The very first Brand New Model F Keyboard is shipping! A Classic Case F62 in Black with HHKB Style Split Right Shift and Split Backspace, serial number 5, going to a forum member who picked the single digit serial option and was also an early bird tooling volunteer.
(For those who have not been following recent updates, I will note that there is still time to order your Brand New Model F Keyboard and/or any accessories like the First Aid Kit for future repairs, extra key sets, Model F key pullers, and other parts. Also I will note that the keyboards have started shipping – it does not mean that your keyboard will be shipping right away! There is still a ways to go to get everyone’s keyboard out.)
Lots of photos are below (updated 12/15/19 with the second, third, and fourth keyboards to ship!). Here are some descriptions of the photos:
Production boxes – shown without tape, with fiber reinforced gummed paper tape applied to both box flaps, and with the final IBM-style box sticker denoting the serial number, production date, plant number, and containing a working Code 39 barcode (same tech IBM used) encoded with the text displayed below the barcode.
The actual first keyboard – described above. Extra keys to make up the full 103 key set are included in the two plastic bags.
The alignment of the keyboard label, using a carpenter’s square. The label is positioned the same way IBM positioned it for the 4704 keyboards – if you lift the spacebar-side edge up while the keyboard is on your desk, the label will be right side up.
The foam keyboard packaging, sealed with fiber reinforced tape as IBM did back in the day. Note that the Brand New Model F Keyboards tape has not yet yellowed as IBM’s keyboards have done (after a few decades!)
The keyboard booklet (“Keyboard Operator’s Guide” per IBM nomenclature), printed on color paper like many 1980s pamphlets and containing safety information and other important information.
The order packing slip printed on vintage continuous form, tractor feed, green bar computer paper with a dot matrix printer. Names and addresses have been blocked out for privacy reasons, and the second page was removed for ease of viewing the photo.
Please note the black electrical tape around the space bar stabilizer wire, in the area where it contacts the metal tabs. This has significantly improved the space bar sound in my testing and has reduced the metal-on-metal rattling present on some new Model F’s. So far I have been adding this tape to each keyboard that would benefit from it. Also I push down the tops of the space bar tabs a bit to help reduce space bar movement and improve stability of the key. Be careful when removing the space bar (be sure to push the metal stabilizer wire out of each tab one tab at a time to push up the tab a little so that you do not force out the space bar).