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Micro Switch and Honeywell

Micro Switch of Freeport, Illinois—typically written in capitals as “MICRO SWITCH” and commonly abbreviated to “Micro”—was one of the world’s first manufacturers of dedicated computer keyboards. The company was founded in 1937 to produce the then recently-invented “micro switch” (being a trademarked term). Honeywell would later purchase the company in 1950; for its entire time as a keyboard manufacturer, it was a division of Honeywell. Following on from reed switch–based keyboards, Micro Switch introduced the world’s first solid state keyboards around 1968 with the Hall effect SW Series. This was succeeded by SD Series around 1975 or 1976, also Hall effect. Honeywell continued to advertise Micro Switch solid state computer keyboards and switches through 1999, which is the last known instance of these products.

Honeywell itself (now Honeywell International) dates back to 1906, as the Honeywell Heating Specialty Company. Honeywell produced lower-end keyboards under its own name in the 1980s and 1990s, before selling off keyboard production. Production of WN Series rubber dome keyboards was licensed to Siam United Hi-Tech (SUH) during the period 1990–1994, during which time they were produced under licence by SUH as SUH-Honeywell. Keyboard production in Mexico (including WN Series) was sold to Key Tronic in 1993. Michael R Bonsignore, who was the Honeywell CEO at the time, said that “Honeywell’s keyboard division has been profitable but no longer fits with company plans to focus on systems controls.” The acquisition cost around $30 million, and had completed by the beginning of August 1993.

It seems that the Honeywell brand continued to be used. Key Tronic model E03601ELHW-C was found with Honeywell branding in addition to the Key Tronic name.

Switches and keyboards

Keycaps

Other

Further reading