1989 Northgate OmniKey 102 Keyboard

Significant Features

  1. Function keys on left side enable one small hand to simultaneously strike function key(s) and any combination of Shift, Alt and/or Ctrl, readily & purely by touch of an experienced user.
  2. Shift, Ctrl & Alt keys in column adjacent to function keys, facilitating single-handed combination keystrikes.
  3. Standard inverted-T cursor keys with blank above Up key and two blanks above each of Left and Right keys.
  4. Oversize Enter key
  5. Double width backspace key.
  6. Tray-shaped rewriteable area for scribing meanings of function keys or hosting function key templates.
  7. Durable mechanical tactile keyswitches.
  8. CAPS lock logically placed next to spacebar, like on a typewriter.
  9. Easily convertible to Dvorak layout with included extra keycaps.
picture of OmniKey 102
Photo taken at age 21 years.


  1. Dirty diaper color scheme.
  2. Lacks modern extra function bottom row keys.
  3. Removable cable too easily dislodged.
  4. Coiled cable.
  5. Stiff cable, difficult to uncoil to 3 meter length.
  6. AT connect plug instead of PS/2 and/or USB.
  7. Not always compatible with USB adaption.
  8. Very heavy, several times weight of common keyboards.

Other comments

Later OmniKey 102 models moved the ESC key above the location shown.

OmniKey Ultra models moved the ESC key above the location shown and duplicated the function keys in the area above the top key row where the 102 provides space to write meanings of the function keys.

The Ultra became the pattern for the original Avant Stellar when its maker bought the tooling from Northgate.