Author Topic: Evolution of computer keyboards [warning: picture-heavy]  (Read 2955 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline menuhin

  • Thread Starter
  • Posts: 1118
  • Location: Germany
Evolution of computer keyboards [warning: picture-heavy]
« on: Wed, 26 October 2016, 15:03:29 »
This post explores (visually) the evolution of the forms of computer keyboards. While it does not cover the topics related to keyboard switches, you can find some information about the history of keyboard switch mechanisms in an article at the end of the post.

The IBM Selectric Typewriter had possibly the heaviest influence on the design of computer keyboard.
There are a few routes of keyboard evolution in terms of form: mainly size, split, and ortholinear.

Earliest computer keyboards were like copycats of the typewriter design.

Featuring the 'Space-cadet' keyboard used on the MIT Lisp machine.

Featuring Commodore 64.

Featuring Apple's Macintosh Keyboard (M0110).

Featuring an IBM Model M keyboard.

Featuring the Silicon Graphics (SGI) Granite Keyboard.

Featuring Sun MicroSystem's Type 5 keyboard.

With the invention of the mouse, computer users have to dedicate (usually) their right hand and space of the right side of their keyboard to this new pointing device for the operation systems equipped with GUI.

Hence, there is the compact or space saving evolution, together with the embedding pointing device invention, alongside with the design of computer keyboards for the 'laptop' computer.

Featuring one of the earliest prototype of Richard Sapper for the design of IBM's 'ThinkPad'.

Featuring Richard Sapper's 'Butterfly' keyboard designed for the IBM 'ThinkPad'.

Featuring 1992 IBM Model M Industrial Space Saving Keyboard (SSK)

Featuring the Happy Hacking Profession 2 keyboard.

And there is also the awakening from the typewriter design. First, the split.

Featuring Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite.

Featuring Apple Adjustable Keyboard.

Or some complete split.

Featuring Matias's Ergo Pro.

Featuring the Combimouse Split Keyboard.

And also, from staggered to ortholinear.

Featuring the Kinesis Advantage keyboard.

Featuring the Maltron Dual Handed 3D Split Keyboard.

Or both: the split and ortholinear.

Featuring the ErgoDox EZ keyboard.

Or some complete rethinking of how a person should use his fingers to enter commands to communicate with the alphanumeric based operation system.

Featuring the Datahand keyboard.

Or some even further rethinking.

Featuring the brilliant Dr. Hawkins. I hope he doesn't mind.

Background reading:
« Last Edit: Thu, 27 October 2016, 05:48:30 by menuhin »
Wishlist: 1) hotswap gasket mount; 2) nice Alps blank caps; 3) Hipro Iris with adjustable tenting; 4) CNC POM case
Wishful-list: 1) All POM; 2) We order from; 3) Usable Trackpoint MK
IBM M13 black
IBM SpaceSaver II
IBM KPD8923 Trackpoint
Choc mini Gateron black
PLUM 84 'Topre-clone' 55g Korean dome
HHKB Pro 2 HasuBT
[It's not I don't like ISO, but I need the HHKB backspace... only ~90WPM, in love with Emacs, and Lisp]

Offline pinkizhip

  • Posts: 97
  • Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
  • No, you're a towel.
    • Prime Caps
Re: Evolution of computer keyboards [warning: picture-heavy]
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 26 October 2016, 15:42:56 »
Thanks for the history lesson. Some neat Ergo designs I've not yet seen.
Check out our Artisan keys at