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Hathaway Instruments Company was a US manufacturer founded by Claude Hathaway in 1939 in Denver, Colorado. Later known as Hathaway Industries, Hathaway Instruments, Inc. and Hathaway Corporation, in 2002 the company rebranded itself as Allied Motion Technologies Inc.. Hathaway produced reed switches—the individual reed capsules—under the brand name Drireed. They also produced keyboard switches utilising their Drireed reed switches.

Keyboard switches

Two Hathaway reed pushbutton types are known. Both are depicted with standard truncated keycaps, but only one type is known to be intended for computer keyboards. The earlier type is covered by US patent 3652963 “Push button switch”, filed in November 1970, and is outwardly a very typical switch for its era: a tall reed switch in a cylindrical shell. Unusually, the magnet is rotated by the plunger, instead of moved vertically. The actuator includes an amount of lost motion, to provide tease-proof operation (hysteresis), something that reed capsules already offer by nature.

A second design is covered by US patent 3652964 “Pushbutton switch and assembly”, filed two months later in January 1971. This low-profile design also uses a rotating magnet. The shell is designed for interlocking with other switches, long pre-dating Hi-Tek Dovetail Series. Unusually, the plunger is significantly off-centre relative to the body of the switch. The plunger is depicted in the patent as having an octagonal platform for the keycap, using an adapter; this arrangement is very similar to that of George Risk KB switches, and while the adapters appear not to be interchangeable, it is quite possible that the keycaps are. Hathaway did advertise however that they produced the keycaps themselves as well as the switches.

Advertisements claim that “Operating force is 50 to 60 grams at the beginning of displacement and 80 to 90 at the end, no matter which plane the switch is in.” The wording suggests that 50–60 gf is the preload, but this would make the switch too stiff; it is more likely that “beginning of displacement” refers not to the released positon but to the pretravel distance.


These switches are not known to have been discovered in a keyboard. In their Electronic Engineers Master 1973–74 advertisment, a depiction of keyboard internals is shown, with the PCB, switches, keycaps and logic circuitry and connector. The advertisement stated simply:

Hathaway's Drireed Keyboard Switches are available singly or mounted on PC boards ready for installation. Contact your Hathaway Representative for complete specifications. He’s listed in the yellow section.


The material below was scanned by Bitsavers.