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Nucleonic Products


Nucleonic Products Company, Inc. was an American components manufacturer. A listing in Computers and Automation from June 1961 (the Computer Directory and Buyers’ Guide, 1961) puts them in Los Angeles and gives a product range of diodes, thermistors and varistors. They were still at the same address in 1966, per an advertisement in Electronics magazine for high-reliability silicon diodes. By 1970 they had relocated to Canoga Park in California, where they would remain until at least 1979 (per their entry in 1979’s IC Master). An advertisement was placed in 1978 for a video interface. Page 1126 of the Role of Giant Corporations report from 1971 cites their 1970 revenue as $6.3 million, broken down into semiconductor products (60%), passive components (38%) and electro-mechanical switches (2%).

A Nucleonic Products Company, Inc. was founded in California on the 21st October 1955, which is presumably the company in question; another company of the same name was founded in the same state in January 1970, as a branch of a Delaware company of the same name founded five years later. The discrepancy of the dates suggest that the Delaware company acquired the California company over five years after it was formed, and it may have begun under a different name before the acquisition.

It appears that Nucleonic Products briefly entered the computer keyboard market in 1970, with magnetoresistive-based keyboards, but at present there is no evidence to indicate whether these keyboards entered production. There are no known patents filed by Nucleonic Products, which seems strange in itself, and we cannot gain any insight into the product this way.


Magnetoresistive keyboards

A brief description of Nucleonic Products’ keyboards is given in the In key with computers panel of the article Capacitive keys, simpler circuits add up to reliable keyboard from Electronics magazine, Vol. 43 No. 25, 7th December 1970:

A keyboard designed around a second-order Hall-effect device is being built by Nucleonic Products of Canoga Park, Calif. The active device is a magnetoresistive chip. A magnet moved near the chip changes the chip’s resistance from 40 to 200 ohms, causing a transistor in the key to conduct. An integrated circuit trigger built into the key then shapes the output signal and sends it to a diode matrix encoding circuit.

At present, this is the only known mention of this product line.