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IBM model M (silver label) 1986 - 1989
IBM model M 1391401 (white label) 1987 - 1992
IBM model M 1393464 (white label) 1987 - 1992
IBM model M 1391401 (blue label) 1992 - 1996
IBM model M (blue label) 1993 - 1996
IBM model M 42H1292 (blue label) 1995 - 1999
IBM model M (51G8572) 1993 - 1997
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keyboards (new: never been used)
Rare IBM model M keyboards
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IBM model M (industrial ps/2 model)
IBM model M (soft touch buckling spring)
IBM model M space saving (84-key)
IBM model M2 (1395300 ps/1 model)
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IBM model M4-1 (trackpoint)
IBM model M5-1 (trackball)
IBM model M5-2 (trackball)
IBM model M13 black (Trackpoint II)
IBM model M13 white (Trackpoint II)
IBM model M15 (split ergonomic)
other model M keyboards (Lexmark, Dell)
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IBM PC XT original keyboard (83-key)
IBM PC AT original keyboard (84-key) 1984 - 1985
IBM model M international keyboard layouts
IBM non-clicky (rubber dome) keyboards
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ps2 keyboard to USB adapter converters
model M small parts (springs, feet, screws, keys)
replacement model M SDL to ps/2 keyboard cables
IBM trackpoint / Thinkpad pointer stick red cap
IBM model M replacement key caps
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Japanese keyboards

 Frequently Asked Questions  

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WWW clickykeyboards.com

IBM (www.ibm.com) and other trademarks used on this website are the property of their respective holders. We have no affiliation with IBM (International Business Machines), Lenovo, Lexmark, Unicomp or any other keyboard manufacturer.

 


Q. What is your email address? How can I contact you for additional information?
A. Our address is
sales@clickykeyboards.com. We try to answer all emails within 24 hours, Monday-Friday during normal business hours (UTC - 5). (No weekends, no holidays) If sending us email, be sure to

1) use a valid return email address (you would be surprised how many people write long emails expecting a response, but then do not leave a return address)
2) add (
sales@clickykeyboards.com) to your safe sender list so that our response to you is not filtered as spam.

Q. You have already sold thousands of keyboards. Do you have a one-click means to only view the items that you currently have in stock?
A. Yes.. you can use the following link to browse products in stock.  Most model M keyboards sell within a few days of being listed.  Inventory updated weekly.

Q. Why do you keep details of previously sold keyboards?  Would it not be far cheaper and easier to forget the details, sell just what is wildly popular at the cheapest lowest common price, and to just list what items are now available?
A. We have enjoyed the archival nature of generating detailed information and providing first-hand "fanatical" knowledge about vintage IBM keyboards.  We are unlike the average online auction / surplus junkyard "expert" who is trying to cleanout the warehouse before the next garbage truck comes, or the anonymous neckbeard "expert" from 127.0.0.1 who may have vaguely remembered last using this IBM hardware in 1986, or the big box blue shirt "expert" who may be basing their opinion on a sample size of 1 unit; or even worse, write inflated and exaggerated opinions but not actually own the specific hardware being reviewed. 

We have successfully sold thousands of model M keyboards to those who can appreciate their tactile and clicky qualities and we have satisfied 99.9% of our customers around the world.  For example, see (http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p648qGSv2K7D-LBY4i7eNYg) for a detailed, open spreadsheet of all the 1391401 keyboards (over 1000 individual keyboards) that we have collected and sold.   With the spreadsheet, we have archived information which includes links to photographs and an index of the part number, serial number, production date and Plt No. of individual 1391401 keyboards. 

Some may call us fanatical geeks, but we believe that we can provide an expert, informed opinion about this specialized item.  We carefully describe and clearly photograph the items that we have currently for sale.  We have established an online store and merchant account to process secure, encrypted credit card payments with Visa and Mastercard (not just PayPal).  We clearly post the shipping rates before we ask for payment information.  We package and ship the next business day using generally accepted USPS shipping practices.  We have carefully made our site so that it is easily searchable and indexed by Google.  We do this, so that we can put good products in the hands of interested buyers who have carefully researched their purchase. 

We do not require for users to pre-register to determine item pricing, or to "call for availability" and then try to bait and switch with "equivalent products", or send me a private email and play the "make-me-an-offer" game, or give us all your personal credit card info today then we will calculate the total with shipping and contact you tomorrow.  We do not ship international parcels via UPS or FedEx, as we have found that international customers are sometimes subjected to extra UPS/FedEx "brokerage" fees. 

We know that there are those who seek tools that are better than "average" or "acceptable".  We believe in the viability of providing the remaining quantity of true IBM keyboards to those who seriously care about the tools they use on a daily basis. 

Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A.
We accept MasterCard and Visa. We also accept PayPal and certified checks and money orders. For orders less than $10 you can physically mail payment to us in a self-addressed, self-stamped (SASE) padded envelope. Contact us for mailing address.

Q. What is your warranty and return policy?
A.
We know that it is difficult to judge and subjectively describe the sound and feel of a "clicky", tactile keyboard.  We offer all our customers the same 30-day no risk, no hassle warranty and relatively simple return policy. If you are not satisfied with your item within 30 days, you can return the item to us and we will refund 100% of the price of the item. The initial and return shipping charges are not refundable. 

We carefully select, test, clean and re-test all refurbished keyboards before we make them available for sale. But after thousands of sales every year selling vintage keyboards, we have seen things happen: (The keyboard is nice.. but it was not 100% exactly what I remembered from when I was in high school in 1987; Mom getting mad because spent too much on her credit card again; I thought that ps/2 connection meant Sony Playstation 2 compatibility; I read that the model M keyboard is like an IBM selectric typewriter and I do not see where to insert the paper and typewriter ribbon; the buckling spring action is nice for a tactile feel, but I need complete solitary silence; item was shipped around the world from New York to Seoul, Korea and arrived in 7 days.. but it was delayed by customs inspection and I needed it in 2 days, items were shipped via APO military mail from New York to Iraq and damaged by carrier during shipment to active war zone, or I am extremely disappointed that the keyboard adapter did not allow me to hook up my Casio 88-key MIDI keyboard to my computer).

Q. I am a customer from outside the US and I find the international shipping rate to be expensive. Can you just squish and flatten and ship the keyboard it in a paper envelope and ship via the cheapest airmail rate?
The cost of shipping 3-dimensional parcels is different than the standard cost of airmail flat letters.  We complete all necessary import/export documentation.  We ship items internationally via USPS priority international, as this is insured and traceable.  We want satisfied customers to receive the items they paid for and we are not interested in going to the seaside and putting keyboards and messages in a bottle putting our goods on ocean-going container ships and then wondering where the package is and whether it will arrive 3-6 months later. The cost of international postage includes foreign currency conversion fees and is determined by the total weight of the package (not by the specific price of the item) (approximate international shipping weight of a model M keyboard is 7-8lbs or about 3-4 kg).


Q. What is a mechanical switch keyboard and how is it different than a standard keyboard?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_technology
http://www.ergocanada.com/ergo/keyboards/mechanical_vs_membrane_keyswitches.html

Q. Where were model M keyboards made?
The vast majority of model M keyboards were Made in the USA.  In fact, model M keyboards were originally produced at the IBM (and later Lexmark) production facilities at 740 West New Circle Road, Lexington Kentucky 40511.  Some model M keyboards were also made in Greenock, Scotland and by IBM and Maxi-switch production facilities in Mexico.

Q. Why are these IBM model M keyboards still popular after 20 years?
A. While CPUs, RAM, hard drives, optical drives, operating systems, display monitors, and computer mice have all gotten faster. New computer keyboards are treated as an afterthought and have dropped in quality as the price of a PC has gone down and keyboards have become a short-term commodity item.  Computer makers are interested in shipping the smallest, thinnest, lowest weight item that they can get away with.  Certain computer pros prefer professional-grade  tools, as compared to "free with purchase" keyboards. 

Wall Street Journal: Online
MSNBC
cnet
dansdata.com
wikipedia.org

 


Q. Which IBM model M keyboard do you recommend?
If you are looking for one, true keyboard, we recommend. . .
(most popular category of keyboards that we sell)
. . .our white label (1391401) keyboards
1391401

If you are looking for an earlier vintage item from 1986 or 1987, we recommend. . .
1987 IBM model M (1386085) rare variant. . .our silver label (1390120 or 1390131) keyboards 1390120

If you are looking for lower-cost cheap solution, we recommend. . .
. . .our blue label models (52G9658, 92G74533, 42H1292) models.
blue
 

 


Q. How many keyboards do you have in stock?

Part of our interest in maintaining this collection of vintage keyboards is to determine
1) when was the first model M keyboard produced? (earliest documented evidence appears to be late 1985, not 1984 as the (c) states)
2) how many model M keyboards were produced? (we have been photographing and recording individual keyboards to create a database of known serial numbers and production dates) 
http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p648qGSv2K7D-LBY4i7eNYg
3) what are the differences between Made by IBM vs. Manufactured for IBM by Lexmark vs. Made by Unicomp?

for example:
earliest known (verified) model M keyboard 1388032 (December 1985, old style barcode rear label)
oldest known 1390120 silver label model M keyboards (January - June 1986, old style barcode rear label)
 

Q. ..but I am a) the senior uber most-excellent executive assistant to a powerful CIO executive of a three letter government agency and my boss will fire me if I don’t get this keyboard, b) an over-medicated ADHD kid on Paxil or Ritalin and I demand that you give me what I want or both my moms will get mad. or c) an 3733t HX0R, level 80 paladin from 127.0.0.1 and I must have this keyb0ard for my next WoW quest....

..and I really, really, really want an all black IBM model M -13 keyboard or an ergonomic split design M-15 keyboard
A. The most popular "contact us" inquires that we receive are for these two keyboard types. When they were made from 1994 - 1998, they were produced in much smaller numbers as compared to other model M keyboards and thus they are very difficult to still find in good condition and are thus rare collectibles.

However, on occasion, we are able to locate one or two of these limited keyboards. If you would like to be put on a notification list, email us a sales@clickykeyboards.com


 
Q. What exactly does an IBM model M keyboard sound like?

www.clickykeyboard.com/model_m_sound.mp3

Q. Why can't my new 2011 computer work with the vintage 1987 IBM keyboard via the ps/2 port ? My computer does not have a ps/2 port, can I use just any cheaper USB dongle adapter?
http://web.archive.org/web/20080228180642/http://www.geocities.com/jszybowski/keyboard/index.htm
ps/2 to USB adapter converter for keyboards

Q. Why does my keyboard cable only have 4-pins or 6-pins?
Across the 20+ year lifespan of the product, IBM and Lexmark made model M keyboards that used 6-pin and 4-pin ps/2 configurations.  The normal ps/2 keyboard only uses 4 pins. 
http://www.ibmmuseum.com/ohlandl/keyboard/Keyboard.html
There are four conductors used (+5v, Ground, Clock and Data)  Only the pins 1, 3, 4, and 5 are used to communicate with the computer.  Pins 2 and 6 are not used for signaling and are not connected.  There are no functional differences between the keyboard ps/2 connector with 4-pins vs. 6-pins.

Q. What exactly is a "buckling spring"

 

A. IBM Model M keyboards use a spring mechanism to translate the physical movements of typing into electrical signals. for more info

 

(image from Qwerters Clinic, Japan)

Q. What is so special about the IBM model M keyboard?
1. It is the rare computer part from the 1980s that still works in the 21st century.
2. Keys are standard size and standard locations (e.g., not having to search for the tiny keys that some keyboard designer decided to move and translocate because it looked better in a marketing promo ad)
3. Keys have full-length travel and actuate before hitting the bottom, not like the laptop style short-length travel that requires a full press to register.
4. The lettering on each key is imprinted and dyed into the plastic (not a removable sticker or rub-off paint)
5. All letter keys are the same full size/shape and can be easily swapped from QWERTY to DVORAK or removed for perodic cleaning
6. Within each model M keyboard, there is a 1.2 pound curved steel plate which places the keys at the optimal typing angle and forms a solid base for typing madly away at.
7. Each keyboard has an individualized serial number and the exact date of manufacture printed on the bottom keyboard plate.
8. No extraneous function keys for "Windows", or "sleep", "check mail", "hibernate", "more lotion".
9. No shiny shiny plastic that needs constant cleaning and polishing to remove fingerprints. No clear plastic to trap and collect lunchtime crumbs and hair and to grow science experiments.  No cheap plastic which is susceptible to
yellowing over time.
10. most Model M keyboards were "Made in the USA".


Q. Do you buy surplus IBM keyboards? 
A. Yes, if you have a large quantity (pallets or gaylord boxes) of IBM keyboards (25-250 units) in fair, working condition with or without missing keys or cables, we do buy and pay cash for IBM keyboards in large quantites.  We deal with many busy e-waste, metal recyclers and freight companies, and I would rather not see them ripped apart for pennies of scrap metal or added to the landfill.  Clickykeyboards has the resources, expertise and ability to dedicate to restoring and focusing on model M keyboards.

Q. Does typing on a model M sounds like a machine-gun? (most typical exaggeration that we read in forum posts)
A. The experienced typist can type at 80 words per minute. The average word including a space is 6 characters long. So at a rate of 480-500 keystrokes per minute, we can imagine the analogy. We do not think anyone would seriously confuse the typing on a model M mechanical keyboard with a gunshot. In reality, the model M sounds as if you were typing on a typewriter with the instantaneous impact of the letters onto paper. If you do not like the "noise" that a typewriter makes as each letter is formed, then you would not like the model M keyboard.  

 


Q. I have read that the use of a rubber-dome keyboard is "better" to type with than a buckling spring model M keyboard.
A. I do not think that it requires more "work" to type with a model M keyboard as compared to a standard keyboard. In fact, I think it requires less work..


If you are a weenie have weak fingers, you probably are not an expert touch-typist with developed skills. I find it much easier to type with a keyboard that has some built-in resistance, because it allows me to quickly move my fingers across the range of keys without having to look at each key to confirm that a key has really been pressed.  This is in contrast to trying to use the touch-screen key pad at the ATM which has extra big buttons and no tactile response.

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