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Re: mathcode of non printable characters

> The reason why they are there in the first place is that there
> actually existed (do they still exist?) keyboards with special symbols
> in the indicated positions.  Knuth used (and perhaps still does) such
> a keyboard.  (See The TeXbook, pp. 135 and 369.)

Knuth gave up using that kind of keyboard when he changed from the old
SAIL machine to a Sun workstation in 1989.  I think those keyboards were
still around for a year or two after that.