The retro-modern, steampunk industry has a huge fan base. With computers becoming a necessity, it was only matter of time before steampunk designs made their way into keyboards too. Here are custom-crafted, steampunk keyboards that are sure to elicit a 'Wow' from any one. They look like relics of a bygone era but don't be fooled. They function better than many of the modern keyboards and have a life which has been rated for millions of keypresses.
1. Datamancer Ergo
IBM arrived with the model M-15 keyboard which was special - it could be split in the middle, between the F7 and F8 keys. The M-15 has inspired the retro-futuristic Datamancer Ergo, a split keyboard with a curvy, feminine feel. The LEDs are large and violet while the soft removable wrist-pad is burgundy in color. In the center is a touchpad which is buttonless. However, it does have the left-click and right-click options on the top. The brass acanthus-leaf pattern which has been etched on the keyboard gives it a kind of medieval 'branding'. The keyboard is tipped towards the front rather than the back and this makes it surprisingly ergonomic!
Housed in an ornate wooden box with a brass band, the Reliquary is a PC keyboard that is protected like a treasure. The box has a removable stained-glass lid which is beveled to enhance the look of antiquity. As one opens the box, the front panel folds down. Once it is folded down, the hidden wrist-rest that is well padded can be seen. The buttons sit like typewriter keys and the backing leather gives the keyboard a classic look. A pleasure to look at, it is fully functional and would be surely chased by collectors.
3. Baron of Cyprus
The name for this keyboard has been derived from copper, the metal with which it has been constructed. During the times when the Roman empire was at its zenith, copper was mined extensively and exclusively on the Isle of Cyprus and was called 'cyprium'. Later, this became 'cuprum' which has become 'copper' today. Though copper is a difficult metal to work with, the Baron of Cyprus is a magnificent example of careful, intricate art. It may look like some long-lost component of the time machine described by H.G.Wells but it is a fully functional PC keyboard.
4. The Marquis
The Marquis seems to have derived a lot of inspiration and ideas from the Datamancer Ergo. Again, the acanthus-leaf design made of brass sits pretty on it. The overall design seems to have been inspired from the elegant and slender chaise-lounge. The lettering on each of the keys has been engraved with mirrored-gold acrylic. The keyboard is extremely shiny and is sure to catch the eye of anyone within 'eyeshot'. The glimmer and shine reflect off many surfaces and here you can be sure that all which glitters is indeed gold!
This keyboard has been inspired by alchemy and apothecary themes and thus has a wooden faceplate within a polished brass frame. The keys have a fancy and decorative cursive font while the sides have quatrefoil designs. The icons depicted on the keyboard along the sides where there are stained-glass-styled, lighted inserts include the Caduceus, the Bowl of Hygeia and the Eye of Ra. While the function keys depict symbols of various element, the number and tilde keys depict the symbols for the moon, sun and the planets of the solar system. The 'Enter', 'Control' and 'Shift' keys have been named after alchemical processes.
6. Industrial Keyboard
Taking you back to the times of the industrial Revolution, this keyboard looks all dirty and grimy. The faceplate is made from a steel mesh and all the keys are hexagonal nuts. Each nut has a circular bevel on top which makes the character on it stand out. The spider gear doubles up to form the feet of this keyboard and the connecting cable is a 'dirty' steel cord which has been braided. The overall look is that of an ancient relic and that is how a collector would treasure and cherish it! The screws and holes by the side add to the effect and
7. The Sojourner
This keyboard looks like it has been in the backpack of some globetrotter for the past hundred years or so! The faceplate made from aged leather along with the parchment key inserts lend credibility to any travelers' stories about the keyboard. It has been crafted and designed entirely in polished brass. The brass has a brownish-gold look but still retains subtle touches of shine. Further enhancing this antiquity effect are the hairline cracks which run through the lenses of the keys. There are also dents with scratches on the spacebar giving the keyboard a more authentically aged effect.
8. Scrabble Keyboard
Here is a wonder of a keyboard which millions of Scrabble enthusiasts around the world will simply love. All the keys are original scrabble tiles which have been hand-beveled! Of course, some of the tiles like the 'enter' and 'shift' key had to be created! A lot of time, energy and passion has gone into crafting this keyboard which has been constructed on a mechanical switch keyboard. A brushed-aluminium casing around the keys makes the keyboard a perfect accomplice for a steampunk Macintosh. A seam and some silver hardware add to the industrial look of the keyboard.
9. Emperor Chinese
The 'Cangjie' layout has been made use of to create this completely Chinese, steampunk keyboard. However, it can be ordered with the Dayi, BoPoMoFo or Wubi layouts as well. The sides have been constructed with polished brass and they hold engravings of the dragon and the phoenix, the Chinese legendary creatures. Hexagrams of the I-Ching adorn the function keys. Since Chinese is a totally different kind of language, the keys and latyout of the keyboard is slightly different to make it easy to use.
10. von Slatt Original
Black and gold have a mesmerizing effect on the viewer. That magical combination have been utilized in this all-time classic, von Slatt keyboard. The faceplate is made of black felt while the chrome keys are in gold. They are bounded in by a polished brass frame. This frame has been left unvarnished so that it develops a rich and deep patina as it ages. The LEDs on top are fluorescent green.