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IBM Model M6/M6-1 ThinkPad, PS/note & PS/2 laptop keyboard assemblies [WARNING: photos]

Older ThinkPads from the 300, 500, 600, 700 Series, iSeries, Transnote etc.
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IBM Model M6/M6-1 ThinkPad, PS/note & PS/2 laptop keyboard assemblies [WARNING: photos]

#1 Post by sharktastica » Fri Jul 14, 2023 3:56 pm

Anyone who has or had particularly early ThinkPads (700 to 755, 350 to 365, etc.) and taken them apart or lifted the keyboard may have noticed they have an "M6" or "M6-1" Model M designation on their manufacture sticker... The IBM Model M6 was the original family of ThinkPad keyboards used on many historical models, using IBM's own key-switch technology (IBM buckling rubber sleeves, thus related to the Model M3 IBM PS/2 L40SX keyboards/numpads and M4/M4-1 desktop keyboards) and were the first keyboards with integrated TrackPoints and the vessel that popularised the 7-row 'classic' layout ThinkPad fans are fond of. In my opinion, good keyboards in their own right and much loved by period press and some current ThinkPad fans.

This is my wiki page documenting all known variations of these keyboards. A nice exercise to see how this type of keyboard developed over the '90s. Built upon my earlier article from late 2021 (that is now grossly out of date). Included are not only IBM branded ones, but various others that a former part of IBM who made most of these keyboards - Lexmark - produced for their own branded laptops and third parties. Non-IBM laptops using IBM keyboard technology!

The page: https://sharktastica.co.uk/wiki?id=modelm6 (FYI, there's a lot of photos inside. Best viewed on desktop.)

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Also included are some common design specs, a discussion on M6 vs M6-1, and a description of the "types" system I came up with to describe the 6 common layout/form-factor combo lineages.

Applicable IBM portables include the PS/2 CL57SX, PS/note 182, PS/note 425, 350, 355, 360, 365, 370C, 500, 510, 700, 720, 750, 755C, Power Series 850, RS/6000 Notebook N40 and RS/6000 Notebook 860.


Special thanks to the following:
  • laptop.pics - once again helped as an important collaborator, providing many photos from their collection
  • Jason Eckert - photos of the Tadpole 3000ST's keyboards
  • micrex22 - the initial inspiration and technically starting the process of highlighting M6-1 in their 2016 DT post
  • themk - for having their Discord DMs open and listening to me as I ramble on and stream my train of thought whilst writing this
Last edited by sharktastica on Tue Aug 08, 2023 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: IBM Model M6/M6-1 ThinkPad, PS/note & PS/2 laptop keyboard assemblies [WARNING: photos]

#2 Post by axur-delmeria » Sat Jul 15, 2023 10:32 am


Your wonderful articles make me want to personally experience these keyboards. :D

Too bad these Thinkpads are obsolete (too old and slow), hard to find (especially where I live), and (probably) expensive. :(
Planned Purchase: T480s i5-8350 FHD Touch
Impulse Buy: Thinkpad not named for safety reasons :lol:

Old Faithful: X220 4291-C91 i7-2620M

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