Can I Get Old-Style PC Keyboards with “Clickability” Tactile Feedback?

March 4, 2009

in computer hardware

by Gabe Goldberg

No matter how much you spend for a (non-laptop) computer, it’s likely to come with a junky low-end keyboard which you’ll hate. For much of my computing career, I was spoiled by using high-quality keyboards attached to various IBM terminals; early IBM computers maintained this battleship-robust quality. I was fortunate that early in my PC use, a friend gave me not one but two IBM Model M keyboards. They’ve survived multiple moves and been connected to several PCs, and they just keep on clicking with that nice tactile feel that typing should have.

Though IBM no longer sells these historic devices, a recent NPR broadcast
Old-School Keyboard Makes Comeback Of Sorts
featured a company that does. In fact, they offer many options beyond the historic keys layout, including keyboards with Windows key and rubber TrackPoint mouse alternative pointing device.

IBM keyboard

IBM keyboard

Having two keyboards lets me alternate using them. While one is connected to my PC, the other is available for cleaning. Hearing the NPR broadcast reminded me that it was time for that chore, which involves popping and scrubbing keys and vacuuming the under-key area. Since I have several cats, ample debris collects in nooks like between keyboard keys! It’s easy enough to clean keys on a table in their keyboard order, but having two keyboards also gives me a reference if loose keys are jostled.

The characteristic “click” comes from the keyboards’ “buckling spring” technology. My keyboards will likely last forever and having them gets me a $10 discount whenever I buy a new PC and decline the standard keyboard.

Gabe Goldberg (, a lifelong computer pro and technology communicator, has written three books and hundreds of articles for audiences including techies, baby boomers and senior citizens. He enjoys sharing tips and pointers that help people use and have fun with technology.