A Brief History of Typographic Keyboards

I hope to significantly flesh this section out in the near future, but one of the main reasons I wanted to put this site up was to have it serve as a reference for an ever-growing collection of historically significant keyboard layouts which I have recreated in Keyboard Layout Editor. Each of these, save for one or two rare exceptions, are aligned to one another such that you can open them side by side and flip back and forth to see exactly how they compare.

- 1960s -

  1. TeleType model 33 (1961)
  2. IBM 2260 Display Station (1964)

- 1970s -

  1. LSI ADM-1 (August 1973):
    TTY Standard Keyboard
    Enhanced Keyboard
    "ADM" stood for "American Dream Machine", contrary to some claims that the "A" stood for "Advanced"
  2. LSI ADM-2 (October 1974)
  3. LSI ADM-3 (May 1975)
  4. LSI ADM-1A (July 1976):
    Standard Keyboard
    Extended Numeric Keyboard
  5. LSI ADM-3A (July 1976)
    The terminal on which vi was created
  6. IBM System/32, 5320 (January 1975)
  7. IBM 5250 Information Display System (April 1977):
    83-key typewriter keyboard
    66-key data entry keyboard
    67-key data entry keyboard
  8. Apple II (June 1977)
  9. DEC VT100 (August 1978)

- 1980s -

  1. IBM System/23 Datamaster, 5322 & 5324 (July 1981)
  2. IBM Personal Computer & PC/XT, 5150 & 5160 (August 1981)
  3. Sun-1 (May 1982)
  4. IBM 4704 Finance Communication Display Station (October 1982):
    Keyboard Model 100
    Keyboard Model 200
    Keyboard Model 300
    Keyboard Model 400
    Asian Keyboard (manufactured for IBM by Alps Electric)
  5. Apple IIe (January 1983):
    original version
    Alps version
  6. Apple Lisa (January 1983)
  7. IBM 3270 PC, 5271 (October 1983)
  8. DEC VT220 (November 1983)
  9. Sun-2 (November 1983)
  10. Apple Macintosh (January 1984)
  11. Apple IIc (April 1984)
  12. IBM Personal Computer AT a.k.a. PC/AT, 5170 (August 1984)
  13. IBM 7531 Industrial Computer (May 1985)
    debut of the now ubiquitous IBM Extended Keyboard layout
  14. IBM 3161 ASCII Display Station (June 1985)
  15. Sun-3 (September 1985)
  16. Apple Macintosh Plus (January 1986)
  17. Apple IIGS (September 1986)
  18. Apple Macintosh II & Macintosh SE (March 1987):
    Standard Keyboard
    Extended Keyboard
  19. IBM 3151 ASCII Display Station Space Saving Keyboard (June 1987)
  20. Sun-4 (July 1987):
    original version
    later version
  21. IBM 8525 Personal System/2 Model 25 Space Saving Keyboard, UK version (August 1987)
  22. NeXT Computer (October 1988)

- 1990s -

  1. Apple Macintosh IIsi (October 1990):
    Extended Keyboard II, US version
    Extended Keyboard II, UK version
  2. Sun SPARCstation IPX & ELC (July 1991):
    Type-5 Keyboard, U.S.A./UNIX version
    Type-5 Keyboard, UK version
    Not shown: U.S.A. version resembling IBM Extended Keyboard, similar to the UK version
    These layouts would later be reused for Sun's Type-6 and Type-7 keyboard models, with a small caveat: the top right key on their USB variants controlled system sleep rather than system power, since only the Sun interface (which used a mini-DIN-8 connector) was capable of switching the system on and off.
  3. PFU Happy Hacking Keyboard (December 1996)
    This is the original layout; note the lack of any Mac functions or media control keys, since these first models supported neither. The "HHKB" will be getting its own special section on this site... stay tuned! As a wee teaser, here is a visualisation of how close you get to the HHKB layout by simply removing keys from the "Type-3" keyboard for the Sun-3.