Do they still make keyboards like this?

I would like to buy a new keyboard for my computer that is made like my favorite keyboard ever.
My favorite keyboard ever came with an IBM PC XT, and apparently was the Model F.
It looks exactly like this one: Except it says “IBM” in the little blank square on the left.
The things I love about it are the things wikipedia lists as downsides for the modern consumer: heavier than a laptop, check. Keyclicks are LOUD, check. The case is steel, the feet are cork. I call it the "murder-weapon keyboard), because it probably wouldn’t be damaged if you beat someone to death with it.
I’m using the present-tense there because I still own the thing. I got it out of my closet just now to admire it. I’ve owned it for over two decades, and it was old enough to drive when I bought it, and it still looks new. (Of course, I only used it for a few years after I bought it.)

Wikipedia says that somebody is still making the Model M, which replaced it around 1986, now with a USB connector for modern computers.

Now, I don’t want an adapter. I hear they make them, but I like having 12 function keys, and the “Windows Key”, and the separate cursor control keys some games use. I like the modern keyboard layout.

What I want is a modern 104-key windows keyboard that is made like my old 83-key IBM Model F. Steel case, weighs 3+ pounds, loud positive keyclick, and keys designed to last at least 100 million presses. A keyboard my grandkids might use, if they are old-fashioned enough to not use voice-control or a datajack in their brain. An industrial-grade lasts-forever-despite-abuse keyboard.
Does anybody make those?

Unicomp prides itself on making the best Model M keyboard. Heavy and loud with Windows keys, etc. It doesn’t even have to be beige! (I haven’t tried any of them.)

You want to Google “mechanical keyboards.” they’re a big deal among the gaming crowd.

Why don’t you want an adapter, and what the heck does having an adapter or not have to do with liking 12 function keys and cursor control keys and so forth? :confused:

My favorite keyboard is and has always been the Apple Computer “Saratoga” ADB Extended keyboard. I’m typing on one right now.

I use an iMate. For a model F or model M you’d want a different adapter, USB to whatever-it-is that IBM PCs had back in the day for connecting keyboards.

But if you attached your Model F keyboard via adapter, your function keys and Windows keys and cursor keys and whatnot ought to work properly.

Or am I missing something critical here?

Soiunds like you want a mechanical keyboard with a WASD pad. As Johnny Bravo said, they’re big with gamers. Off the top of my head, two of the big players in the market are Das and Cooler Master. I’m rattling away right now on a Cooler Master that has Cherry MX Blue switches mounted to a steel plate. Not sure what it weighs, but it doesn’t try to escape on me.

Almost as clicky and resposive as a Model M, but it’s USB and has the Windows and media control keys that you’d expect to find on a typical modern keyboard. Think they call it something like CM Storm XT Professional. The “Professional” means it’s black and doesn’t look funny in an office. (A lot of “gaming” keyboards are charitably described as ugly with weird colors and lighting.) It comes with a set of red WASD keycaps that I had no use for as I’m not a gamer.

Only downside is that mechanical keyboards aren’t cheap. This one cost around $100-120, and models from Das go even higher. The MX Blue switches are the loud clicky ones with a light touch. They also make versions that have a similar touch, but less noisy, and silent switches in a variety of firmness.

You Want This.

I’ve owned a few Model Ms, and have one that actually still works. But like you, the adapter stopped being a realistic workaround. It was replaced with a Unicomp. It’s not a metal case, but you could brain someone with it’s plastic case once and still type on it.

As Heracles says, you have to go to Unicomp for the original key mechanism (called buckling-spring keys). “Mechanical keyboard” seems to have become a catch-all term for all keyboards that use non-dome-switch keys. That said, they are very popular now, and almost all makers have at least one mechanical model. I’d try them all out to see if maybe you prefer one of the newer ones. I used to love the IBM keyboards but now use Cherry MX Brown switches. FWIW, Cherry MX Greens are supposed to emulate the feel of the old buckling-switch keyboards.

I do also have a Model M keyboard from IBM. Compared to the Model F it is cheap and flimsy. The key action also feels weak.

You are, indeed, missing something critical here: the Model F keyboard has only 84 keys. It had no cursor keys, only 10 function keys, and pre-dates the Windows key by about a decade.

The stuff I’ve found on the “buckling spring” suggests it was an innovation on the Model M keyboard and had not been used previously. Certaily My Model M does not have the same feel as My Model F. So the Unicomp Model M’s don’t appear to be the critter I’m after.

I would gladly pay $100 to $200 for a keyboard I was confident would last me 20 years and could produce the feel of typing on my Model F.

Amending my previous comment:
Having dug out my Model M for a side-by-side comparison, they may well have the same key mechanism, with the Model M just having weaker springs and a MUCH cheaper case.
So perhaps I need to find a way to test drive one of Unicomp’s products.

My reading is that Model F keyboards have a capacitive pickup, not a contact switch system, under the keys. Much more complex and expensive. Probably unobtainable now, since even IBM stopped using that technology when transitioning to the Model M. Capacitive pickup does has some advantages, mostly enforced by the complexity of the sensing mechanism. (E.g., Model Fs had unlimited key rollover, because the keys had to be sensed by the internal controller independently of each other; Model Ms had their keyswitches wired in a matrix because they could – a switch matrix makes for a simpler and cheaper design, but also limits key rollover because you can short the matrix by pressing too many keys simultaneously, generating ghost keypresses). But the cost disadvantage is probably insurmountable. A quick google doesn’t show anyone making buckling-spring capacitive keyboards any more. If it were to happen, it’s be an ultra-boutique thing, like a “more money than sense” gaming design.

Both the F and M use the buckling-spring mechanism. This is the feature responsible for keyfeel and tactile feedback. The only user difference between a Model M and a Model F is that the M uses an actual keyswitch under the spring and a Model F uses the complicated capacitive sensor design I mentioned.

The documentation I’ve read is that the Model F key pressure is typically about 5 grams lighter (which contradicts your perception that the Model M’s springs are weaker, but YMMV, since it depends on the springs on a case-by-case basis).

Since the Model M was a cost reduction re-engineering effort, I could see that the case would be cheaper than the Model F, but certainly it’s more sturdy and heavy than it practically needs to be. (The Model Ms I’ve used could easily do double duty as melee weapons, and work just fine when plugged into the computer afterwords, once you wiped the blood off.)

I use a mid-1990s Northgate Omnikey on my Amiga, and I’ve never had a complaint about it, but shrug whatever floats your boat. If you want a modern keyboard that approximates a Model F in weight and feel, a Unicomp Model-M derived design is probably your only bet.

They do still make these! Well, just started to make them again.

Full disclosure - I’m the project coordinator for Brand New Model F keyboards. Fully working capacitive buckling spring prototypes have been made and tested and a video was posted on YouTube. They are super clicky just like the originals, they work natively over USB and they are plug and play, fully configured from the factory with your choice of colors and key layouts.

The project site is in case you want to see more photos and the video.

There’s about $100,000 worth of order interest so far, and these projects have been the result of hundreds of posts and collective efforts over the past year on some mechanical keyboard forums (the Brand New Model F threads saw a combined 80,000+ pageviews).

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