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Key Source International

United States

Contents

Overview

Key Source International (KSI, also KSI Keyboards) is an American specialist keyboard manufacturer, founded in 1979 and headquarted in California, and previously known as B&M Tool & Die, according to KSI themselves. The company began as a division of United Plastics Corporation, according to the KSI website. The California Secretary of State shows that the company was formed in May 1954 as United Lighting and Ceiling Co. (company number C0287108) and does not list any activity for 1979. In 2003, United Plastics Corporation was merged into Key Source International; this was a separate business formed as Automatic Plastics Corporation in January 1999 and renamed United Plastics Corporation in August 1999. US business records are generally vague and incomplete and thus the full story cannot be obtained this way. The company advertised itself as “KeySource International, division of United Plastics Corporation” in Computerworld magazine in 1993 and early 1994.

B & M Tool & Die Inc. itself (company number C0554056) was founded in 1968, and dissolved in 1981, around the time that they were making keycaps for Apple. There are no accessible records that relate B & M to United Plastics or Key Source International, while Key Source International just appears as a continuation of United Lighting and Ceiling Co. and United Plastics.

Currently a manufacturer of keyboards and other interface devices, their website notes that they manufactured the first keycaps for the Apple IIe. Apple technical reference material shows that they also made keycaps for the Apple II. In 1983 they introduced the first full keyboard of their own, and they remain a keyboard manufacturer to this day. Unfortunately no staff remain at KSI from the 1980s, and no product data from that era is believed to have survived.

Products

Keycaps

As B&M Tool & Die, they were a keycap manufacturer. According to KSI, they also produced keycaps for Osborne. The KSI write-up at Pacific ID notes that KSI made keycaps for Atari, Texas Instruments, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard and many other unnamed customers.

Apple’s own technical reference material indicates that the following keycap sets were sourced from B&M:

The details for the “Contact Array Keyboard” (the RFI-compliant type) with sculptured keycaps (keyboard part number 606-0649, keycap set part number 605-0133) do not list the manufacturer of the keycaps, but another page of the document implies that B&M made both keycap types.