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MEI T16 Series

T16 Series is an ultra-low-profile conductive rubber (elastic contact) switch from Mechanical Enterprises. The design is covered by US patent 4600819 “Switch assembly”, filed in March 1985, that is shared by the related, sealed-contact T-15 series. Confusingly, T-15 is always written with a hyphen, while T16 was named without the hyphen.

The only known description of T16 is given in the article Conductive rubber aims to capture switch market (Electronic Products Magazine, volume 32, 1989), where the series is described as follows:

While conductive rubber technology is being applied primarily to switch arrays, some companies are building discrete keyswitches with conductive rubber contacts. For instance, Mechanical Enterprises of Herndon, VA, builds low-profile keyboard switches with a conductive rubber strip attached to a silicon rubber spring bridging two gold-plated terminals. Designated the T16 Series, the switches (see Fig. 2) provide higher travel than other conductive rubber switches, suiting them for heavy-duty use. The switches can be wave-soldered and last for 10 million cycles.

Figure 2, which would conclusively prove the identity of T16 Series, is not available, but Datalux themselves identified a switch as “t16” from a photograph presented to them by another manufacturer for identification. The only other known mention of T16 is a flyer for Datalux OEM keyboards (derived from the Mechanical Enterprises Microtype) where the switch type is given as “T16”. Although it seems that the Microtype started out with T-15 switches, all examples discovered to date use T16 switches.