compucolor II on ebay

Billy Pettit Billy.Pettit at
Mon Mar 5 15:40:12 CST 2007

Chris M wrote:

 Ok, here's probably the zaniest question of the week.
How many computers/terminals/or-what-have-you used
happy colorful keytops? I really expect you all to
work hard at a comprehensive list this time, or I'll
get so mad I just might quit the list! LOL LOL LOL
don't count on it!!

Billy:  I'm certain you'll see all kinds of answers.  This is an old idea,
reinvented every generation of keyboards.  Coloured keys was a common
technique long before the PC world.  In the late '50's, different colours
were used to indicate which keys represented instructions - this was back in
the days of inputting your program directly through the keyboard.  A good
example is the RPC-4000 or LPG-30.

Before that, there were some keyboards that were used for more than one
language, with switches to control the language.  I saw this on some of the
Fujitsu computers of the mid-50's.  The keyboard could input normal English
characters or Kanji.  The Kanji characters were colour coded to reflect the
root character.

Saw that same concept on many other keyboards that used characters unique to
a language all through the early computer industry around the world.

Going further back, some of the linotypes were modified for special
characters and used different coloured key tops for special characters.
I've seen photos of this from the 30's and 40's.

I'll have to ask the typewriter egroup what they think is the oldest.  I
would bet it goes back to the earliest typing machines.



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