Pendar S.A.R.L. and Pendar Électronique S.A. were French manufacturers created from the buyout of much of C. P. Clare in France and Belgium from General Instrument. Following a final bankruptcy, Pendar was reformed as European Switches Manufacturing, or ESM, which continued in business until its own bankruptcy in October 2015. ESM represented the final production lines of the Clare-Pendar legacy. For more details, see the page on C. P. Clare history.
Pendar inherited from C. P. Clare their reed keyboard switches (SF/SG/SH/SI/SK and SFL/SGL/SIL series). Pendar themselves introduced capacitive keyboards.
Details on these companies are vague and contradictory, but it appears that they merged in 1988.
Pendar Industrie SA
In November 1989, “Pendar Industries SA” was said to employ 180 people and was aiming for $10 million of business in 1900, according to the Quindar news article described below.
Quindar SA, based in Cambrai in France, was a joint venture between Quintel SA and Pendar Industries SA. Infogreffe lists the entry date of Quindar as 15/05/1990, but the joint venture already existed in November 1989, when they announced the “world’s first all-optical keyboards”. The definition of “all-optical” is unclear; optical circuitry is a Star Trek idea not yet introduced to reality, while photoelectric encoding goes back at least as far as 1951 in calculators and 1960 in keyboards, and patents for Burroughs Opto-Electric were filed as early as 1980. Quite how optical switching would, as the article claims, frustrate eavesdroppers is not clear, as conductive switches do not in themselves leak any information besides the typing cadence.
Quindar optical keyboards were sold by CP Electronique, as listed in the European Electronics Directory 1993: Components and Sub-Assemblies and European Electronics Directory 1994: Systems and Applications. Their entries state “optical keyboards; explosion proof for intrinsic security; & anticompromission”. (CP Electronique appears to stand for “Composants & Produits Electronique” and seems to be unrelated to Clare-Pendar or C. P. Clare.
The CP Electronique entry within European Electronics Directory 1993: Systems and Applications includes a line for ‘CEDI marque PENDAR, F; keyboards & keyswitches; multifunction mechani- cal “Pendar switches”; gaz tube surge arresters’. Thus, by 1993, Pendar was part of CEDI. In the European Electronics Directory 1994: Systems and Applications, the entry under CP Electronique read, ‘CEDI PENDAR, Aubervilliers, F; keyboards & keyswitches; multifunction mechanical “Pendar switches”; gaz tube surge arresters’.
The CP Electronique entry within European Electronics Directory 1993: Systems and Applications includes a line for “Pendar, GB; keyboards; key switches; industrial switches; spark gaps”. Presently there is no indication that a British Pendar existed; possibly it was a trading name of some other enterprise. The same entry also mentions “CEDI marque PENDAR”, indicating that there was no separate French Pendar at this time. No such entry was present in the 1994 edition.
European Switches Manufacturing or ESM was the final link in the chain of Pendar businesses. During brief correspondence, Isabelle Cachera from ESM noted that ESM had no manufacturing capacity in Belgium, and that their only manufacturing capacity was in France. She provided some photos of their factory, as well as a selection of their switches. One tall switch (most likely SI series) is marked “Clare” while most of the others are marked “Pendar” including another tall switch (SF series).
Assuming the clock on the camera is set correctly, the factory photos were taken in 2002, while the photo of the switches was taken in 2003.
Surprisingly few patents appear to be on record. The entire list is as follows, keyboards or otherwise:
|FR 2625127||Key extractor||Pendar S.A.R.L.||1987-12-23||1989-06-30||Metal keycap puller|
|FR 2625377||Parafoudre de sûreté||Pendar S.A.R.L.||1987-12-23||1989-06-30||Surge arrestor|
|FR 2625339||Computer keyboard||Pendar S.A.R.L.||1987-12-24||1989-06-30||Unclear keyboard type|
|FR 2625595||Device for inclining a keyboard||Pendar S.A.R.L.||1987-12-31||1989-07-07||Appears to be for retractable feet|
|EP 0282404||Composition de revêtement des électrodes d'un parafoudre||Pendar Électronique S.A.||1988-03-04||1988-09-14||Surge arrestor electrode plating|
The four Pendar S.A.R.L. patents each name Enrico Guzzetti as the sole inventor. The Pendar Électronique S.A. patent has a priority date of 1987-03-04 to a French patent that does not seem to exist.
|SF/SG/SH/SI/SK||Clare, Pendar||Reed (high-profile)|
|SFL/SGL/SIL||Clare, Pendar||Reed (low-profile)|
It appears that Pendar’s speciality was capacitive keyboards, but few details have been recovered at present. Google had indexed at least two pages containing further details, but these search results disappeared before that information could be collected. A single photograph of a switch in a Pendar keyboard appeared to be all that remains of their capacitive keyboards; it shows the plunger supported by a pair of external springs resembling safety pins. This keyboard is reported to be from the 1990s. A much more detailed depiction of this keyboard type can be found in photos of an unknown Goupil keyboard; Goupil is a French company that Ricardo Guzzetti did indicate had been a Pendar customer.