Computer: Keyboard: Keys
All-Toggle Keyboard   (+10, -2)  [vote for, against]
For that steampunk feeling.

In [gisho]'s linked idea, he suggests replacing the capslock key on keyboards with a togglable switch. The logical progression of this idea is to have a keyboard made up completely of switches.

The keyboard would just be a grid of toggles, hopefully spruced up with wood and brass finishes to make it look vintage. Each "key" would be activated by flipping a switch to the reverse position of wherever it currently is. Thus, typing would be extremely slow, but there would be no doubt as to whether the capslock or numlock are on. Also, it would look really cool.
-- DrWorm, Feb 17 2010

Back before keyboards [csea, Feb 17 2010]

See the bottom of the How Did it Help? section. [Aristotle, Feb 17 2010]

[gisho]'s idea Capslock_20Switch
Because I forgot to link it earlier. [DrWorm, Feb 17 2010]

Making oboe reeds
[pocmloc, Feb 18 2010]

Keyboard, shmeeboard! Though I was fairly young, I recall watching a bootloader program being entered into a PDP-8 via toggle switches. [link]

For you youngsters, the bootloader program was a machine language program that gave the CPU the ability to read from paper tape, and had to be entered from the front panel toggle switches.
-- csea, Feb 17 2010

PDP-8 toggle switches, you had it easy.

The original Bombe systems, used for breaking the Enigma code in WWII, had to connect up letters with wires.
-- Aristotle, Feb 17 2010

Coal ? You were lucky !

A brass plate with "The Babbage Computor Manufactory" would add a suitable garnish...

-- 8th of 7, Feb 17 2010

// the end product is neither original or how shall I put this ... useful //

Which is really weird, because there's no sign of a Microsoft logo on the box ...
-- 8th of 7, Feb 17 2010

-- wagster, Feb 17 2010

// not about to try soldering reeds together //

Can't do it. They don't make the flux any more.
-- 8th of 7, Feb 18 2010

string (link)
-- pocmloc, Feb 18 2010

Thanks, [csea], my high school had a PDP-8 and I did boot it one day with the switches. It was a while ago, but I think it was 42 sets of 8 bit pairs, to get the thing to boot. Though looking at the picture, that makes no sense.

As for the idea, I'll agree with the masses here and state there is no reason why these are permanently on switches. (-) If you really want to go Steampunk, then have a full keyboard of miniature morse keys. Or if you REALLY want to go old school, just send morse. I'm sure you can have your audio card decode it.
-- MisterQED, Feb 18 2010

My father remembers his first computer. Programs were entered one byte at a time, via a row of eight toggle switches. He remembers how happy he was when he got a hexadecimal keypad: he could enter in a whole nybble at a time!

I'd totally buy this. Toggle switches make everything cooler-looking.
-- Hive_Mind, Feb 19 2010

My dad tends to fill the dashboard of any vehicle he builds with toggle switches. If he had a 'keyboard" like this, he might do some computing.
-- baconbrain, Nov 01 2010

//The keyboard would just be a grid of toggles....Each "key" would be activated by flipping a switch to the reverse position of wherever it currently is. //

So, if I flipped say, the "W" switch, what would it switch to? "M"? How about "S"?
-- Boomershine, Nov 01 2010

-- pocmloc, Nov 01 2010

I like it, but it would be improved by the addition of an engine telegraph.
-- mouseposture, Nov 02 2010

random, halfbakery