Keyboards (in general)

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Wed Nov 21 23:55:08 CST 2007

On 21 Nov 2007 at 21:36, Tom Watson wrote:

> You are a bit mistaken.  TTY's DID have shift keys.  On the five level machines
> (28, 32, etc.) there was a LETR and FIGS shift.  

Hmmm, I recall that on my Model 15, it said LTRS.  But this was not 
what we'd think of as a true shift (i.e. "dead" key).  It actually 
sent a code to shift one way or the other.  Hence, when sending a 
message, it was good practice to send LTRS LTRS LTRS just in case one 
or more instance got lost in the garble.  Nothing like trying to read 
a message that's shifted the wrong way. :)

> Many early CRT terminals didn't have upper case letters either.  The ADM-3 had
> lower case as an option.  Some of the portable Silent 700's (I remember having
> one) didn't have lower case.  Those that had lower case used 'miniature
> letters' not ture lower case.

Many of the older terminals lacked lowercase, particularly those 
early ones used on 6-bit systems.  In fact, operator's console 
displays lacked them  (the CDC 6602/6612 didn't, even though it had a 
graphics mode).  But then, most line printers commonly used trains 
that didn't have lowercase either (large character sets tend to print 
more slowly).

On the other hand, it's much easier to produce an attractive 
uppercase display on something like an 8x8 grid.  Good-looking 
descenders on coarse displays are very difficult to display passably. 
Some terminals just printed uppercase in a smaller font to give the 
idea of lowercase.

What the heck, if the ancient Romans could do without them, why do we 
need them?

>Keypunches are another catagory.

I've never seen a keypunch that could print, much less punch 
lowercase without the operator resorting to multiple-punch mode.


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