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Clare-Pendar history



The following details were obtained from various sources, including Electro-Mech Components (current owner of Switchlight, formerly Switchline), Visualux (a UK distributor), IXYS (who bought out Clare, Inc.) and ESM (formerly CEDI, themselves formerly Pendar, now defunct). Some of these details may be factually incorrect, as they cannot all be independently verified.

See also Story about Pendar Electronique S.A. ex C.P.Clare Electronique S.A.

2015 In October 2015, ESM (European Switches Manufacturing, formerly Cedi Industries and Pendar in France) declared bankruptcy and ceased manufacturing activity. The e-mail address listed on their website no longer functions.
2012 IXYS subsidiary Clare, Inc. becomes IXYS Integrated Circuits Division
2002 IXYS Corporation buys out Clare, Inc.
2000 In September 2000, C.P. Clare Corporation becomes Clare, Inc.
2000 ESM (European Switches Manufacturing) is founded, according to their website.
1999 C.P. Clare Corporation announces the divestiture of Clare EMG, Inc., described as its “Mexican electromagnetic operations”; whether this was ever related to the factory that made “ASM MEXICO” switches is unclear, as there have been numerous Mexican factories related to this story
1997 Electro-Mech buy the Pollak TED Switchlight range from Stoneridge; this does not include the S820 and S880 magnetic reed keyboard switches (from Clare/Pendar, these were the SF/SG/SI/SK/SH and SFL/SIL/SGL series)
1997 January: C.P. Clare sells its Tongeren, Belgian manufacturing facility.
1996 September: C.P. Clare announces downsizing at Belgian manufacturing facility.
1992 Stoneridge buy General Instrument’s Transportation Electronics Division (TED)
1989 In May 1989, Clare Canada, Ltd. of Wakefield, Massachusetts makes an investment in the C.P. Clare division of General Instrument of Canada Ltd. (based in Toronto, ON); the receiving business is described thus: “Sells relay and electronic components for reed relays, electromechanical relays, reed switches, surge arresters and related products.” (Recorded per the Investment Canada Act)
1988 Stoneridge buy Pollak
198? Something happens and we’re not sure what — Electro-Mech think that this is when General Instrument bought Pendar USA, but it might instead be the point that the Clare-Pendar name is dropped and the Switchline range officially becomes a TED product, given the 1971 document below
1986 Clare-Pendar name still in use on a General Instruments catalogue entitled “Clare-Pendar Switchlight and Pushbutton Switches”, which includes the keyboard types S820, S880 and S950
1971 K1A keycap drawing branded “Clare-Pendar / A General Instrument Company” with the newer Clare-Pendar logo
1969 According to the obituary of Lawrence Powell Jr, he went to work for Clare-Pendar in Post Falls for around two years
1969 This is the oldest date on an engineering drawing labelled “Pendar Inc” (Pendar-66-data-sheet.pdf).
1967 General Instrument buys Universal Controls; Universal Controls is C. P. Clare’s parent company, so this would have put Clare-Pendar under General Instrument
1966 May: C.P. Clare & Co. acquires a 98% interest in Pendar Inc and renames it Clare-Pendar; it appears to function as a subsidiary of Clare.
1966 April: C.P. Clare & Co. is looking to take over Pendar, Inc. [The Spokesman-Review, 26th April 1966]
1963 C E Fisher forms Pendar, Inc. (based on The Spokesman-Review article, above, which gives Pendar, Inc. as three years old in April 1966)
19?? Pendar in France “splits” into separate French and US companies; the latter might be the Pendar, Inc. mentioned above.
1937 Carl P Clare forms C.P. Clare & Company, later known as C.P. Clare Corporation.

We know from Electro-Mech documents that the US company was called “Clare-Pendar Co” during an unspecified date range, and that in 1971, it was part of General Instrument and using the logo found on the 1973 Clare-Pendar keyboard documented at Deskthority. ESM believe that Pendar bought Clare, but C.P. Clare long outlasted Pendar, Inc. A document from ESM suggests that the French Pendar brand became CEDI in 1992, but I do not actually understand what the document means.

Chronicle article 1966

The following newpaper article is attached to the back of a CP Clare photograph on eBay. It is stamped “CHRONICLE 11 MAY 1966”, and I do not know specifically which newspaper this is. Not all of the article is visible, but that much that is displayed is transcribed below.

There are several interesting points to note. The article states that Pendar was to become Clare-Pendar, suggesting that CP Clare itself was not going to change its name. This helps explain why Clare in Belgium retained its name. It also explains documentation from Electromechcomp from Clare-Pendar that lists numerous other premises as CP Clare instead of Clare-Pendar. Clare-Pendar appears to be just the subsidiary in Post Falls.

Additionally, ownership of CP Clare by Universal Controls is interesting, because Universal Controls were bought the next year by General Instrument. This therefore appears to indicate how Clare-Pendar became a General Instrument subsidiary.

Acquisition of Pendar, Inc., of Post Falls by C. P. Clare & Co. of Chicago re-emphasizes industrialist C. P. Clare’s deep roots in Idaho.

A graduate of the University of Idaho, where he obtained a degree in electrical engineering, he spends much of his time at his ranch in the Wendell, Idaho area, although the company which he founded and which bears his name is based in Chicago.

His 29-year-old firm, which makes relays and related control components, has acquired a 98 per cent interest in Pendar, which makes illuminated push keys for the data processing and aerospace industries.

Clare, who has brought his organization into a position of leadership in the electrical and electronic equipment field, sees “bright prospects for expansion” of the Post Falls plant.

150 Employed

Pendar, to be known as Clare-Pendar Co., is a three-year-old manufacturer now employing 150 persons in a new $500,000 plant just east of Post Falls.

Clare & Co. has plants in Chicago and Mundelein, Ill.; Fairview, N.C., and Rapid City, S.D., and subsidiaries in Canada and Belgium. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Controls, New York, which makes and operates totalisator equipment for race tracks. He was born at Rossland, B.C.

Clare lived as a youth in Chewelah, Wash. His wife originally was from Spokane.

He founded Clare & Co. in 1937. In that year he and H. J. Peterson, now director of manufacturing, built the first ship- …

[ lines omitted from the image on eBay ]

… in 1957 retained company management and policies while enhancing its position in the industry and affording greater opportunity for expansion.

Clare also has attended the University of Michigan and Harvard Business School.

Hospital Aided

He has lived in Arlington Heights, Ill., since 1938, and was a prime mover in construction of the Northwest Community Hospital there, of which he is a trustee, and the Presbyterian Church there, to which he belongs.

He is also a trustee of both the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pa.

He is a director of the United of America Bank in Chicago, Amphenol Corp. of Broadview, Ill., Industrial Wire & Cable Co., Ltd., of Toronto, Clare-Elliott, Ltd., of London and Universal Controls, Inc.

Mr. and Mrs. Clare have a married daughter who lives in Park Ridge, Ill.


Patents relevant to Clare/Pendar computer keyboards and switches.

Company Patent Title Filed Published Notes
Clare Pendar Co US 3771636 A Space bar assembly 1971-04-02 1973-11-13 This is the characteristic Clare-Pendar space bar assembly with the interlocking bars
General Instrument Corporation EP 0072784 A2 Keyswitch design 1982-08-10 1983-02-23 A design for a single-sided foam and foil PCB where the capacitor pads are through-hole soldered!
General Instrument Corporation US 4450332 A Keyswitch design 1982-08-25 1984-05-22 This appears to be for the foam and foil switch series mentioned earlier
General Instrument Corporation US 4454562 A Keyswitch with telescoping plunger 1982-09-15 1984-06-12
General Instrument Corporation US 4453198 A Linear feel keyswitch with hysteresis 1982-09-15 1984-06-05 That is a strange definition of “linear”
General Instrument Corporation US 4433225 A Keytop levelling mechanism 1983-02-22 1984-02-21 This may be the origin of scissor switches


During our brief correspondence, Isabelle Cachera from ESM assured me that they had no manufacturing capacity in Belgium, and that their only manufacturing capacity was in France. She attached some photos of their factory, that completely overlooked at the time (back in June 2015). Also shown below is a photo she sent of their switches; you can see that one tall switch (SI?) is marked “Clare” while most of the others are marked “Pendar” including another tall switch (SF).

View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image View full-size image

Assuming the clock on the camera is set correctly, the factory photos were taken in 2002, while the photo of the switches was taken in 2003.