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Eastern Bloc switches



As someone who does not speak any Eastern Bloc languages (although I can read a bit of German), understanding the various Eastern Bloc types is not easy. This is made worse by the cultural divide between the West and the Eastern Bloc. Although unbranded switches, and switches with unrecognised branding, is common to all countries, it is worse in eastern countries where it is much harder to find information without understanding the language.

Known brands


Country: East Germany (DDR)

VEB HFO produced the B 461 G Hall sensor IC used in both East German RFT TSH switches as well as West German RAFI RS 76 C switches (and presumably RS 74 C).


Country: Bulgaria



Country: East Germany (DDR)

Rundfunk- und Fernmelde-Technik (RFT) was responsible for at least two keyboard switch families:


Country: Czechoslovakia

In fact, there is no proof that TESLA ever made either of the above switch types. All that is confirmed is that they produced the Hall sensors that these switches used. The switches could have been made by anyone.

Unitra Dolam

Country: Poland



See Magnit (Магнит) for ПКМ 1Б reed switches.

Unknown types

Outer plunger

These switches have the plunger on the outside, that slides down over the shell. The reed capsule is placed off-center and vertically. The keycap presses down onto the plunger and is the exact same width and depth as the plunger. In many cases they are relegendable. Examples:

Stackpole KS-200E clone

This is an unconfirmed clone series of Stackpole KS-200E, specifically just the single-unit interlocking “puzzle piece” switches. These switches are presently only known from Romania, and while the actual manufacturer remains a mystery, there is evidence to indicate that Stackpole was not the manufacturer. In most but not all cases the equipment was manufactured by ICE Felix. Examples include:

The HC-85 example is the only instance that looks plausible as genuine Stackpole, as the colour combination matches some real Stackpole KS-200E keyboards. The other examples use colours commonly associated with Eastern Bloc production. HC-85 was introduced in 1985, and HC-90 in 1990, so perhaps KS-200E was cloned at some point in between.

The HC-90 keyboard has the same style of PCB artwork as genuine Stackpole keyboards, but there is no Stackpole branding on it.

The switches in the VDT 52S keyboard appear to be roughly moulded, which—in addition to the unlikely choice of colours—always did stand out as a suggestion that they were copies.

Cherry M7 copy

This is a copy, rather than a clone, of Cherry M7. This appears to be another Romanian design. There are two styles of switch: “notched” (disassembled and determined to use Cherry M7–style plunger and switch contacts) and “plain”. Examples include: