one. Maybe the buyer of the first one backed out of the sale or something shady is going on.
3rdcadet.jpg
3rdcadet.jpg (164.59 KiB) Viewed 3693 times

User avatar
XMIT
[ XMIT ]

09 Jul 2018, 01:55

I would ping MMcM about that board you just got, he might even remember who made it and when.

I'd trade my Unsaver for a Space Cadet in a heartbeat. I'm an MIT alum, that would be really special.

User avatar
JP!

09 Jul 2018, 02:15

XMIT wrote: I would ping MMcM about that board you just got, he might even remember who made it and when.

I'd trade my Unsaver for a Space Cadet in a heartbeat. I'm an MIT alum, that would be really special.
I actually got in touch with MMcM and he gave me a lot of information and resources to bring this back to life :D It was made by Lisp Machines, Inc which was a competitor of Symbolics and went with an LMI-CADR machine / workstation. This machine was essentially a commercial clone of the original CADR machines used by MIT. I would assume it was made in the very early 80's but am hoping there is a date code or something once I get it and open it up.

I feel honored to have found something worthy of an Unsaver since they seem very hard to acquire these days even with having some sort of unicorn unobtanium to trade.

Post Reply

Return to “Keyboards”