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Thread: "Reunited and it feels so goooood...." A (happy) keyboard story

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Berzerkeley, California, USA

    Default "Reunited and it feels so goooood...." A (happy) keyboard story

    (If that lyric/title didn't cause a painful flashback, please click here.)

    About two years ago I picked up the keyboard from an old Xerox workstation - not the Alto, but it had a definite 1970s "look and feel" right down to the DB-25 connector. This was part of the clear-out from Peter Wallace's Mesa Electronics, and I figured eventually I'd find somebody like Curious Marc who needed this model keyboard to go with an incomplete machine. It had been sitting inside my front door for the past so many months, waiting for pictures to be posted here. The keyboard has a paper label taped to it that reads "TERRAPIN" in a very distinct font, which makes it memorable even if you don't see it every single time you leave the house and return home...

    Yesterday I drove down to the Vintage Computer Festival West, and after picking up a CHM membership and VCF admission, I made my way to the main hall. Well, the first thing I saw as I crossed the threshold, literally just inside the doors on the right, was the table Josh Dersh was manning for the LCM(+L). And sitting at the far end of that table was a Xerox 8010 with a paper label taped to the top that read "TERRAPIN" in a very distinct font... That stopped me in my tracks, and after a few minutes I interrupted the conversation that had been in progress when I arrived.

    I believed the keyboard at my house had come to Peter through the UC Berkeley campus, but at first this seemed like a mismatch because when I asked about the origin of the 8010 Josh said it was originally at Princeton. But, he continued, a Princeton student had rescued it (and some others) and brought it with them to UC Berkeley, and sometime after that it found its way to LCM - to be honest, I missed everything after he mentioned that it had been at Cal. Encouraged by this, I explained that I thought I might have the keyboard from this machine, and brought up a picture of the keyboard with the label on my phone. They were too similar not to be a match...

    So today I went back to Mountain View and donated the keyboard to the LCM - complete with all the "patina" that had accumulated over the years... Apologies to anybody who needs one of these keyboards to bring a machine up, but I think returning it to the original system unit (or at least one it had been used with back in the day, I don't know if it's possible to match the serial numbers) was the right outcome.

    Many thanks to Josh and the LCM for bringing a great exhibit to VCF West! And to Erik Klein and everybody who helped make VCFW happen, so we could experience this little bit of serendipity.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Kamloops, BC, Canada
    Blog Entries


    Josh manages to make his way around. I'll make a note that I owe him a beer.
    [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
    [No time for videos? Click here to visit my Twitter feed @CelGenStudios]

    = Excellent space heater

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