Keyboards with many keys (medical) and unusual keyboards

There are many unusual keyboards (can be found easily on Google).
I recently saw this medical keyboard, captured from the German documentary 40 Jahre Aids - Wir leben noch.

Probably ~1985 in Berlin. I can’t identify the brand.
Today’s medical keyboards rather look like regular keyboards, most have one or more dials. There are also waterproof membrane keyboards and steel keyboards.

Any other keyboards for medical or other purposes with many keys? (Except for a sound studio or mainframe panels).

I also found this interesting commissioned soviet style keyboard with military connectors, dual switch safety system, 2x3 lamps and green keys (but with not that many keys). Gallery, best is the last animation

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Regarding keyboards, Marcin Wichary (known for great computer history related photos) has been working on a book about keyboards for a while now. There may be some interesting photos on his Flickr stream and albums.

A binary keypad 3 keys

Famously, the chorded keypad that came as a complement to the mouse (with NLS), was a binary Baudot input (one bit for each finger – you can’t do this with ASCII).

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Game pads and music keyboards would be non ascii input.A pipe orgin is not a standard
pc device,but other computers may have had them connected.Byte Magazine Volume 03 Number 03 - Computer Music Systems : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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When I saw “pipe organ” + “computer”, I immediately thought that it had to have been something by Jef Raskin, and I was not disappointed: Byte Magazine Volume 03 Number 03 - Computer Music Systems : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive (direct article link to page 56).

You might have disagreed with some of Raskin’s user interface philosophies (Steve Jobs certainly did, and fired Raskin from the original Macintosh team) but they were always interesting. Raskin’s Leap Keys in the SwyftWare/Canon Cat systems were clever indeed.

The story I have always heard was that when Steve appointed himself as the new Macintosh boss and started taking it in a “mini Lisa” direction, Jef got angry and quit. That is different from being fired.


Many years ago, I used to work in a commercial graphics outfit, as a typesetter, using then-new-fangled computerized typesetting equipment. Mine was a CompuGraphic Editwriter 7500, and I got pretty good at flying around the four “outrigger” keypads, which had controls for selecting font size, face, adjusting spacing, and dynamically re-setting line leading and so forth.

Picture from a printing museum website, apparently from Belgium, but these machines were very common in the small-batch photo-typesetting world in the 1980s.

Interesting that the keyboard is visually less impressive than I remember it. Still, very niche and special-purpose.

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I found this very rare keyboard, recently sold on ebay (10 bids, 38 GBP).
From Troy Systems Limited (Wembley).
There are some more close-up photos on ebay.
Not just the amount of keys and the alignment, but also the functions are interesting. And there’s a quite large display.
On enter, there’s also XMIT transfer function. Others include

Deal 2000, bid, offer, Tele-rate, … Maybe for a horse race betting computer. There’s even a horse as logo.

A similar from Cherry for Reuters is this (149 keys)

Another rare keyboard is here (Devlin Terminal Mitsumi minature mechanical) with many keys

Look like three-letter codes for London Underground stations - it turns out there are half a dozen different sets of these codes.

There’s a similar 149 key Cherry keyboard for Reuters for Market Trading

See also the keys for “Tunnel Tel” and “Station PA” – this seems to be a keyboard for a London Underground related communication system.