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Amkey

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Overview

Amkey was an American keyboard manufacturer located in Massachusetts that specialised in capacitive keyboards. In 1977 Amkey filed US patent 4163222 “Synchronous phase detected keyboard” for their capacitive detection mechanism. This mechanism is based on the standard construction of a foam pad with foil applied. A later patent US4439647 filed in 1982 covers flat keyboards.

Around 1989, Cortron (the keyboard spin-off from Licon) was sold to Amkey. In the Boston Globe on the 2nd of January 1994 it was announced that Amkey and Cortron had merged to form Cortron Inc, although the merger was already announced in the 8th December 1993 issue. Evidence of this can be seen in the examples below, where model 106-0004 (formerly DIN-106) eventually changed to Cortron branding.

Advertised models

Model Type Source
PRO 100™ Solid-state capacitive, 99-key enclosed keyboard for Apple ][ and ][+ Ads: Hardware 1983 (apple2history.org)
MPNK-100 Depicted as a module; 5-mode Computer Design 1980
MPNK-72 Replacement for Key Tronic L1660; rated life in excess of 100 million mean cycles before failure (MCBF); listed as both “capacitive” and “contact key switch” Computer Design 1981
DIN-64 Solid-state capacitive, DIN-compliant, depicted as a module EEM 1991
DIN 106-1 Solid-state capacitive, DIN-compliant, depicted enclosed (105-key) EEM 1991
DIN 124 Solid-state capacitive, DIN-compliant, depicted enclosed EEM 1991
MPNK 101 Depicted as a module EEM 1991
MPNK 114 Depicted as a module EEM 1991
SNK 16 RS-232C 16-key keypad with N-key rollover, depicted as a module EEM 1991

Examples

All the examples below are foam pad capacitive. This list includes Amkey models manufactured as Cortron.

Model Keys Amkey serial Date Equipment Notes Reference
Unidentified 62 The model number is visible but unreadable Time
SNK-58 58 75254 June 1982 T-Bar brand serial test equipment? Deskthority
MPNK-106 97 77435 October 1982 Computek The keycaps appear to be Comptec SA family Flickr
MPNK-68 68 100648 Circa 1985 Computervision Corporation
DIN-106 84 111156 October 1987 eBay
MPTK 129 129 113837 Circa 1988 Reported to be from a B-52 Stratofortress This appears to use adapters to fit Amkey keycaps to Micro Switch mount keystems, but this cannot be determined from simply the photographs available geekhack
106-1004 84 114339 December 1988 Identical to DIN-106 Premier Equipment Solutions
106-0004 84 118107 1990-08-16 Identical to DIN-106 eBay
106-0004 84 122680 May 1993 Identical to DIN-106 eBay
106-0004 84 C61931 May 1999 Identical to DIN-106; branded Cortron eBay

Documentation

All literature below was scanned by Bitsavers.