What is this Apple II Keyboard?

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What is this Apple II Keyboard?

A while ago I bought this Apple II Keyboard from someone in th UK.  It was in a Datanetics box along with other "spare parts."  It has apparently never been used and is in excellent shape.  The keys are crisp with a sharp actuation - unlike all the other heavily used, mushy A2 keyboards I have.  It looks like a regular early Apple II keyboard, except the keys are black.  Is it from an Apple II Europlus?  An ITT 2020?  It is marked Apple Computer Inc., ASSY NO 01-0425, made in USA 1979.

 

Anyone have an info on it?

 

Thank you in advance for any information.

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Looks like an early Bell &

Looks like an early Bell & Howell release.  I believe Apple made the black keyboards exclusively for the Bell & Howell brand.

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I considered that too,  but

I considered that too,  but thought it unlikely given that it came from a parts stockpile in Europe, and the B&H was exclusive to the US educational market and not PAL compatible. But maybe someone with a B&H can look at the keyboard and confirm. 

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I have one like it that came

I have one like it that came out of a steel casing with a long long cable going somewhere. I plugged it into a II+ and it worked fine. Mine has "Cherry" label on it. I think it was used for some liberary computer terminal

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An Apple branded keyboard in

An Apple branded keyboard in a library terminal?  Does your keyboard say Apple Computer Inc. anywhere on it?  That is a very interesting keyboard you have there.  Personally I think it is a beautiful thing - I'm a great admirer of these vintage keyboards, and I have a small collection. 

 

The similarities between our two keyboards are undeniable.  The key layout is the same, the outline of the keys is identical, and it has the little light at the bottom left.  Your keyboard controller IC is dated to mid 1983, so it is about 4 years newer, or did you replace the controller/decoder chip?  There are noticeable differences, though.  The characters are larger on your keyboard; it is especially visible on the "SHIFT" and "RETURN" keys.  The frame and circuit board is totally different too.  What does the back side look like? 

 

I'm glad you posted this picture - it raises a lot of questions.  I'm curious, where did you get it and how much did you pay for it?

 

Cherry?  Is that the same Cherry that still makes mechanical keyswitches today?  I think the current Cherry Corp. is based in Germany, though.  I wonder why a UK company would almost exactly copy the Datanetics/Apple keyboard?  Many questions!

 

The keyboard I have was,  according to the guy I bought it from,  never used and kept as "replacement parts."   It also came from th UK, and I suspect it is for either a Europlus, or an ITT 2020, but I was hoping someone who owned either of those machines (and/or the Bell & Howell) could look at theirs and confirm.   I'm not sure if the ITT 2020 had Apple-branded parts in it, but I'm almost certain the Europlus did.  The Bell & Howell I have no idea.

 

I'm hoping some Apple II experts can shed some light on the subject.

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It sure looks like this one
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Similar, but that Bell &

Similar, but that Bell & Howell has the later flat-style power light.  The ITT 2020 has an identical keyboard, and I'm not sure about the Europlus.  Anyone on the forum actually own one of these machines?  I think the only way to know would be to open the case and have a look at the bare keyboard assembly.  I've seen all the pictures, but even so, a positive identification still eludes me.

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robert29b wrote:Similar, but

robert29b wrote:

Similar, but that Bell & Howell has the later flat-style power light.  The ITT 2020 has an identical keyboard, and I'm not sure about the Europlus.  Anyone on the forum actually own one of these machines?  I think the only way to know would be to open the case and have a look at the bare keyboard assembly.  I've seen all the pictures, but even so, a positive identification still eludes me.

 

I remember seeing some very early B&H that had the raised power light.  Probably very few made like that, as the vast majority I remember from back in the day had the later flat power light, and most of the ones I've seen pictures of recently have as well.

 

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On further thought, if all

On further thought, if all these machines used Apple manufactured parts, then it is likely they all used the same black keyboard.  I have seen pictures of the B&H and the parts appear to be all Apple made.  In the same vein, literature states that the ITT 2020 mas manufactured under license, and pictures I can find are somewhat inconclusive - The ROMs are Apple branded, but the motherboard looks different than a standard Apple II.  From pictures, the black keyboard looks identical  to both my own and the early B&H.

 

The Bell & Howell Apple 2 was not a home-user product and was not released in Europe, which uses PAL & SECAM as opposed to NTSC.  It was sold to the US educational & audio/video (NTSC)market.

 

So my other question is: Did any Apple II Europlus computers have black keyboards?  I am aware that at least some of them used the standard brown-colored keycaps, but most all pictures of it are later models with the flat power light.

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While B&W weren't sold in the

While B&W weren't sold in the UK, it is still possible some ended up there.  Just like Europlus weren't sold in the US, but they are (admittedly very rarely) encountered over here.  I've never seen a pic of a Europlus with anything other than a brown keycapped keyboard with the exception of one that had an obviously aftermarket clone keyboard in it.  That isn't conclusive though, and I'm not sure there is really a conclusive source these days.

 

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