Someone at work made a joke, "He's so old that keyboards didn't have that key".

When would the ~ have first appeared on keyboards?

  • 1
    Can you possibly narrow the scope somewhat? You named 10 keys and there may be 10 different answers. How about re-wording along the lines of "When was the current de-facto standard keyboard first introduced"?
    – Brian H
    Mar 2, 2018 at 20:45
  • 2
    If you are old enough, you may have seen the Space Cadet Keyboard, so it's more like "he's so old that keyboards don't have those keys anymore". That also applies to lots of old keyboards with special keys.
    – dirkt
    Mar 3, 2018 at 11:20
  • 2
    Part of the problem in answering this question is that standard keyboards didn't really become a thing until the IBM PC days (even there, the standard IBM 5150 (XT) keyboard is markedly different from today's keyboards). You could answer the question on when the oldest keyboard featuring the keyboard appeared, and hopefully we can figure out that answer. Mar 3, 2018 at 15:14
  • @dirkt not a very assistive-friendly keyboard...
    – RonJohn
    Mar 3, 2018 at 17:50
  • 1
    Interestingly enough, early typewriter keyboards didn't have the 1 (and sometimes 0) keys because you could fake them with I and O! Look at the Underwood typewriter keyboard on this page for an example.
    – ErikF
    Mar 4, 2018 at 2:51

2 Answers 2


Tilde did apear as early as the late 1880s on typewriter and typseting keyboards.


The IBM System/360 introduced in 1965 used the EBCDIC character set which included tilde.

The 1963 edition of the ASCII standard did not include the tilde character. The 1965 edition included it, but it was at the position now occupied by "\" (backslash). The 1967 edition of ASCII moved tilde to position 126 where it remains today.

So, it is fair to say that the tilde began to appear on standard keyboards in 1965.

  • 1
    EBCDIC waas especially designed to cover all ASCII character while maintaining compatibilitywith BCD equipment.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 3, 2018 at 15:55
  • s/ASCII/US-ASCII/ I think Mar 12, 2018 at 18:30
  • The 1963, 1965 and 1967 editions have mappings or allowable variations that are not included in US-ASCII. For example the 1967 edition allowed "£" to be substituted for "#", and "¬" to be substituted for "^". The term "ASCII" by itself can reasonably be assumed to mean "US-ASCII", but when a specific edition is referred to the name "US-ASCII" does not always apply.
    – Ken Gober
    Mar 12, 2018 at 20:18
  • IANA, for example, explicitly defines "US-ASCII" to refer to the 1986 edition of ASCII (aka ANSI X3.4-1986).
    – Ken Gober
    Mar 12, 2018 at 20:30

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