Jump to page content

Mechanical Enterprises Sabrecoil



Sabrecoil is a switch grid (array) system from Mechanical Enterprises: all the switches are formed from a single plastic frame, similar in general idea to Hi-Tek High Profile and Stackpole’s KS-200 and KS-200E. Standard grid sizes of 58-position, 64-position, 16-position and 20-position were advertised, but all full-size examples discovered so far are based on a 60-position array. The heyday for Sabrecoil seems to have been 1979–1980, based on current discoveries.

No formal specifications for Sabrecoil are yet obtained. The 1982 advertisement indicates that in testing it had reached over five million cycles, with contact bounce still below 15 ms at this point. Although membrane keyboards can have bounce times as long as 20 ms (such as Alps KFNR Series), mechanical switches are typically rated at 5 ms or less. One of the selling points of Sabrecoil is that the switch contacts use silver plate instead of gold, for a lower cost (at 50¢ per station in 1982), bringing with it a longer bounce time. Sabrecoil was introduced in the era of microprocessor-driven keyboards, where the longer bounce time could be handled more readily (such as directly within the operating system), as a trade-off for the reduced cost.


Sabrecoil keyboards are not widely encountered. A few examples are now known:


All literature scanned by Bitsavers unless otherwise noted.

See also