To say that the enthusiast keyboard community is both passionate and resourceful would be an understatement, especially when it comes to resurrecting favorite typing technologies of yore. Hall Effect switches are coming back, for example, and now a revival of the famed IBM Model F with its buckling spring switches is nigh.
The Model F is not exactly the mechanical keyboard that started it all, but it may as well be. What’s more, the keyboard and its switches were discontinued decades ago, so if you wanted to put your paws on the legend, you needed to either dig one up in a junk pile or build a time machine. Now, though, you can order one up from Model F keyboards, which is the brainchild of the fellow who goes by Ellipse on Deskthority and Geekhack. He’s been clear, though, that the larger enthusiast keyboard community has been a big part of this project.
The fruition of all of these efforts is a production run. Preorders are open now and remain so until July 31.
There are two primary repro models that Model F is producing in this go, the F77 and the F62 “Kishaver.” Both come in a more traditional chassis or a more compact, modern-looking case. You’ll pay $325 for the base keyboard, and the keycap sets start at $29 and come in iconic beige/off-white or “Industrial Gray” or black.
The keyboards come in ANSI, ISO, and HHKB-style layouts. You can configure the layout to your liking from the factory, but you can also program them “easily” once you get them in your hands, too.
When you preorder, you’ll be charged right away. According to Model F’s website, “Production is expected to take several months, and sea mail from China to me should take 2-4 additional weeks.” They ship out in order, by serial number. So far, preorders have totaled more than $270,000.
You can see a host of glamor shots of the retro planks as well as detailed history of the Model F in general, and this project specifically, on the Model F website.