Keyboard Builders' Digest
Keyboard Builders' Digest / Keyboard Spotting

Matra Alice 90

The Matra Alice 90 is a French 8-bit computer first marketed in 1983. Posted by videoface.

No, this is ofc not THAT Alice (the least ergo ergo one). This is a Matra Alice 90, a French 8-bit computer from 1983.

It has a strange arrow placement and also Ctrl on the place of Caps Lock which is a popular mod nowadays.

However, there's much more to this model than its retro layout. This photo, originally posted by videoface in the r/cassettefuturism sub, thought me several things and also started me on a trip down memory lane.

Firstly, this hot little computer with the mesmerizing color was probably marketed for girls(?). At least that's what both the color and the manual cover with a cute female figure suggest.

And that's not just quite unique but maybe also one of the last such ones before the 1984 cliff when women stopped pursuing Computer Science majors at American universities – partly due to mostly males appearing in advertisements. Jess Conditt writes about this sad phenomenon in her article What happened to all of the women coders in 1984?

Back to the manual cover: the style of the drawing looked strangely familiar right at first sight. As it turns out, it was drawn by comics artist legend Moebius.

More on this later in the Behind the Scenes post.

Published on Sat 2nd Oct 2021. Featured in KBD #46 (source).


Hughes printing telegraph, 1860

The Hughes printing telegraph, the second "keyboard", was a huge improvement compared to its predecessor. Spotted by TheSemiHistorian.


Veyboard: syllable chording

When you think you've already seen everything, mrmrabcabc introduces Veyboard, a syllable chording keyboard.

Bull Questar 200/210

Some nice boards found in an abandoned place in France. Shared by druka-grey.


1989 Nixdorf Computers keyboard

1989 Nixdorf Computers keyboard with 30 F-keys. Renovated (lubed mx blacks, dampened, retrobrite) by bubr123.