Lisp Machine Keyboards

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

To understand the history of lisp machine keyboards, you must know some history of lisp machines.

Lisp Machines are computers (hardware) designed to run lisp programing language efficiently.

  1. CONS machine. First lisp machine. At MIT.
  2. 1974. CADR machine. 2nd generation of CONS. 25 prototype were sold.
  3. 1981. Symbolics LM-2, by Symbolics Inc. Commercial version of CADR. About 100 are made.
  4. 1981. LMI-CADR, commercial version of CADR by LMI (LMI is Lisp Machines Inc).
  5. 1983. Symbolics 3600.
  6. 1983. LMI-LAMBDA (about ~200 sold).
  7. Symbolics 3640, xl1200, MacIvory, and others.
  8. Texas Instruments, Explorer, MicroExplorer.
  9. Xerox, Innterlisp-D workstation. • Xerox 1100, Dolphin (1979) • Xerox 1132, Dorado • Xerox 1108, Dandelion (1981) • Xerox 1109, Dandetiger • Xerox 1186/6085, Daybreak

Lisp Machine pretty much stopped in 1990, due to, onset of Personal Computer that are cheaper and faster, and “AI Winter” (industry's failed expectation of AI research).

2018-07-11 Wikipedia Lisp machine

SAIL Keyboard

SAIL Keyboard. (SAIL = Stanford AI Lab. SAIL was started in 1963 by John McCarthy.)

SAIL keyboard b1c80-s306x204
SAIL Keyboard

The Knight Keyboard

This is the first lisp machine keyboard, probably took inspiration from the SAIL keyboard, because the color theme, and many keys and layout, are similar.

Knight keyboard. Made around 1974. This keyboard is used for the CADR Lisp Machine (and possibly also the CONS lisp machine)

lisp knight keyboard-s339x184
Knight Keyboard

CADR keyboard

This is used by Lisp Machine Inc's LMI-CADR, around 1981 and i think also by Symbolics LM-2 lisp machine.

lmi-cadr keyboard 1st gen space cadget 31997-s289x217
Lisp Machine LMI-CADR keyboard

Space-Cadet Keyboard

This is the famous Space-cadet Keyboard, year 1981.

It is the most famous lisp keyboard because its the most exotic.

Space Cadet keyboard 2
Space-Cadet, 1981

Symbolics Keyboard PN 364000

This model is used with Symbolics 3600 machines. Year 1983.

symbolics keyboard pn364000 mrq3w-s349x179
Symbolics Keyboard PN 364000

Symbolics keyboard PN 365407

This model comes after the PN 364000, and is compatible to it. This is used in Symbolics 36xx series, perhaps around 1985.

Symbolics keyboard PN 365407 130df-s349x179
Symbolics keyboard PN 365407

Xerox 1109 lisp keyboard

This keyboard is for Xerox 1109 lisp machine. Year ~1982.

xerox 1109 lisp keyboard 70302
Xerox 1109 lisp keyboard [Photo by Marcin Wichary https://twitter.com/mwichary/status/1017277469529784320]

Racal-Norsk KPS-10 Lisp Prototype Keyboard

Racal-Norsk KPS-10 keyboard 1-s303x206
Racal-Norsk KPS-10 Lisp Prototype Keyboard

Lisp Machine Keyboard USB Driver

2018-07-12 by Mike McMahon (aka MMcM) https://github.com/MMcM/lmkbd2#space-cadet-direct

Lisp Machine

  1. Lisp Machine Keyboards
  2. SAIL Keyboard
  3. Knight Keyboard
  4. Lisp Machine LMI-CADR keyboard
  5. Space-Cadet Keyboard
  6. Symbolics Keyboard PN 364000
  7. Symbolics keyboard PN 365407
  8. Racal-Norsk KPS-10 Lisp Prototype Keyboard
  9. History of Emacs and vi Keys
Did i $save$ you from getting a brick?

$5 me, at patreon
or paypal to xah@xahlee.org

If you have a question, put $5 at patreon and message me.

  1. Ergo Keyboards
  2. PC Keyboards
  3. Fun Keyboards
  4. Keypads
  5. Do-It-Yourself
  6. History
  7. Design
  8. Layout
  9. Keybinding
  10. Typing
  11. Key How-To
  12. Mouse
  13. Trackball
  14. Trackball History
  15. Misc
  16. Blog