Wermlands Elektronik AB
Wermlands Elektronik Aktiebolag (Värmland Electronics Corporation) or WEAB was a Swedish manufacturer from Torsby, Värmland County, Sweden. The original Wermlands Elektronik is long since defunct, having closed around 1985; a later Wermlands Elektronik AB is now owned by EG Electronics. (Wermland is the older spelling of Värmland.) The keyboard business is thought to have been transferred to Diantek, but they have also gone.
WEAB produced Mechanical Enterprises T-5 Series switches in Europe. The details of the arrangements with Mechanical Enterprises are not presently known. Production was divided between several companies. Gislaveds Plats AB in Sweden provided the injection moulded parts. Ferranti in the UK handled the gold plating. Final assembly presumably took place in WEAB’s Torsby factory. There is no information presently available to indicate what name WEAB gave to the switches or to the extent of the product range.
Standard WEAB switches use the Clare keycap mount instead of the MEI mount. However, switches bearing the “WEAB” inscription also exist with the MEI keycap mount.
Market share between WEAB and MEI is unclear. Peter Lothberg, former WEAB employee and source for this information, recalled that WEAB switches had one tinned terminal and one gold-plated terminal. There is still insufficient data to determine this or any other characteristic is specific to either MEI or WEAB.
In most cases it seems fairly clear which factory a switch came from. In the UK it seems that these switches were sourced from both MEI (by Devlin and RS) and WEAB (as found in the UK101 computer). The confusing example is the Volker-Craig KB-4412. The keyboard PCB is designed to accept (depending which holes are drilled) MEI T-5 and Datanetics DC-50 switches. The drilling process includes putting a hole against either “DA” or “MEI”, where “DA” appears to be a strange abbreviation for Datanetics Corporation (they used “DC”). However, in the one T-5 example examined there are switches marked “WEAB”. Volker-Craig was a Canadian firm and the keyboards were either made in-house or by a separate third party. The WEAB-manufactured parts could have been imported directly by Volker-Craig (or the contract manufacturer that produced the keyboards if there was one) or they could have been imported by Mechanical Enterprises themselves, for example if their manufacturing capacity had been exceeded.
Gislaveds Plats AB also produced double-shot moulded keycaps for WEAB. These are only known to have been available in Clare mount. (Gislaved’s main production is reported to have been knobs for Electrolux appliances.)
WEAB also produced complete keyboards, with customers said to include Ampex and Honeywell-Bull. Their commercially-available product range included the switches and keycaps mentioned above as well as standard and custom keyboards.