- United States
- Cherry UK
- Hirose, Japan
- Czech Republic
As a global organisation, Cherry had facilities in countries around the world, operated by numerous subsidiaries. Some details of these are given below.
|Cherry Electrical Products Corporation||United States||Two sites in Waukegan, Illinois|
|Cherry Semiconductor Corporation||United States||Two sites in Rhode Island|
|Cherry Electrical Products Ltd||United Kingdom||Originally located in Sandridge/St Albans, later Harpenden (both Hertfordshire) then finally Luton, Bedfordshire|
|Cherry Mikroschalter GmbH||Germany||Sites in Auerbach and Bayreuth, both in Bavaria|
|Cherco Brasil Industria e Comércio Ltda.||Brazil||Not covered here|
|Hirose Cherry Precision Co., Ltd.||Japan||A site in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture|
Waukegan, IL, USA
This was Cherry’s headquarters (comprised of two separate addresses). Gold crosspoint keyboards appear to have been introduced and manufactured here, and this is where all the solid state capacitive keyboards appear to have been made (since these were noticeably absent from the 1982 German catalogue, but continued to be made into the early 80s in the US).
Production here seems to have been phased out in the late 80s. By 1990, production of the standard B70-4753 keyboard appears to have been subcontracted to TG3 (now known for their Déck brand of consumer keyboards), judging by the TG3 labels found on them in place of Cherry labels. The PCB for that keyboard is still Cherry-branded however, according to a photo from the seller passed onto me by UncleFan, which does not conclusively indicate whether TG3 handled final assembly, or simply took over Cherry’s tooling and did not change the PCB masks.
In 1979, two sites were listed (Krueger Drive and Sunset Avenue); by 1982 the Krueger Drive address was gone. Likewise, the second address for Cherry Semiconductor was gone by 1982.
Cherry Semiconductor Corporation
Cherry acquired Micro Components Corporation in Cranson, Rhode Island in 1977, to form Cherry Semiconductor Corporation; production was later moved to East Greenwich, also in Rhode Island. Cherry Semiconductor was divested in the year 2000.
Cherry Electrical Products (U.K.) Limited (later simply Cherry Electrical Products Limited) was incorporated on the 13th of September 1972, and was finally dissolved on the 25th of April 2019.
Lattimore Road, St Albans
The records at Companies House do not indicate the original location of Cherry UK. The 1973 Cherry Switches & Keyboards Catalog C-73 gives the address as Lattimore Road, St Albans. At the present time, Lattimore road, in the middle of St Albans, has a mixture of residential and commercial premises.
St Albans Road, St Albans
The 1979 US catalogue gives an incomplete address in Sandridge, of simply “St Albans Road, Sandridge, Hertfordshire, England”. This is a largely residental street between Sandridge and St Albans, adjacent to farmland; Sandridge is a village adjacent to the “city” (town) of St Albans. Little is known about this site, and all instances of the address omit the postcode. The location would have been either the Ronsons Way Industrial Estate or adjacent Sandridge Gate Business Centre industrial estate at the southern end of the road. The London Gazette in 1979 and 1980 gave the address as:
Cherry Electrical Products Ltd., St. Albans Industrial Estate, St. Albans Road, Sandridge.
The limited number of documented keyboards gives little evidence about the activity at that site, but a single keyboard has been found marked “St Albans”, from August 1980, indicating that keyboard production existed there.
Around 1981, Cherry UK relocated to larger premises at the entrance of Coldharbour Lane in Batford, Hertfordshire, on the edge of Harpenden. Companies House lists three charges in relation to the Coldharbour Lane address, from March 1980, October 1981 and April 1985. Following the August 1980 St Albans–made keyboard, the next discovered keyboard in date order was labelled as made in Harpenden in September/November 1981, indicating that Cherry moved around 1981.
The Harpenden site was Cherry’s medium-volume production centre, where keyboards were hand-assembled. High-volume production was carried out in Germany. Keyboards made here have been found with M6 switches (presumably sourced from the US) as well as M8 switches (presumably sourced from Germany) and M41 German-made illuminated switches. My cousin Keith worked here for four years, from 1987 or 1988, to 1990 or 1991. According to him, the switches were sourced from Germany; this does not conclusively indicate whether US switch production had stopped, or whether they had simply stopped using switch types made in the US (most UK-made mechanical keyboards were M8 and that seems to have been a German design from the outset).
The Cherry FTSC production line was set up here; around 1987 the production process was overhauled to improve yields, for which my cousin was responsible for the polyester membrane sheet tooling, all new technology in the UK at the time. Acorn was a customer, which would have been for the keyboards made for the BBC Master Series machines, after they transitioned from Futaba ML-based keyboards to Cherry FSTC keyboards. My cousin’s understanding was that Cherry UK produced all of the FTSC keyboards, although additional production in Germany cannot be ruled out, and production would have moved away from the UK at some point, as Cherry have not been at Harpenden for some time.
The Harpenden site eventually closed when Cherry UK moved to Luton. After Cherry vacated the premises, they were demolished to make way for the Waterside office buildings. Cherry occupied the right-hand side of a double building, whose left-hand side, Chelford House, has been owned by Chelford Fabrics since 1998 (although they appear to have now relocated to the next building). The two sides of the building were mirror images of each other. The adjacent Chelford Fabrics site remains; following the demolition of the Cherry building, a new exterior was fitted to what was previously the dividing wall between the two buildings. Jarvis, who developed Waterside, stated that it was completed in 2006. Cherry are not clear when they moved to Luton, but they have suggested 2005 (previously they thought 2007).
(Chelford House faces the embankment to what is now a rail trail—formerly the branch line between Welwyn Garden City and Dunstable that overlooked Coldharbour Lane—making photographing the entire building difficult.)
Unit L of Airport Executive Park on President Way in Luton was the final location of Cherry UK before it closed its doors in December 2015. (This topic is no longer on Deskthority due to major data loss on the part of one of the administrators.) This site held only offices and a warehouse; no manufacturing took place at this location. Cherry was operating under the name ZF Electronics UK Ltd at this point.
According to Cherry’s 2010 switches catalogue, the German subsidiary was established in 1964.
The Cherry Precision Switches Catalog C-663 from 1965 placed the German subsidiary Cherry-Mikroschalter GmbH in Bad Berneck, Bavaria; Peter Cherry confirms that this is where the business was originally located.
By 1973, Cherry-Mikroschalter had relocated to Weiherstraße in Bayreuth, around six miles from their Bad Berneck address.
By the end of the 1970s, Cherry Mikroschalter had opened another German location, in Industriestraße in Auerbach in der Oberpfalz (“Auerbach/Opf.” or simply “Auerbach”, although there are other places with that name), 19 miles south of their Bayreuth address; this new address can be seen in the Cherry Keyboards catalogue KB79-2, of uncertain year (between 1979 and 1981, as there was a separate KB79-2R from 1982). The Keyboards and Switches Catalogue (1982 EN) from Cherry Mikroschalter gives the Auerbach site as “main office, plant 1” and the Bayreuth site as “plant 2”, while the 1982 US catalogue KB79-2R only lists the Auerbach address for Cherry-Mikroschalter.
Later literature, such as the 1994 MX brochure, did not list the Bayreuth address; this plant appears to have closed.
By 2002, the street name in Cherry’s Auerbach address had changed from Industriestraße to Cherrystraße. Cherrystraße appears to be an alternative name for part of Graf-Zeppelin-Straße, a road which forms three sides of a rectangle enclosing various buildings on Industriestraße.
Hirose Cherry imported switches from the US and assembled keyboards. They also designed the original MX switches (confirmed by Hirose), and introduced their own M8 variants, including the related series of MD and MJ with longer travel than standard M8 switches. Cherry M85 was classed as a relative of M8 by Cherry Germany, but externally is totally different. “M85” also implies that it is M8 with contact style 5, which is confusing.
According to Cherry’s 2010 switches catalogue, the French subsidiary was established in 1985.
According to Cherry’s 2010 switches catalogue, the Czech subsidiary was established in 1992. This facility has been used as a keyboard manufacturing centre for MX-based keyboards on the basis of a 2012 G80-3000 having been made there (see the Deskthority wiki page on the Cherry G80-3000 for an example). More recent consumer-orientated G80 keyboards (including the G80-3850 “MX-Board 3.0”, MX3920 “MX Board 5.0” and G80-3930 “MX-Board 6.0”) have been made in China.