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View Full Version : IBM "Clicky key" Model M keyboards - why so valuable?



AB Positive
12-21-2009, 11:10 AM
Yeah, I kinda felt like the Joker typing that last bit...

So I stumbled upon a working black Model M keyboard by IBM. All 'clicky' and everything. Works great, has a built in mouse nubbin... checked on eBay and found a ton of various Model Ms going for various amounts, anywhere from $10 to $200.

does anyone know a guide to these things and if/why they would carry value. I like my dual-wireless Logitech combo so I'm in no mood to change but if I have something worth even $20 I could use the cash.

Plus, I really want to know why. Personal preference? Those clicks are kind of annoying.

Jorpho
12-21-2009, 11:37 AM
There's no shortage of fan pages out there. Just Google for <model m> and you should find all the information you need. The Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_M_keyboard) is also quite informative - or at least it was, until someone pruned that lovely table of features. >_< (Look through the page's history to find a better revision.)

I don't think the keyboard I'm using now is one of the true Model-M "bucking spring" models, but it's pretty close. It also features the "mouse nubbin", which isn't really as great as it sounds. You may recall that these things automatically re-center every few seconds, so that if you happen to be holding it in one direction for a few seconds, suddenly your mouse cursor will start drifting uncontrollably - until you let it go for a few seconds. Still, it works well enough for web browsing, especially since the mouse buttons are conveniently placed relative to the ctrl and shift keys.

Anyway, the true, massive, "bucking spring" models are the valuable ones; I don't think I would have gotten mine for $30 if it was one of those, even if it does have fairly good action. As you will no doubt read in countless fan pages, the tactile feel is completely unmatched by anything else, even if it is awfully noisy. The other fringe benefits are the easily-removable cable, the easily-removed keycaps, and its facility as a blunt instrument in melee combat.

Other valuable keyboards include a particular variety of "natural layout" keyboards - not one where the keys are divided into two halves angled out from each other, but one where each row of keys actually curves downwards into the keyboard itself.

skaar
12-21-2009, 11:47 AM
It's an enthusiast thing... no more. Plus some of them you can do neat macros with.

AB Positive
12-21-2009, 11:50 AM
I posted a similar thread at vintage-computing.com's forums and... wow. Two offers down my throat almost as soon as I hit 'submit'. Wow.

read the wiki article and damn, I guess those are some nice features comparitively... but I don't think I care enough. Probably going to clean the dust off and put it up for sale. Good to know though - damn. $150 or so for a keyboard. Stupid.

Kitsune Sniper
12-21-2009, 02:02 PM
It's not stupid. Those things were built to last.

D_N_G
12-21-2009, 02:07 PM
If you like the clicky IBM keyboards, these totally kickass: http://www.daskeyboard.com/
Almost as expensive as the model Ms though

Compute
12-21-2009, 03:55 PM
I loved my model m, that fucker was robust. Then it broke..must have spilled beer on it coz it could not have been a mechanical failure..ha

Arkhan
12-21-2009, 04:09 PM
It's an enthusiast thing... no more.

this couldnt be more wrong lol.


The tactile and audio response is the best of any keyboard to date. You know when you hit a key, and you can get into a typing rhythm with one of those things that you can't get anywhere else.

they were designed for industrial settings, and high-use businesses. The bucket spring design is flawless. Its durable and effective. The keyboards are so sturdy its insane.

I have 3 of them in use! Best thing to type on.

Raedon
12-21-2009, 06:06 PM
Its a great keyboard. Wish they made keyboards like that today. Now they just add LCD displays and volume controls I don't use.

phreakindee
12-21-2009, 06:53 PM
As far as why some of them go for so much, I'm not sure. They are excellent keyboards, and may outlive you, and are easy to clean and maintain, but hundreds for one always seemed steep to me.

I have probably 6 or 7 around, none too valuable, from the original 81 key to AT and PS/2 styles, and they're all quite enjoyable for touch typing once you get the feel down. But if you're not used to the noise it can be aggravating, especially to those nearby. It will drown out conversation. Especially the buckling spring models.

Imagine the sound and feel of the original NES lightgun. Now imagine every key on the keyboard is that lightgun trigger, and with a nice loud "clack" sound to go along with that snappy spring noise. Yup.

Berserker
12-21-2009, 07:01 PM
Its a great keyboard. Wish they made keyboards like that today.

They do. (http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/keyboards.html) A company in Texas owns the rights to the Model M design, and they produce what are generally considered to be good quality buckling-spring reproductions, across a few models with small optional tweaks here and there (choice of PS/2 or USB connectors, a Windows key, etc).

There's actually a sort of niche forum dedicated to this particular obsession called geekhack (http://geekhack.org/) that's worth checking out. Lots of great info and reviews and comparisons and such there to get lost in for awhile.

fahlim003
12-21-2009, 07:22 PM
They do. (http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/keyboards.html) A company in Texas owns the rights to the Model M design, and they produce what are generally considered to be good quality buckling-spring reproductions, across a few models with small optional tweaks here and there (choice of PS/2 or USB connectors, a Windows key, etc).

There's actually a sort of niche forum dedicated to this particular obsession called geekhack (http://geekhack.org/) that's worth checking out. Lots of great info and reviews and comparisons and such there to get lost in for awhile.

Finally, somebody gets it right. It's buckling, not bucking, not bucket, buckling spring.

Also, Unicomp makes these keyboards now. See here: http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/index.html
They're built to last and personally, sound and feel like a dream.

tubeway
12-24-2009, 02:12 PM
Geez. All the time I spent in IT I came across dozens of these things being thrown away. I could have made some great money off reselling them.

At least now I know.

Poofta!
12-30-2009, 01:55 AM
i used one of these when i worked IT at my college PC lab. damn i miss it. i tried several times to get a sweet one on ebay, but the prices too high. i may get that model S or one from unicomp now that i know about them.

skaar
12-30-2009, 01:18 PM
this couldnt be more wrong lol.


The tactile and audio response is the best of any keyboard to date. You know when you hit a key, and you can get into a typing rhythm with one of those things that you can't get anywhere else.

they were designed for industrial settings, and high-use businesses. The bucket spring design is flawless. Its durable and effective. The keyboards are so sturdy its insane.

I have 3 of them in use! Best thing to type on.

So... you're a fan of them. Some might even say... an enthusiast.

Poofta!
12-30-2009, 11:26 PM
So... you're a fan of them. Some might even say... an enthusiast.

lol. touche.

Arkhan
01-05-2010, 04:49 AM
So... you're a fan of them. Some might even say... an enthusiast.

i dunno "enthusiast" makes it sound like there really is no merit behind using them.

kinda like tandem biking. :bday:

tubeway
01-05-2010, 04:52 AM
kinda like tandem biking. :bday:

Tandem biking is popular among people that are visually impaired. It allows them to ride a bike with someone else controlling the direction.

Arkhan
01-05-2010, 05:10 AM
Tandem biking is popular among people that are visually impaired. It allows them to ride a bike with someone else controlling the direction.

ah jeez now you went and slapped my joke in the face and made me feel all insensitive.

fine fine,

saying enthusiast makes it sound like theres no merit to it....

like that damn Cornhole game.

bunnybum
01-05-2010, 05:36 AM
Wow, I had no idea these puppies would EVER be sought after. I guess all those years of stockpiling old 386 systems is finally paying off, as I have a ton of these in storage.

Now, if only I had the weekend off, I'd refurb them and start listing them on ebay @_@

kedawa
01-05-2010, 05:47 AM
For all these years, I thought they were only good for rearranging the keys(the home row on my autocad workstation in highschool read 'SHITFUCK').

Arkhan
01-05-2010, 06:32 AM
For all these years, I thought they were only good for rearranging the keys(the home row on my autocad workstation in highschool read 'SHITFUCK').

we used to do that too.

the two shop classes were connected and there was a tiny dog-door sized hole in the wall with a CO2 car track going through it.

I crawled thru when the one room was empty, and rearranged it so every keyboard had all A's, B's, C's, etc.

There were exactly 26 keyboards too.

It was meant to occur.