Keycap bleed through?


20 Mar 2021, 19:21

As I am cleaning these Model M keycaps, I noticed this odd detail as they were drying. Looks like the marking actually went all the way through the keycap? Is this common?

Side A:
2021-03-20 13.59.16.jpg
2021-03-20 13.59.16.jpg (3.29 MiB) Viewed 481 times
Side B:
2021-03-20 13.59.32.jpg
2021-03-20 13.59.32.jpg (3.7 MiB) Viewed 481 times


21 Mar 2021, 03:37

That's pretty interesting.

User avatar

21 Mar 2021, 12:07

Common? No. I've cleaned hundreds of buckling spring caps and never seen one like that.

User avatar
[ XMIT ]

21 Mar 2021, 13:01

That looks like a Unicomp cap based on the radius of the bend at the front of the key cap. I'm guessing this is just a manufacturing fluke.

Hmm. Full bleed dye syb. The poor man's double shot?


21 Mar 2021, 14:22

There are more keycaps like that on this machine. Until now, I had only experience cleaning Unicomp Model M keycaps that I was certain of the provenance of (I am the original owner of the keyboards purchased directly from Unicomp). And none of the three Unicomp boards I own have anything like that.

The bleed through caps came from an IBM model M I bought on eBay and am cleaning up and preparing an external converter. While I am pretty confident the rest of the keyboard is "True Blue" (Genuine IBM), I am starting to think the keycaps aren't original.

Made in UK label from F-122:
2021-03-19 19.52.35.jpg
2021-03-19 19.52.35.jpg (3.67 MiB) Viewed 212 times


21 Mar 2021, 15:44

Upon further inspection, there are some other differences between the bled-through keycaps and normal ones on this 1988 Model M.

Normal keycaps have, on the inside, a raised lettering (HI2 and J6 for two examples); the bled-through keycaps don't have that lettering inside. Also, on the front of some of the bled-through keycaps, there is a faint red smearing that persists after washing.

Note that while this board was made in the UK, I purchased it from an eBay seller in CONUS (Continental United States).

My current hypothesis is that this keyboard originally had British keycaps, and that the keycaps that aren't common to the US layout were replaced with aftermarket ones. Which might explain why this keyboard doesn't have the British Pounds Sterling sign (£) on any keycap, but has the octothorpe (#) above the '3'.

Post Reply

Return to “Gallery”