What do "M" and "F" stand for?


08 Jan 2019, 21:24

Chyros wrote:
21 Dec 2018, 16:02
This is simply excellent. You should press him for as much material on these as he can come up with, it is invaluable! :D

Beamsprings have nine parts if you count the keycap, but not all of them (such as the housing and O-ring) are moving. Still, I can't think of anything else IBM made keyboard-wise that was "popular" at the time.
Hey right on. I did hear back from Max, who again, is really the one who found this info. Good job Max at IBM.

He told me that Siteline was an employee circulated magazine for IBM RTP/Research Triangle Park employees. I myself have found some references to it and some extant copies at some small tech museums etc but not many. Obviously it covers a lot more than keyboards and any keyboard material is sprinkled through out it's run. I have found there exists a 1985 20th year anniversary edition so it ran at least 20 years one imagines. At this time their archives of this magazine are not digitized so we can't access these magazines or search through them. From just that one small article and the obvious existence of our keyboards there is a lot of info we don't yet have.

He said we could ask IBM archives about specific dates of issues/articles and specific questions though. Is there any question anyone wants me to ask? Also, if anyone else wants to email the archives with specific limited question on their own it was pretty straight forward.


09 Jan 2019, 00:39

From the first page of the SiteLine article:
About 70 percent of the keyboards are used for the IBM Personal computer. The rest become part of the System/23 Datamaster, the 4700 Finance Communication System or one of several other systems.

That means that there were few IBM 4704 (Kishsaver) keyboards to begin with.

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10 Jan 2019, 01:18

Maybe it stand for Mother and Father.

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Buckler Of Springs

30 Mar 2019, 23:35

It took me a while to make the connection, but there's another place where I've seen the letter "B" to describe a beam spring keyboard - the 3277 keyboard was made in two variants: the original used Microswitch switches, and a later model which came a number of years later which used Beam Springs. The official documentation refers to them as the Type A and Type B keyboards respectively:

http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/ ... _Jul78.pdf

(in and around the 82nd page of the PDF)

One could assume that this A/B distinction was specific to the 3277 keyboards, but given that the 3277 appears to have been IBM's first non-typewriter-based keyboards, it could also be possible that this nomenclature was more general?

I would love to know what a Type E keyboard was... the other letters could be accounted for by keyboards which were never produced in public (e.g. there are a number of IBM switch patents from that time, such as the initial version of the buckling spring, and the beam spring which had 'over travel')

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Buckler Of Springs

30 Mar 2019, 23:42

Chyros wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 15:55
There was also a Model C1, etc. which were types of "F", and iirc there were F's that were called Model M as well. I'm really not sure the letter is related to the sensing method. Even if it was, as flowerandfilms mentioned, I doubt it actually abbreviates for anything meaningful.
The C1 (I think there was C1 - C4) was the sub-model of the 3178 terminal to which the keyboard was intended to be used with, and not the keyboard itself.

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