Talk:Model M keyboard

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I corrected (in history section) the misconception that Lexmark started making the Model M keyboard in 1993. It was in 1991 that the Model M keyboard was manufactured by Lexmark; it was 1993 or so that the labels on the underside of Model M keyboards for IBM began saying "Manufactured for IBM by Lexmark." I also changed the tone regarding the manufacturing quality of Lexmark (removed "inferior" and just reported the change in manufacturing because of the competitive market). References were added.Ibmkeyboards (talk) 22:27, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I have a PS/2 1390131 and changed to table to reflect this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bgosnell (talkcontribs) 03:46, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and changed the 82G2383 to its own line in the chart because it has a detachable cable.

I'd like to add that I have a 1391406 which, contrary to the table at the bottom of the page, has a detachable cable and was made in 1987-07-02 (according to the back). It says copyright 1985 as well. - Anjow, 31/1/06 15:49 GMT

I have a 1391406 with no detachable cable. (Made later, though; 1996). Presumably they made both. 16:49, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to...) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. —BorgHunter ubx (talk) 15:54, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

I've seen 42H1292 keyboards manufactured in the year of 2003, for IBM by Unicomp. User:XecurID

I have a 42H1292 which was made by IBM in Scotland on 8 November 1997, so I'm thinking the date of 1996 on here is possibly wrong... User:Slugbug

I have a 1391401 [Model-M F2] that has a Copyright date of 1984 on it [Mfg 12-08-92]. Are we sure that the keyboards were originally manufactured in 1985 and not 1984?? --tonsofpcs (Talk) 02:32, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Most likely IBM filed for copyright in 1984, while the Model M was still in development, but not yet in production. The copyright year does not necessarily mean production year. --Fo0bar 02:33, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
My Model M is copyright 1984 (manufactured 1989) as well, but the research I have done suggests that they weren't produced until 1985. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I'd be glad to see it. BorgHunter 12:24, September 1, 2005 (UTC)
My Model M 1391401 is copyright 1985 (manufactured 1987-04-16). Did they change the stickers later on? --SET 23:10, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

I have a model M that's not listed in the table in the article. It's a mexican made, spanish layout P/N 1391506 dated 17 January 1990. It's a buckling spring keyboard that matches 1391401's description, except for some minor details in the key layout. I will add it to the table, but I'd like to note that I'm not sure about the drainage channels (based on the description, I'd say it doesn't have them) and have no idea if the key caps are detacheable. Will confirm these when I open it. -- Ernesto Alvarez

There may be different part numbers for different layouts, and it would be logical to produce them near the usage location. For example, I type this on an english-made, french-layout 1391402 born on March 22nd, 1993. It looks absolutely like a 1391401, exept it has 102 keys (big return key) and coffee-evacuation holes. I think all 139140X might share the same design, with various localizations. -- JiM

I have a model M in front of me with the same part number (52G9658) and Fru. No. (92F0332) as the Lexmark discussed below, but produced by IBM (copyright 1984) on 7-28-93, and I can't find a matching date/manufacturer listed on the table.

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2008)

Wikipedia moderators are areholes..... No verification needed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:03, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Model Ms without Buckling Springs[edit]

What about the Model-Ms that were "Manufactured for IBM by Lexmark" that do not have bucking springs, but instead membranes? --tonsofpcs (Talk) 02:36, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

What about them? If you know anything about them, you might want to add it to the article — Felix the Cassowary 03:29, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Part number?[edit]

I think some more discussion needs to be done in the article about the part numbers. While it does say there are lots of variants of the Model M, it most definitely says that Lexmark produced Model M's have part number 42H1292. This is not true, as I have a Lexmark Model M with part number 52G9658 (other info: Fru. No. 92F0332, ID No. 0239126, Plt No. TC1, 13-NOV-93). If a comprehensive list of part numbers for these models could be found, it should be inserted, otherwise the information should be removed or the wording should be modified. Hopefully someone here is more of a Model M expert than I am. Cheers. CryptoDerk 05:06, September 9, 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I put "most" in. The way to determine a Lexmark-made Model M is by the third Part # character, which is a letter if it's a Lexmark. Sorry about the confusion. I would, however, like to bring up another topic: What is Plt No, and why are the keyboards grouped by them in the table? I have a Model M that fits into row 1, except its Plt No. is J1. Plt No. seems more like a Lot Number or something rather than a disparate model. That's pure hypothesis, though. BorgHunter (talk) 02:54, September 13, 2005 (UTC)
Plt. No. is Plant Number. Plant as in the factory in which the keyboard was manufactured. ToxicJelly 2020S, 16 SEPT 2005
Should we take out that column, then? Doesn't seem like it makes much of a difference in anything, and obviously they used more than one plant for a particular model. BorgHunter (talk) 12:36, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Yes, but the Plt. Number can mean other things. The T3 and F2 of the same model were completely different [the T3 being designed for terminals and having an extra set of function keys, etc., F2 being the standard one] --tonsofpcs (Talk) 02:32, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Okay, now I'm confused. I have a keyboard that contradicts something in the article, and I'm not sure what. It's a 52G9658, fru 92F0032, date 07-07-1993, with an attached PS/2 cable. According to this, by the model number and the cable, it's a Lexmark-made. However, the back label does not say "Manufactured for IBM by Lexmark", and it is listed as copyright IBM (not Lexmark) 1984, which by the "History" section implies that it's not a Lexmark-made. I'd edit the article to correct things, but I've no idea what correction is correct. --Brooks, 21 August 2006
I just added some information including a German layout Model M and a RS/6000 Model M from '93 with IBM copyright notice. For the later one I am not sure how to note it correctly because the part number is the same as for the Lexmark one from '94. Maybe someone else has got a better idea than me. (obw) 20:59, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't it seem like we can delete this section now? I don't even know why it was created, unless it was so early in the revival of Model M interest that there was still some question about this. Lexmark-made Model M's say "Manufactured by Lexmark"—whether they were made for IBM, other customers, or for sale by Lexmark itself. There's no need to try to determine this by part number. That wouldn't work anyway. While Lexmark did use some p/n's unique to them, most of the keyboards they made were for IBM, using IBM's existing part numbers. The table now shows this. – AndyFielding (talk) 23:26, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Move to "Model M Keyboard"?[edit]

Since this page no longer simply deals with IBM made Model Ms, I suggest we move it to "Model M Keyboard" and create redirects from IBM Model M Keyboard, Model M, Lexmark Model M Keyboard, etc. --tonsofpcs (Talk) 02:32, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Agreed, and done. Now redirects to "Model M keyboard" Brak710101 20:41, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Call me stupid, but it seems the page was not moved so much as copied. Is there a reason the history and relevant talk page were not moved with the article? Also, I'm sorely disappointed that this move wasn't done with some sort of consensus being reached, although I would have voted in favor of it. --BorgHunter (talk) 02:04, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
Just moved the talk page. I posted the original message in this thread in order to come to a consensus before moving. It seems that anytime I make a suggestion similar to this, someone either removes it or carries it out with no consensus being reached. --tonsofpcs (Talk) 06:35, 15 November 2005 (UTC)
Maybe try following WP:RM; just making a suggestion seems open-ended, and although people moving the page is WP:BOLD, it may sometimes confuse or anger people, and it also might be inappropriate. If, when suggesting a move, you list it on RM, you might have better luck reaching consensus before someone up and moves the page, especially in the manner this one was moved (i.e. copy-and-pasted). --BorgHunter (talk) 13:25, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

drinks spilled[edit]

The article says that drinks spilled in a Model M will imediately short circuit it. I have seen Model M's survive drink spills without any permanent damage on several occasions. I'm wondering whether this claim is accurate. --jacobolus (t) 01:01, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

  • Totally inaccurate. I also add that my Model M has Kashi cereal in it and has survived xD. ~ crazytales56297 -talk- 04:16, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Mine has even survived a glass of red wine impacting on the keyboard for two days. OK. I had to soak the dissected Model M in warm soap sud for some hours. This happend about 8 years ago and it is still in operation.-- (talk) 20:22, 21 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Indeed, I have it on good authority that only spilling a drink made in the same year as the keyboard will reliably put it out of commission. It must also be the type of junk-food drink favored by computer users. Thus if you want to short out a 1987 p/n 1390131, you must track down something akin to a 1987 Coke, Dad's Root Beer or Nehi. This is not an easy task, and unopened examples of these beverages may cost more than the keyboard itself. :?) – AndyFielding (talk) 23:33, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Someone want to correct this?[edit]

and indeed one of the longest (and loudest) lived computer components ever made

should read

and indeed one of the longest-lived (and loudest) computer components ever made
Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.

1395100 by Lexmark?[edit]

I have a keyboard here whose FCC ID is IYL1395100 (that 1395100 on the end is what is meant by "model number", right?). Everything on the label: manufactured by Lexmark, copyright Lexmark Int'l Inc. 1984, part number 1370477, ID number 5053040, plant number F2, 21-NOV-94, Model M, made in the USA, part-15-of-the-FCC-rules-stuff, FCC ID IYL1395100. There are also some electrical-symbol-looking things, and some logos and such. --Ihope127 15:13, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Slightly off topic[edit]

During the summer of 2004, I was working for the US Army Judge Advocate General's Office in DC as a summer legal intern. One particular day, I had nothing to do, and sitting in my office browsing the internet, when I came across Daniel Rutter's (of article about the Model M. I immediately recognized this as the keyboard that, some months earlier, I quite by accident acquired and had come to love. A little later that same afternoon, I was looking around Wikipedia (having come from a Slashdot article about Wikipedia if I recall) - and quite skeptically I might add. But after finding no page about my keyboard, I thought I might try to put my own little stamp on it, and went ahead and created this article.

The point is: I never, ever thought that so many people would pick it up and run with it, and that it would turn into the astounding piece of community-produced work that it is today. So I wanted to just take a few minutes here and thank everybody - not just for making this a good article, but for all the contributions you have made or will make to all the articles. I was skeptical of the value of Wikipedia then, but I am assuredly not anymore. Thanks!

Pusher robot 07:54, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you for creating the article. I'm one of the ones who has done a bit of work to this article, though I can't recall how I managed to come across it. I do have a Model M, and I'm currently waking up my roommate by using it, but I still love it. I'm not sure if the articel inspired me to get this keyboard, or having the keyboard inspired me to visit the article, but it was one of the first articles I really edited heavily. And now I'm quite proud of it, though it still needs work. Such as, references. —BorgHunter (talk) 16:28, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

model m2[edit]

I have a Lexmark 1984 model m2. It's got softer keys and doesn't have removable keytops (just removable keys). I can supply more info and pictures if requested. -- Sy / (talk) 20:49, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The place to supply more info and pictures would be in the article. ;) —BorgHunter (talk) 03:55, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

key feel after use[edit]

I might add that some Model M's have different key feel, but they all have the same distinctive sound. I think they soften up and become less resistant to keypresses with use, I have here like 3 Model M's. My 1991 model that has seen loads of use, is softer than my practically NOS 1993. I'll probably not add this into the article without consensus, as it could be perceived OR. »ctails!« =hello?= 23:13, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Delisted GA[edit]

First, this apparently was never reviwed in the first place, and second, just three references, none of which are inline and thusly are hard to determine where they go to, is not "well-referenced". Homestarmy 18:21, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

Relative quality of Lexmark Model Ms[edit]

Is there a citation for Lexmarks being "Widely regarded as somewhat inferior in build quality to the original Model M" in the History section. Not something I'd heard before, and not my experience either.

-- 06:13, 6 May 2007 (UTC) I believe that the main difference between them was that the early keyboards had a huge steel backing plate that was quite thick. My 1993 model M-5 here has a steel plate, but it isn't all that thick. I'm guessing they trimmed it down a bit since it didn't add all that much other than cost. As for the typing, this keyboard was "new" in the box two months ago, and it is very "crisp". I would say it is crisper and louder than older keyboards that have been used over the years.

Page move[edit]

Model M Keyboard was recently moved to IBM Model M Keyboard. Since Lexmark and Unicomp have also made the keyboards, I think the move should be reverted. This also applies to the ThinkPad (now made by Lenovo) --Karnesky 11:58, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Agree. The article was originally at IBM Model M Keyboard but was moved to Model M Keyboard for exactly that reason. —BorgHunter (talk) 19:33, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Given that bit of history, I think the initial move was premature think the burden should be on any arguments to move it to IBM Model M Keyboard. As such, I've moved it back. --Karnesky 19:40, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I've tried loads of model Ms by both lexmark and IBM and liked them all. They all have a slightly different feel (the springs get less resistant with use I guess), but I can't say I felt the lexmarks were of worse quality. (I'm using an IBM-made model M at the moment, by the way).

remove table?[edit]

I have a strong feeling that the table is getting increasingly crufty and unmanageable. Do we really need to know about every single Model M model ever made (except notably the split one)? As it stands, it's about 1/2 size of the article. I have half a mind to remove it as keyboardcruft. Thoughts? —Crazytales o.o 03:05, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I have a slight preference to keep it, or at least to keep some of the most common models. It serves as an informative comparison. I wouldn't be opposed to breaking it off into a new article, but I don't think it should just be deleted. --Karnesky 18:50, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I userfied it. Check User:crazytales/Model M table. —Crazytales (talk) (alt) 16:51, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
Why? Since a separate person readded it & I stated that it should be part of WP proper, I don't know why you'd move it to your own userspace. Do you intend to clean the list up & then readd it? --Karnesky 16:56, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
I'll try to clean up the list; that's why I copied it to my own userspace. I ws a bit unclear on that. —Crazytales (talk) (alt) 17:38, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to add that I just purchased a model M keyboard and the table on this page was very useful for me for getting an overview of the different models. Debolaz 20:32, 20 September 2007 (UTC)
First of all, the list is extremely useful; it's really the only place online that comprehensively lists all the models and their types. Deleting it would be a shame. That said, it needs some clean-up TheHolyMacintosh (talk) 18:07, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd chip in that I'm the anon user that re-added the table. The information in it is invaluable. If anything, it could be cleaned up and perhaps moved to a linked page. Bwojcik (talk) 04:50, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

The table helped me out. Please do not remove. --cuimalo

Same here - table was very helpful. Please do not remove! --anonymous

This is possibly the most beloved keyboard ever, and it is still relevant and sought after. Having a complete comparison list is a valuable resource. --anonymous —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:58, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the table should be kept. This is definitely a keyboard that enthusiasts, programmers and typists seek out, and such a reference is ideal for anyone interested in one. I for one prefer the absolutely oldest releases of these keyboards that come with LEDs and a PS/2 or AT cable as they are a bit more durable and have a more metallic twang to the keypresses. This is one of the resources I check out to determine which keyboard has which features and which added durability (though the Lexmark manufactured keyboards are exceedingly durable, they are not the same quality as the IBM ones with the thicker backplates and plastics - though either model will easily still work after being driven over by a city bus - yes, I tested this personally).


RobertMfromLI | RobertMfromLI 18:20, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

CompTIA A+ Certified Tech

I have used and updated this table several times to help identify which model numbers are of the buckling spring-type and which aren't. (Several have the classic look but rubber domes underneath.) The table has been quite useful to me and should not be removed. Thank you. Mr. Shoeless (talk) 01:01, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

In case there's still any doubt after this time: Yes, please keep the table. I use it almost daily to research Model M part numbers, and I know many others in the vintage-keyboard community who use it and refer people to it. Vintage IBM keyboards are widely collected and, due to their lasting quality, probably always will be. WP's Model M p/n table is an important resource. Thanks! – AndyFielding (talk) 22:58, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

42H1292 produced by IBM UK?[edit]

I just bought myself a model M 42H1292 keyboard. The thing is, this page lists that particular model as being produced by Lexmark, while the keyboard is marked on the keyboard itself as being produced by IBM UK. Is this an error in the article? Debolaz 14:28, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

  • I see this was added. I've also added to the Copyright column, (UK-produced examples have no ©). I'm sure this is true of other UK-produced M's as well, as a copyright notice didn't seem to be part of their labeling format. Maybe there was some concern in the European community that IBM might try to claim copyright on anything produced with IBM-copyrighted equipment.  :?) – AndyFielding (talk) 23:41, 2 March 2016 (UTC)

Citation regarding durability[edit]


As a computer systems engineer in real-life, I typically spend long hours in front of a computer. The last time I checked, I could type as fast as 100 - 110 words per minute. I have always needed an industrial-strength keyboard. In November of 1984, I was able to purchase my first IBM PC 5170 PC/AT (Intel 80286 processor at 8 MHz (.008 GHz) with a 30MB (0.03 GB) hard drive, and 512K (0.5MB) of RAM for $9000. Little did I know that I would still be looking forward to using the same keyboard in 2006 (i.e., TWENTY TWO (22) years later).
Today’s new entry-level computers (Intel Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, 40GB of hard drive, 256MB of RAM) start at $399. Computer manufacturers bundle these systems with cheap, lightweight "free with purchase" keyboards. As a cost-savings measure (in other words, in order to maximize their profit ) they can not justify anything more than a $5 - $7 keyboard with the belief that most people will not notice the difference. The first thing that I do when I setup a new computer for myself, is re-attach my very durable 1985 IBM model M keyboard (serial #5548).

Citation regarding colour of sky[edit]

Honestly, citations are good, but sometimes... this is typed on a 1989 UK Model M. Is that a citation for durability? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Your keyboard is 20 years old and still working and you need to ask if that is a citation of durability? Well, perhaps not by Wiki article standards, but by real world terms, most definitely.
I wish I had videotaped us having one driven over by a city bus and plugging it in to find it still fully functional. :-) RobertMfromLI | RobertMfromLI 18:59, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, Model M's are reminders of a time when durability was considered a selling point rather than an impediment to future sales. I once had an M that was eaten by an elephant on safari, and when it was eventually eliminated, it was in perfect working order—although as you can imagine, it needed some cleaning. Oh, sorry, that was actually one of my [Tilley Hats]. I wouldn't be surprised if it'd work with a Model M too, though. – AndyFielding (talk) 23:49, 2 March 2016 (UTC)


My German 1391403 with fixed cable by lexmark/uk was made 1994-09-29, i added this date to the table as end of production for now. If someone finds a later made one, please change.

- I just purchased one from as late as 1997-03-27, I will update the table —Preceding unsigned comment added by Julius1979 (talkcontribs) 12:06, 11 February 2009 (UTC)


My 1394542 has drainage channels, and is made 1993-12-09. I changed the table accordingly. Polemon (talk) 01:21, 11 March 2008 (UTC)


Just dug out an old 1391511, and edited the article to confirm the absence of drainage channels

-edited-, the "drainage" channels were in fact added by a user. User:LaurensvDijk, 14:46, 18 October 2008 (GMT+1)

Is this what Thinkpads have?[edit]

I have an IBM X24 Thinkpad and love the feel of the keyboard. Is this the same as the Model M (also made by IBM) that I hear so much about? (talk) 20:37, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

If there is a distinct and fairly loud click when you depress (and a more silent one when you release sound) a key it's probably a buckling spring. I can't say I've used scissor type keyboards (which laptops have) much but the model M stands out easily compared to any other keyboard. You should be able to hear the springs pretty easily. It should sound like when you adjust an old spring loaded desk lamp or any other thing with audible spring movement. If it's really really loud it's either a model M or a typewriter. (talk) 12:41, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

No, it is a different type of keyboard, similar to most other laptop keyboards, but built to a slightly different design and higher standards. IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad keyboards have been consistently rated as the best laptop keyboards for a reason, and how they are designed and built is the reason. They have sturdier steel backplates, and usually multiple screw-down mounts on them (most laptop keyboards have a few tabs at the bottom and 2-4 screws at the top that hold them in place - the IBM Thinkpads also have multiple screws coming from the bottom of the machine to various points on the keyboard backplate). The backplate is also 1.5 to 4 times thicker, and usually contains a curved-upwards edge for added inflexibility. This (the added screws and sturdier backplate) creates a better key response as "keyboard bounce" (the keyboard physically flexing in the center when pressed) is minimized and "key-down" feedback is more solid as well.

There is a keyboard for your laptop on sale on eBay right now with a picture of the back (or search Google for an image of the back), where you can (barely) make out the metal grommets on the underside that get screwed to the laptop casing to minimize the keyboard flexing.
RobertMfromLI | RobertMfromLI 19:09, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Feature chart inconsistency[edit]

I've added that 1391411 also comes with PS/2 since mine does. But I noted that the list is inconsistent about the order of the AT and PS/2 connector. I suggest that someone (maybe even I when and if I have time) changes it so that AT is always first with PS/2 second. Like so: "AT or PS/2" because AT is the older standard and should come first. As it stands the list is random when it comes to the order of the connector types. Kattspya (talk) 09:11, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

significant error(s) / omissions[edit]

The Model M is one of those rare products that approaches a kind of objective "perfection" (not unlike, say, the movie version of Amadeus, so I'm bothered by at least one major error, and a significant omission. But first, a word from our sponsor...

I learned to type 45 years ago in high school, on an manual Olympia. It was probably the only manual typewriter to ever have a really good keyboard -- light, crisp, and snappy. (My mother loved Royals, which responded as if someone had poured crankcase oil in the mechanism.) The Olympia is one of three great keyboards.

I later used a Smith-Corona portable electric. A completely different feel, with the long stroke men prefer. (We'll come back to that later.) The S-C is another of the three great keyboards. (If you dig into the early-60s Consumer Reports, you'll see that their panel of typists preferred the Olympia and S-C keyboards, proof of their practical quality.)

The third classic keyboard is, of course, the Model M. The first time I used one I was blown away. I could type faster and more accurately than on any other keyboard I'd used (including the Selectric's).

So, what about the Selectric? This article -- as well as a recent NPR piece on Unicomp -- states that the Model M has a feel much like the Selectric's. Anyone who says this has not used both keyboards! If the Model M is "tea", then the Selectric is the output of the Nutramatic drink dispenser.

As Captain Redbeard Rum might say about the Selectric typewriter... "It has a woman's keyboard." It's obvious that the Selectric was designed for female typists, the Model M for men. (Could that be the origin of the model name?)

Men tend to "bang" when they type (I do, at least); both the S-C keyboard and Model M seem designed for men. The long stroke and distinctive mechanical feedback of the latter is ideal for male bangers. Ask any serious male typist, and he's likely to agree that the M is the best keyboard, ever.

I used to work with Charles Frankston (brother of Bob Frankston, co-developer of VisiCalc). He loved the Model M, and every time I entered his office, he'd pull open a drawer full of them and intone "Look what I've got, and you don't." I was sorely tempted to steal one, but didn't.

The Selectric keyboard is designed for people who "tippy-tap" -- thus, female secretaries. The stroke is very short, and though there's a click, and a bit of resistance near the end of the stroke, the "feedback" is at a lower level and of a distinctly different character from the Model M's. The Selectric keyboard seems designed on the assumption tha the young lady's fingers will just fly over the keys. (Which they had to, if she expected to keep her job.) It took me years of irregular use to get accustomed to the Selectric keyboard. It never felt "right".

This serious mis-statement of fact needs to be fixed. And the article needs a stronger statement about why people -- men especially -- love the Model M. Its long stroke and outstanding feedback would be meaningless if they did not improve the speed and quality of one's typing. And they do.

I can make these changes, but would much prefer that the author did so.

WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 20:54, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Thing is, there is no "the author" of any article on Wikipedia, except really short stubs. Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. So by all means, make the changes yourself, but be careful; the kinds of changes you want to make seem like the type which need citations from reliable sources moreso than other edits, due to the POV line those changes would be flaunting. —BorgHunter (talk) 23:40, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Done. I don't think you'll be offended. As to my remark that many Model M users find typing faster and more-accurate... I don't know of any study that confirms this. But "just ask the man who owns one". (That was a Buick margeting slogan of 50 years (or more) ago.)

WilliamSommerwerck (talk) 14:17, 22 February 2009 (UTC)


From being someone who started as a tech in a massive IBM VAR, I can explain the correlation between the Selectric and the Model M (if senility has not set in). IBM spent years (cant find supporting docs anymore, otherwise I would properly correct this section of the article) researching, and testing the design for the Model M and it's predecessors. Part of the design was based off designs of the Selectric keyboard, which is where the confusion takes place. The mechanisms were very different, but certain aspects were improved/changed (key travel, mechanism, etc), while others were just enhanced (key slope, etc) based off user feedback during their R&D stage.

And yes, most versions are drastically different in use and feel as already noted elsewhere. Why the Selectric was so different, I don't know; but would suspect that (like companies who tout easy to click, low travel keyboards today) the reason is not what you suspected. The difference is IBM spent years refining and revising their keyboard design for the Model M, realized it was a marked improvement, and kept that design until the end of the keyboard's run. The Model M was not designed "for men" - it was designed to be better. It really is as simple as that. Keep in mind that most keyboards of the time (pre-Model M) were similar to the Selectric of the time (for instance, various Commodore models such as the PET and CBM, various WANG computers, etc)

The other factor most people forget is that there were earlier Selectrics that had longer key travel, as well as their newer replacements (under a different name I think) that had Model M like keyboards. The Selectric was a long line of changing models.

RobertMfromLI | RobertMfromLI 18:20, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

  • In case any doubt remains: The M2 was marketed as the "Selectric Touch Keyboard". However, as IBM struggled to compete with the growing number of low-cost PC "clones", they simply produced the M2 as a cheaper version of the M (smaller case, simplified plate construction, plastic key stabilizers, lower-quality [and more failure-prone] PCB, non-detachable cable, etc.). Its shorter key travel and different feel were not attempts to emulate the Selectric; that was just a clever post-design marketing idea. And while I'm sure this is obvious, it was definitely not produced "for women"—that notion is ludicrous. To be fair, it may have been encouraged by the fact that virtually all secretaries—the most common typists in the '80s/'90s—were women, as it was so hard for them to obtain better-paying jobs. But it's as accurate and relevant as claiming Model M's were produced for men. – AndyFielding (talk) 00:05, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

1394542 (again)[edit]

I recently bought a 1394542 and it is (C) Lexmark International Inc. 1985, born 1994-11-08, manufactured in United Kingdom. It also has a speaker built in like the 1394540. I was not able to do any changes (no wiki account), so could please somebody else make the following changes?

Change "Manufacturer" from "IBM UK" to "IBM UK / Lexmark UK", and add the sentence "Contains real speaker." to "Misc features". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:25, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

The comment re the speaker had been added, but not the secondary manufacturer info—so I've done that. (Hey, a mere five-year delay isn't that bad for a huge bureaucracy, is it?) – AndyFielding (talk) 23:13, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Features by part number[edit]

I propose that the long, unwieldy table that has every model of Model M ever made be removed from the article for the following reasons:

  • The table is too long.
  • The table is mostly unsourced and original research.
  • The table is quite hard to verify, absent a document from IBM stating the various models.
  • The table does not contain critical information.
  • WP:NOT a collection of indiscriminate information.

I think information about a couple of critical models (like the 1391401 and 42H1292) could be merged into the article proper, but the rest of it can go. —BorgHunter (talk) 04:44, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

True, while much of this is WP:NOT, it is a general sad commentary on the content and direction of WP where people can look up every Harry Potter character and yet not find a list of these actual historical physical devices. — MrDolomite • Talk 16:55, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to revert your change. While some points of criticism you raised are valid, there was not sufficient comment & the removal runs counter to the consensus of the 2007 discussion, above, which had more active participation. --Karnesky (talk) 16:59, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I have solicited feedback from the users who contributed to the past discussion on this topic. I'd encourage you to try to get the word out regarding this as well (perhaps use the edit history to track down those who have contributed to the section). --Karnesky (talk) 17:04, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd like feedback too, but what needs to be addressed is how the table relates to some core content policies, specifically WP:V and WP:NOR, and the guideline WP:RS. Unless the material in the table can be properly cited, it unambiguously needs to go. The discussion of if the information, once it's been cited, is something that contributes to the article is only a secondary concern of mine. —BorgHunter (talk) 17:16, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Clearly some material can be sourced, even without "a document from IBM stating the various models:" some models are exceedingly popular (such as the 1391401 and 42H1292) & there exists many independent and easily accessible reviews and articles about them. I agree that it is "hairy" that some edit summaries and some comments on this talk page that some rows are amended based on an editor's personal experience with a keyboard they own. But not all rows in this table have been based on speculation & it seems better to cleanup the table if the only concern is over WP:V. --Karnesky (talk) 18:56, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Please leave the table alone - it's not hurting anything, and it is VERY informative. Though I do believe a categorized table would help... maybe by language? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:08, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Please leave the table, original content. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Meh, the table is just fancruft, it really has no place in an encyclopaedia. --Bigcalm (talk) 07:33, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

So, in this whole article there's no exact size and weight listed. I suppose I could weigh mine, I've got a pile of them ranging from 1986 to 1993 Lexmark models, and can see if they got lighter over time... And a model M2. And an M15. My inexact measurements put a Model M at 19in x 7.5in x 2 ... (talk) 05:35, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

I've found the table quite useful and the information is not collected anywhere else. I'm not opposed to moving it to a separate page. But it should not be deleted as it contains the results of many people's research and contributions. I'm going to put it back. (talk) 00:59, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I see how to show and hide the table now. However, the link to do so seems buried as it's placed inside one of the many column headers. If it's possible I think it would be better to make the link more prominent and below or in place of the column headers. However, my wiki-fu is not strong enough to do this myself. And BTW for people who would like "verifiable sources" for the information, I will be happy to take pictures of every one of these in my collection and post or email them to you. Certainly the physical object itself is the most indisputable source. Mr. Shoeless (talk) 01:09, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Please do not presume to remove the table. I assure you that I, and many other members of the vintage keyboard community, use it regularly and value it highly. If you really want to be tidy, let's move the table to its own "IBM Model M Variants" page—as is done with (e.g.) TV series episode lists. That would also enable us who regularly consult the table to open it directly—rather than having to scroll down to find it, then click "Show", each time we want to consult it. – AndyFielding (talk) 23:17, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Dates for 1391406[edit]

I just picked up a pile of 4 Model-M 1391406 keyboards, with a date of 12-05-99, made my IBM UK - the table says the last date for these is 1996; should I just correct the table, provide photos, or what would be sufficient? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

The information in the Identification section is at least partially incorrect. Though I have a 1391401 with a black-on-white oval upper-left label, I also have 2 with blue-on-gray oval upper left labels. ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Oldest known[edit]

he Model M was designed to be a more cost effective keyboard than the Model F keyboards it replaced. Production for the original Model M began in 1984, and the keyboards were often bundled with new IBM computers in the 1980s. The earliest example currently known is a 102 Key Terminal Model M (1386304) dated 10 June 1985. From this, I understand that the oldest model M known is from 1985, am I wrong, if so, then the phrasing could be better. If I'm right, then I'd like citation and criteria for this claim, as I'm typing this on a Model-M with DIN-5 which have Copyright 1984 IBM on it's back. I can provide a picture of the backside if that could be of any help.

 - Jimmy, 11.02.2010 (DD.MM.YYYY)  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:41, 11 February 2011 (UTC) 

Technically, the 102 Key Terminal Keyboard isn't a Model M, but that's a battle that would go on forever. As for true Model M's, myself, my mother, and a few people on the Model M enthusiast boards seem to have the oldest reported anywhere. They're all from Nov 1986, and born a few days apart from each other. Apparently, the UK versions were manufactured earlier, but I've never been able to find someone who's had one older than Nov 1986. The 102 Key Terminal Keyboard is a Model 5250, not a Model M. That statement should be removed, as it's simply plugging some enthusiast's keyboard, who's added similar elsewhere on Model M related sites.
Also, almost all of them have that copyright date. You will find the "birth" date to the left, labelled "Date: DDMONYY" - such as my mom's, which is 02NOV86. Every single Model M ever built has their manufacture date (unless the owner(s) took it off). I am very interested in someone finding one older than that. T'was a used Christmas present (along with her first brand new computer)... she hated it for a couple months... now, 6 computers later, I can't even buy it back from her. Gets a new machine, throws out the keyboard and plugs the ancient Model M into it. :-) ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 10:26, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Found an older actual Model M, Sept 24, 1985. I'm not sure when the Terminal Keyboards got the Model M designation, but not first run. While I admit that's OR (I worked for Valcom Computers, one of IBM's largest VARS when they came out), it's even worse using some guy's unsubstantiated forum post as reason for the line in question. ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 10:51, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
If this is a suitable ref, we can use it[1] ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 11:07, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Table Needs Fixing[edit]

I'm very interested in the content of the occasionally disputed table, but the table is currently borked in such a way as to prevent it from expanding when prompted. My own wiki-fu (to quote an earlier poster) doesn't allow me to understand the code well enough to fix it.

Please don't remove it. In this case, I don't think photos of the individual keyboards would be a bad way of citing the sources.

You might also contact the guys at for sources, as I'm sure they know everything that ever been written or typed on the Model M. I do know that they have an extensive database of individual keyboards and their part numbers/manufacturing dates.

It might also be worth noting a recent trend in the Steampunk fanbase involving elaborate modifications to Model M Keyboards. (talk) 11:39, 19 February 2011 (UTC)

Model M4?[edit]

I noticed that the Model M4's are not in this list. I'm not sure if there is a reason for this or not. The M4 is the one that is the Thinkpad 360/755/etc. keyboard but by itself, and had a built in TrackPoint (some didn't) and detachable numpad. I am not sure since this isn't the standard form factor of the desktop Model M if it was being left out on purpose, even though it says "Model M" under it. I don't have a model number (mine was made by Unicomp under the "Mighty Mouse" moniker), so I am not sure where to add it. Maybe someone with an actual IBM/Lexmark version can add it. - KnightCrusader (talk) 15:17, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

Actually, there's more than just the M4. This is briefly discussed above. I have another variant. I suspect it's not being discussed because it's not an M or M based keyboard. The M4 and similar versions are laptop keyboard based (as you noted), while the M13 and even M15 are plain ol M based. Best, ROBERTMFROMLI | TK/CN 10:14, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

1396790, production date 1991-09-27[edit]

I have the IBM model M 1396790 keyboard, with a date of 1991-09-27. This keyboard featured an oval, white IBM logo with grey lettering in the top left of the board, and it does not have drainage channels. Table needs fixing. Photos of IBM model M 1396790 Good Loki (talk) 06:53, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

I also have a 1396790, date of manufacture 1995-08-22 in the UK. It is identical to yours (except mine has spent less time in the sun). Psychlohexane (talk) 18:12, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

It wasn't Just about the Cost of Manufacturing[edit]

"The Model M was designed to be a more cost effective keyboard than the Model F keyboards it replaced."

While cost reduction was certainly a reason (the earlier PC/PC-XT and AT keyboards were really robust, and thus I expect more expensive to manufacture) it was the additional 2 "F" (PF) keys and the horizontal layout across the top of the keyboard that was the bigger change. I know – how could it have ever been any other way? At the time IBM brand PCs were still relatively new (1981), and had undergone somewhat rapid evolution (PC => XT => AT). Even the transition to the original AT keyboard - adding the larger “enter” key and moving the “esc” key from the upper left to over the numeric keypad on the right - was moderately controversial. But the uproar over the move to horizontal “F” keys on the Model M keyboard was huge. Many 3rd-party companies had built their products (Lotus 123, word processors, etc.) based on that left-hand-side F-key arrangement, and millions of customers were used to this location for program commands.

Remember, however, that at that time IBM produced a wide variety of devices with keyboards. I recall just about all of these being different in some way. For the PC alone you had (1) the PC and PC/XT keyboard (PC 83-key keyboard) , (2) the original AT keyboard (PC 84-key keyboard), and (3) the 3270 PC XT and AT keyboard (IBM 6110344). It is this last that is the key to this mystery in my opinion(nice photo here: Note to IBM folk: I wasn't "blue" at that point in my career, so all this has been based on my experience at that time working within corporate IT at a "Fortune 50" multinational IBM customer with operations in 50+ countries. As the saying goes, "Your mileage may vary ..."

Initially the PC could not be connected to the IBM Mainframe, but the introduction of various emulator adapters (the IRMA card being one of the biggest until IBM introduced its own 3270 adapter card) led to a problem. Mainframe terminals typically had 12 PF keys (and some had 24); the PC, XT and AT only had 10 F keys that could be used for emulation, while the 3270 PC series actually had the full 24 PF keys. Placing the 12 F-keys over the top row of keys on the Model M was the only way for all 12 to fit without making the keyboard an odd size or making major changes to the rest of the layout. This also insured that using a PC as a terminal emulator would work great - all the PF keys were in the right place (too bad about all those PC programs, but hey ... Mainframes! ). Thus I have always viewed the Model M as IBM's attempt to “end the insanity” - one keyboard for both PC and Mainframe use (yes, I have to say it - “One keyboard to rule them all!”). It also had the benefit of being easily adaptable for certain foreign language support variants (for Japanese, Korean, and other character sets) w/o a real layout change; just some additional keys.

For those of us using the Mainframe with our PC's the new keyboard was great, but also a pain – all those PC program shortcuts had to be relearned! (remember – this was the pre-Windows GUI days of DOS programs). Even so, this fundamental layout (AKA the “IBM 101-key” keyboard) has not been much altered since then, except for the introduction of the additional “windows” keys at the insistence of Microsoft in the 1990's. I for my part prefer the classic nature of the 101-key Model M, which which these words were typed (mine is a 1988 P/N 1390655 that I bought from a friend for $1 years ago). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Old Fortan (talkcontribs) 16:00, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Unicomp statements (lead paragraph)[edit]

I've removed the lead paragraph's statement that Unicomp has had trouble selling their Model M-style keyboards due to their cost and durability. There's no evidence to support that. The NPR article reference attached to the statement simply mentions that Unicomp continues to produce their versions of the keyboards.

It's also a common misconception that Unicomp "bought the rights" to IBM's buckling-spring switch design. IBM patented the design in the early '80s but did not renew it, as they'd ceased to produce buckling-spring keyboards by the late '90s. Thus anyone can legally produce them (see Geekhack.Org thread). – AndyFielding (talk) 22:34, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

After the NPR article, for a while at least, they could not keep up with the demand. (I ordered one of my four in that time period.) The way I understood it is that the IBM keyboard factory went to Lexmark and then to Unicomp. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:47, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Fix the subtitles?[edit]

Currently the closed captions for the sound are something like this:
Change that? (talk) 07:06, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Move the Part Numbers table to its own page?[edit]

There's been much discussion of the long and detailed Features by part number table. As a member of the vintage keyboard community, I assure you the table is considered a unique resource, and is regularly consulted, corrected and amended.

However, while making the table optionally expandable has satisfied some of its critics, others still feel it gratuitously complicates the article.

I have an utterly logical, WP-consistent solution: Suppose we move the table to its own Model M Keyboard Variants page, and place a link to it here? This is routinely done with things like episode details of long-running TV shows, to avoid cluttering those "base" articles.

Moving the table to its own page would also make it much easier for people to consult the Part Numbers table, as it'd no longer be necessary to scroll down this page and click "More". Each. Time. Anyone. Wanted. To. See. It.

I don't know what the actual mechanism is for accomplishing something like this, other than to initiate it by suggesting it here. I imagine it'll help, though, if those of you who think it's a sensible idea will chime in here. Thanks! – AndyFielding (talk) 23:30, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

I suggest that we delete them entirely. It's quite a bit outside of Wikipedia's project scope to hold a catalog of keyboard part numbers... - Anonimski (talk) 08:29, 1 August 2015 (UTC)
That's been proposed several times, and always vigorously opposed. I beg to differ: The table is much more than a "catalog"; it's a painstakingly compiled source of detailed information, unavailable elsewhere, about the most significant line of computer keyboards ever. I'm guessing that, while you may appreciate computing history in general, you're not a keyboard collector yourself. If you were, you might have a better idea of how much the table is valued in that community. Simply deleting it would be a big mistake—a disservice not only to those who regularly consult it, and who would consult it in the future, but to those who've done the considerable work of creating and maintaining it. As I've suggested above, we could improve things all around by moving the table to its own page—how can we put that in motion? – AndyFielding (talk) 08:57, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

"Features by P/N" table: Fixed entry order; improved format for editing[edit]

I commented on these things while editing the Features by Part Numbers table tonight, but I thought they were significant enough to mention here too:

  • I noticed some recent entries had been added to the end of the list without regard to their Part Numbers. (I may be guilty of doing that myself.) I don't know if the table sorts itself by Part Number by default—but I'm sure we agree, it makes sense for it to initially appear that way. Thus I made sure the entries were arranged by Part Number in the source code.
  • Since we now have -valign tags that assure each entry starts on a new line, I went through the table and made sure each entry (except the last) was followed by a line with a pipe (|) character only. This makes it much easier to see the entries while editing the table.

AndyFielding (talk) 09:43, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

Bogus column on Features table?[edit]

Does anyone know why an extra column has started appearing at the right side of the "Features by part number" table—and why it doesn't appear on some entries? I took a quick look at the source, but the entries I saw contained the right number of records (including an empty line for those with nothing in the Features column). – AndyFielding (talk) 06:40, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Well, someone fixed this, or it fixed itself. – AndyFielding (talk) 07:38, 27 June 2016 (UTC)