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Futaba

Futaba Corporation (双葉電子工業株式会社: Futaba Electronics Co., Ltd.; also フタバ: Futaba) is a Japanese manufacturer. For years, they produced keyboard switches; this product line was eventually turned over to partner Sejin Electron. Futaba may also have produced a small number of keyboards; keyboard production is uncertain, as most keyboards appear to have come from Sejin. The Rockwell AIM 65 keyboard is one that does only have the Futaba logo, unlike the the Futaba/Sejin keyboard for the TI99/4A which has both logos.

Products

Sejin Electron

Sejin Electron Inc. (now known as SJK Co., Ltd. since 2017) is a Korean manufacturer that was established in 1972 as a joint venture with Futaba of Japan. According to the SJK website, they began production and export of keyboard switches in June 1973. Keyboard production followed in May 1980. Futaba’s website noted at one point that keyboard manufacture was transferred to Sejin in 1991. A former George Risk employee confirmed to Jacob Alexander that the KBM and KBM-LP switches came from “Asia” but it remains unknown whether these were ever produced in Japan, or whether Futaba always had their switches manufactured in Korea. Futaba MA switches are Futaba-branded, while all other known types are unbranded.

The suggestion though is that Futaba keyboard switches go back at least as far as 1973. While this is perfectly plausible, no evidence for such keyboards currently exists, so it remains a mystery what switches these were. The patents for Futaba’s reed switch—sold as GRI KBR and never observed—were only filed in 1975.