Xerox Star low-profile keyboard

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kps

23 Apr 2014, 04:54

Xerox Star is really the name of the office software package, the first commercial WIMP suite. In the first commercially available version, Xerox sold the same hardware (‘Dandelion’) with several different model numbers —
  • 8010 for the Star system
  • 1080 as a file server
  • 1108 as a developer workstation (LISP or Mesa)
and
  • 1109 as a developer workstation with an added floating point accelerator (‘Dandetiger’).
All of these had the same keyboards, though, which had keycaps oriented toward the Star office system.

There were four known keyboard variants — two earlier ones, which were thick and had black main keycaps, as shown here, and two later ones, which used Cherry MX switches and had grey keycaps. In each era, there were keyboards with and without an integrated round trackpad (pictured in this thread).

This keyboard is the late, no-trackpad version from an 1109 LISP workstation.

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The top of the keyboard is somewhat discoloured. In these pictures it looks redder to me than in person, but that's a grey card in some of the pictures, so you gets what you gets.
Last edited by kps on 23 Apr 2014, 05:17, edited 1 time in total.

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kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:02

The switches are interesting. I've posted this picture before, asking about them:
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All the switches are linear. Some of the yellow switches (used for function keys) and all of the white switches (alphnumeric keys) have ‘HCP’ mold marks instead of the Cherry mark.

Using the crude method of holding up the keyboard and pressing a loose modern switch against the keyboard switch to see which gives first, the white switches used for the alphanumeric section are stiffer than Cherry MX Red but lighter than Cherry MX Black.

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User avatar
kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:05

The grey-green switches used for the Shift keys have approximately the same force as the current MX Grey.

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There are no stabilizers under the shift keys.

The Shift Lock is an all-black locking switch. To me it looks the same as more recent ones.
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User avatar
kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:15

The pale yellow switches used for the function keys are heavier than current MX Grey switches.

Aside from the text, the only difference I can see between the Cherry marked and the HCP marked keys is as the corners where the two halves of the switch case join — the HCP-marked keys have plain rectangles, while the Cherry-marked keys have notched rectangles:


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Except for the locking black switch, all the stems on this keyboard have an asymmetrical cross, with what looks like a sprue on the short side:

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User avatar
kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:16

They keycaps are single-shot.

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User avatar
kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:19

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The 15-pin connector is for the mouse.

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Last edited by kps on 23 Apr 2014, 05:23, edited 1 time in total.

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kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:21

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kps

23 Apr 2014, 05:22

The controller PCB has a Cherry logo.

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REVENGE

23 Apr 2014, 05:38

What the fuck... :-/

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sixty
Gasbag Guru

23 Apr 2014, 05:48

How very curious. Can you estimate if there is an actual Cherry text logo behind the sticker on the PCB? It all seems so odd. Daniel will be all over this I guess.

PS: Amazing photos. What is your setup for this?

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Compgeke

23 Apr 2014, 08:36

Pentax K10D based on EXIF info.

Shot at 1/40s, ISO 100, f/??, ??mm lens, no flash. Manual lens then?

I would guess a couple of soft boxes or a light box was used for the even lighting.
EXIF_Xerox.PNG
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Last edited by Compgeke on 23 Apr 2014, 08:38, edited 1 time in total.

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sth
2 girls 1 cuprubber

23 Apr 2014, 08:37

beautiful. now that's what i call a bezel.

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Game Theory
Mr. Despair

23 Apr 2014, 13:43

Thank you for the very high quality shots! Very interesting with the HCP switches and not typically seen CherryMX colors.

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kps

23 Apr 2014, 15:22

Forgot to point out the 1984 date codes on the controller ICs.
sixty wrote:What is your setup for this?
Cloudy day outside. I don't have space or equipment to do this indoors currently. The backdrop is an old projector screen — helps a bit with fill, and nobody wants them any more, so they're dirt cheap in thrift shops. Lens is a Kiron 105mm f/2.8 1:1 macro (manual, yes). I lack patience and skill to get the lighting consistent.

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7bit

23 Apr 2014, 15:30

Photos are the best ever done, just the keyboard needs cleaning!
:ugeek: ------------------------------------------------------------------------- :mad:

IvanIvanovich

23 Apr 2014, 18:02

Nice one. I wish to get ahold of some Cherry Japan/Hirose something one of these days.

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photekq
Cherry Picker

23 Apr 2014, 18:30

Great shots and a very interesting board to say the least.. The keycaps are dye sublimation?

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kps

24 Apr 2014, 01:14

7bit wrote:the keyboard needs cleaning! :mad:
I lack patience for that, too.
photekq wrote:The keycaps are dye sublimation?
I think so.
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photekq
Cherry Picker

24 Apr 2014, 01:27

Yeah, looks like very high quality dye sublimation.

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kps

24 Apr 2014, 01:41

The successor machine, the ‘Daybreak’ Xerox 6085 / Xerox 1186, was introduced in 1985. It had a more PC-ish layout, and ALPSy key switches, including some funny skinny ones for the upper function keys.
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I'll try to get better pictures of it some time this year.

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Daniel Beardsmore

24 Apr 2014, 02:23

Skinny Alps: [wiki]Alps SKCL Compact[/wiki]

The brown ones will be [wiki]Alps SKCM Brown[/wiki], which was the original Alps tactile switch, so far as we know.

nourathar

27 Apr 2014, 17:07

very nice board !

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