SAIL keyboard

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Made by Les Earnest around 1970 for use at the Stanford AI Lab. It was used with all terminals except teletypes: III displays, Imlacs, and Data Disc displays.[1]

Probably the first keyboard to feature a meta key.[2]

This keyboard was an inspiration for the Knight keyboard.[3]



  1. Personal communication from Bruce Baumgart: Same keyboards at all stations AFTER 1970 ( except dial-in, teletypes and CTY console TTY ).
  2. Personal communication from Les Earnest: I invented both the Meta and Top keys while designing the SAIL keyboard. I also rearranged the numeric keys, starting with 0 on the lef and going up to 9
  3. Personal communication from Tom Knight: The keyboard was definitely inspired by the Earnest Stanford keyboard.