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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

gadgets and gizmos

I have been and will continue to be very busy, but wanted to get a post in briefly.  I'm using the cleaned-up IBM Model M keyboard.

back when screens were small I have no idea why they'd have needed a 12' cord on the keyboard. 
  Also notice the F2 key.  I have another model M (also from the bins) but made for a mainframe. The hack to use it with a pc is pretty elaborate.  I think I'd rather try wiring the usb typewriter kit to it.  At any rate I raided it for two keytops and it also is missing F2, so I used another.

Hey similar to our typewriter shop stickers!

It worked about 90% when I got it.  At times any and all keys would work, at others, the b, v and c would fail.

I looked on the web, and was skeptical.  Besides the oft-repeated (often ALL CAPS) admonition NOT to try to disassemble the keys, the only advice was to remove the tops and put it in the dishwasher, then dry it in a hot car if available.  Well, I don't have a dishwasher, but I could still try cleaning it.

I removed the tops and sprayed it down with an aerosol, alcohol-based window cleaner and let it sit awhile.  Then I tried spraying it in the kitchen sink.

Big mistake.  The diverter valve broke in the sprayer and clogged the whole tap.

So, I rinsed it in the tub and stuck it in my car,  We got a heat wave the next week, so score one for me.

After some days, I started hooking it up to see if it was recovered and I still had a few days left to wait while the space bar dried further, but the B was working now, which was encouraging.  Now, it's working as well as anything I have and I've reinstalled the keytops.  Plus it's cleaner than most of my typewriters.

Here are two slide rules I've acquired lately.  The Pickett Model 4 is my first with hyperbolic scales.

The Post is interesting not for its functions but as a wartime rule.  Post rules had been made by Hemmi in Japan and of course that was out in the 40's, but we still needed slide rules (to make the a-bomb, for one thing) so they made them in the US.  This particular series gets dissed for painted-on scales and cheap construction, etc. but it would get the job done.  This one was hardly used at all, and even has its box!  I got it with a bunch of drafting tools, an E-6B and a distance measuring tool.  I suspect the owner may have been a successful architect or surveyor who also had a plane.


  1. ooh, Model M clicky! I hope you get it working reliably (:

  2. I still have and use an M keyboard. A few years ago I had quite a few and gave them away. Then when the modern tactile ones started to fail quite regularly I reverted back to the trusty Ms (that I had to buy at a much higher price than all the free ones I had before).

    Those slide rules are quite nice. I still have mine from college and a few others. Just in case the batteries in my calculator dies.


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