IBM M58, the 60% Model M, Very SSK or however IBM called it

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Myoth

09 Nov 2018, 12:48

It's been about a year since I've learned about the existence of this keyboard, and since then, I've been very interested in it to say the least, it's not explicitly mentioned anywhere which is why I'm making a post about it, to try to document the very little information we know about it.

The proof of its existence

About it, as far as I know there is 3 picture of it, here they are :

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We can deduct a few things from these pictures.

The first picture shows that it is indeed buckling spring and that it uses ps/2 cable. And that there is a weird window on the caps lock key.

The second picture shows that the window on the caps lock is is indeed a lock light. Interestingly enough, this seems to be the only IBM keyboard which has such a feature.

The third picture is not at the best angle, but you can deduct a few things from it, that first of all, it probably uses a SDL cable as it seems to be detached and if I remember correctly, this is the same unit as the second picture. You can also see it's profile, and it's bezels, the profile is the one of a regular M but the bezels makes me think of those POS AT layout Model M. Maybe a piece of this same line of POS system like what the Kishsaver is to the 4700 Systems.

The owner of the unit aforementioned is none other than ClickClack or ClackFactory (notice the CF keys). I contacted him earlier today but he hasn't been active recently, it's unlikely that I'll ever get a response, but I thought it was worth a shot.

The arguing about its authenticity

This is also why I made this post, as much as I've talked about it and pointed out arguments about whether or not it was IBM made, I still have doubts even though I firmly think it is. This keyboard doesn't seem like a homemade cut job, the lock light further proves it, but at the same time ... an integrated lock light ? from IBM ?

So let's have a bit of discussion about it, to be IBM or not to be ? what do you guys think ?

User avatar
JP!

09 Nov 2018, 13:04

I've never seen this before. Too bad there aren't more pictures like of the bottom or it's internals.

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depletedvespene

09 Nov 2018, 13:11

ISTR there was another picture of a unit like this that was later proven to be a photoshop job. The second picture fills me with doubt as well.

With regards to the first and third... I think they're both pictures of the same keyboard; and if it's a chop job, it's an outstanding one.

My own (unproven, of course) theory is that this keyboard is a prototype — otherwise, we would have found another one of those around (think of the Alps Model M keyboards, which are extremely rare, but of which at least three units have been spotted and posted on DT). We need to procure this unit and take a good look at its backside (assuming it'd have a P/N on it) and its internals.

Assuming this thing is real, not a prototype, etcetera, my observations on this are:

1) Quite probably a regular Model M buckling spring, with an SDL cable. Should be able to be directly plugged into a PC without the need for a protocol conversion (and if not, as is the case with terminal Model M keyboards, a Soarer's converter should already support this keyboard without issue).

2) Quite probably a regular Model M barrel plate as well, which means it could support easily an ISO layout, and a TIE as well. The M58 could go up to being an M62, if all the splittable keys can indeed be split (left shift ⇒ ISO left Shift + < > ; ANSI Enter ⇒ ISO # + TIE; 2U Backspace ⇒ 2 1U keys ; right Shift ⇒ 1U key + 1.75U right Shift).

3) I kinda wonder why, if this is indeed a POS keyboard, it doesn't seem to support a numpad layer, as the SSK does. Perhaps the complete lack of a nav cluster impedes having a Scroll Lock/Num Lock key? I also don't see any sign of overloading on other keys... which would be expectable for a prototype.

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hansichen

09 Nov 2018, 13:13

We should rather call it SSSK (Super Space Saving Keyboard) ;)

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depletedvespene

09 Nov 2018, 13:16

hansichen wrote: We should rather call it SSSK (Super Space Saving Keyboard) ;)
Oh. I thought the extra 'S' was for "sixty percent". :mrgreen:

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 13:27

I think we should call it the klacksaver.

andrea-i

09 Nov 2018, 14:33

this thing is super interesting, says SIGM.... on the label of the blue thing in the third picture.
Indeed there's a sigma company making cash registers, but then again, it could be a medical device or research thing, or an internal IBM thingy that piggy backs on a SIGMA other thingy.

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zrrion

09 Nov 2018, 14:40

The integrated lock light is super cool! Is that something unique to this board or has that been spotted in other buckling spring boards?

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depletedvespene

09 Nov 2018, 14:42

It's never been spotted in other IBM BS keyboards.

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 15:39

-There is something different about those ctrl/alt modifiers. It is really hard to see from the last photo.
-What are these?
pic1.jpg
pic1.jpg (35.69 KiB) Viewed 1223 times
-Can you link to the original sources?

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hansichen

09 Nov 2018, 16:01

Looks like LEDs to me but hard to tell with these pictures.

andrea-i

09 Nov 2018, 16:25

Not Sigma, as I thought, but most likely SignMaker.
390c0e54cea74ad389e0686dddea4bb7.jpg
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playing Sherlock here:
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Untitled-1.jpg (396.97 KiB) Viewed 1180 times

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 16:34

Great detective skills. I originally thought this was an unrelated machine. Thanks for confirming that.

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depletedvespene

09 Nov 2018, 16:40

Hmmmm... that slight separation between the blue bottom and the keyboard itself... it looks like the M58 was placed right above the keys of the Signmaker machine, heavily implying that it's not a part of it (or retrofitted to be, anyway).

Strengthens the idea of the M58 as its own unit.

Excelso

09 Nov 2018, 17:08

This is the most antique reference about it:

http://web.archive.org/web/201305021439 ... c=10347.30

Having three leds and no F-Keys... PCjr style...

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 17:38

Excelso wrote: This is the most antique reference about it:

http://web.archive.org/web/201305021439 ... c=10347.30

Having three leds and no F-Keys... PCjr style...
Phenomenal. I recognize it now. I probably have some NIB box sitting in storage somewhere. ;)

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depletedvespene

09 Nov 2018, 17:41

JP! wrote:
Excelso wrote: This is the most antique reference about it:

http://web.archive.org/web/201305021439 ... c=10347.30

Having three leds and no F-Keys... PCjr style...
Phenomenal. I recognize it now. I probably have some NIB box sitting in storage somewhere. ;)
You better do, Mister! :mrgreen:

Engicoder

09 Nov 2018, 17:48

To play the cynic, there is also the possibility that this is something clickclack created. He does have some skills with plastic.

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Muirium
µ

09 Nov 2018, 17:59

It’s a chop. No room for even IBM’s controller in there. Here’s a similar one by Hasu:

Image
photos-f62/ibm-ssk-club-t2885.html#p54068

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digital_matthew

09 Nov 2018, 18:22

This may be a compression artifact, but...
Attachments
chop_maybe..JPG
chop_maybe..JPG (39.36 KiB) Viewed 1085 times

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 18:43

That's just a crappy jpg. This would have to be more than a simple chop job though. Look at the side profile as well! If you cut the backside of a Model M to make it shorter would it line up? That much chopping would be a lot of work and you would need to apply epoxy and filler material to join and smooth things out and then also paint the case.

Maybe the controller was a different form factor or maybe could it be someway positioned under the barrel plate?

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JP!

09 Nov 2018, 18:50

I have a new theory. It was not made by IBM.
Spoiler:
pic3.jpg
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unoquepasa

09 Nov 2018, 18:57

JP! wrote: -There is something different about those ctrl/alt modifiers. It is really hard to see from the last photo.
-What are these?
pic1.jpg
-Can you link to the original sources?
I think these are bolts. At least my bolt-modded Model M has two bolts exactly in those places.

andrea-i

09 Nov 2018, 19:31

Surely not an easy chop to make with the profile of an M:
Untitled-1.jpg
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User avatar
Myoth

09 Nov 2018, 20:19

JP! wrote: I've never seen this before. Too bad there aren't more pictures like of the bottom or it's internals.
Yup, that's my thought too, that's also why I contacted ClickClack.`
JP! wrote: -There is something different about those ctrl/alt modifiers. It is really hard to see from the last photo.
-What are these?
pic1.jpg
-Can you link to the original sources?
I don't have them, I know one is from DT, the pet mystery thread, not sure about the other ones.
Excelso wrote: This is the most antique reference about it:

http://web.archive.org/web/201305021439 ... c=10347.30

Having three leds and no F-Keys... PCjr style...
Amazing ! that definitely means it's IBM. So it's been 8 years without seeing another one. That's incredible, really makes you wonder what kind of system was this thing related to :?
depletedvespene wrote: My own (unproven, of course) theory is that this keyboard is a prototype — otherwise, we would have found another one of those around (think of the Alps Model M keyboards, which are extremely rare, but of which at least three units have been spotted and posted on DT). We need to procure this unit and take a good look at its backside (assuming it'd have a P/N on it) and its internals.
That's very much possible, though it would rely on all of the pictures being of the same keyboard, which is unlikely in my opinion .
Muirium wrote: It’s a chop. No room for even IBM’s controller in there. Here’s a similar one by Hasu:
I don't think so, Hasu's is based on a Model M, this is way too different and has way too many quirks to be based on a Model M I think. I think it might rock a very small control, after all, the fact that it's so small would explain a smaller controller ... which means that it's probably fitted in there. And if it was a chop job, the Lock Light would still need to be explained to me because that's amazingly done !

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Dingster

09 Nov 2018, 20:24

Gotta admit, the caps light look amazing.

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digital_matthew

09 Nov 2018, 22:09

Here is my lame nomination for this keyboard's nickname..."Mishsaver"...

Modded or not I wannit. And I don't even use 60 percents.

Excelso

09 Nov 2018, 23:44

I do really think it could be a real PCjr keyboard prototype. After the first keyboard iteration and between PS/1 and PS/2 lines where produced. It makes sense in lots of ways as it was a commercial failure specially for the keyboard. I even rememeber PCjr prototypes didn`t have chiclet keyboards. I also had a déjà vu with that short PS/2 like cable resemblance to the cables of IBM JX keyboards by the way.

User avatar
wcass

10 Nov 2018, 03:01

Regarding the caps lock LED, i copied that and used it on two custom boards. I didn't think the window on the key cap was necessary, and am very happy with the "under lighting" effect. The picture below is without-flash, so it is much more muted than it appears in the picture. Taking pictures of LEDs is so difficult.
capsLock.jpg
capsLock.jpg (241.76 KiB) Viewed 912 times
Also, there is definitely enough room for a controller behind the back plate. I am typing this on my custom model F with just 7 mm of trim around the key caps - and think that I could get that down to 3 or 4 if I tried.

Pumaeggs

12 Nov 2018, 16:41

its crazy that something like this exists with no definitive origin. i have compiled a list of things that could count towards its authenticity or otherwise.

Genuine:
1)the plastic work required to reshape an existing shell to fit that shape is crazy complex, and a custom case that looks that good would require the same level of expertise.
2) The existence of the PC junior. it is very possible that this board was designed as a prototype for the PC Junior, before they decided on using the cost saving POS that shipped with it.

Custom:
1) Obviously the scarcity. The fact that nobody has any idea where it came from and how few we have seen leads me to believe it was either a really good chop job or a prototype that was never brought to market.
2) the form factor. I almost refuse to believe that IBM would produce a keyboard for a general market that didnt even have an escape key. Function layers would have been a pretty interesting idea at the time, especially because function keys and numpads were the norm at the time. Moving from a full sized to a 60% would have been a big ass jump.

Other interesting things:
1)The caps lock light. While this does make it less likely to have been an amateur chop job, it also indicates that it may not have been made by IBM, a company that has never had integrated lock lights.
2) the weird bumps next to the Ctrl key. Those to me look like the heads of screws from a bolt mod. It is likely that whoever got the keyboard performed a standard bolt mod, but it's just as likely that the mod was performed as part of the chop process. You would have to remove the rivets to trim the backplate and membranes down to size.

My theory? my theory is that it is a prototype board made by IBM. To expand on that theory, i think the board uses a model M2 board and controller. That would resolve the issue of fitting the components into such a small chassis. most likely this is not a board that was ever sold, either as a standalone or with a unit, but it looks much too professional to be a chop job. only time will tell on this one, but i'm betting we wont see any new ones pop up anytime soon.

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