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Company research status

This page documents research status into various companies, organised by country, in terms of progress made by contacting the company directly and in terms of research made in the company’s native language.

Due to a significant decline in the already painfully limited willingness on the part of the companies that remain, research into companies has been terminated. The end result of nine years of work is listed here for anyone who feels that they stand a chance of success.

Status refers to the status of attempting to correspond with the organisation to obtain information and material.



United States

Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Advanced Input Devices Unresponsive 3/5 3/3 Historical literature exists at Advanced Input Systems, that was to be scanned in at some point, but they no longer respond. AID were an early rubber dome manufacturer, so it would be good to know more about how rubber dome keyboards came to the market.
Amkey Defunct 2/5 2/3 Amkey were an early foam pad capacitive keyboard manufacturer; details on Amkey’s early years and early product ranges could prove insightful. Amkey acquired Cortron (see below) and Cortron is currently the active business.
Amphenol 1/5 1/3 Amphenol produced both reed and mechanical switches, in turn also sold as Maxi-Switch types. Obtaining details from Amphenol now is most likely impossible. The parent company at the time (Bunker-Ramo) is already gone.
Applied Dynamics International (ADI) Unresponsive 2/5 1/3 Applied Dynamics International acquired light beam keyboard maker Collimation. Unwilling to correspond.
C&K 1/5 1/3 C&K were acquired by ITT, and then divested together with the Rudolf Schadow and Jeanrenaud divisions. Little information seems to have survived, although they did manage find the catalogue pages for ITT ETL 18. Details of their own K101 switches seem to be lost.
Cherry Exhausted 3/5 3/3 All information that Cherry USA have managed to find so far is now archived online with their permission; they also provided numerous old switches. Helpful!
Chomerics Defunct? 2/5 3/3 Membrane keyboards started seeing adoption in the early 1980s, but Chomerics were seemingly manufacturing them in the mid-to-late 1970s. Very little information has been recovered so far. The brand is now owned by Parker and likely all keyboard-related knowledge has since been divested or purged.
Cortron Dead loss 2/5 3/3 Eric Friedrichs at Cortron preserved an envelope of old keyboard literature on his desk but now refuses to release the material. They also refuse to respond to questions about the company’s history. Cortron are a complete waste of time.
Clare-Pendar (also C. P. Clare and General Instrument) Defunct 2/5 2/3 Various details have come to light, such as catalogue pages provided by Electro-Mech Components (and we seem to now have all that he had left). There is no direct successor organisation left to engage with.
Datalux Unresponsive Successor organisation to Mechanical Enterprises (MEI) below. Completely unresponsive now, and tediously painful to deal if they ever do.
Digitran Dead end 2/5 1/3 Digitran were not especially interested or co-operative, but it seems that all relevant information is now gone.
George Risk Industries (GRI) Dead loss 4/5 2/3 Tedious company to deal with. Attempts to obtain some of their own reed switches, as well as NOS KBM-DIN, all went nowhere. There are KBM-DIN switches in stock for anyone willing to try to obtain them. It would be interesting to see if they bear the usual Mitsumi branding.
Hi-Tek Corporation Defunct 2/5 3/3 See NMB and Minebea below.
Honeywell (Micro Switch) Dead end 4/5 3/3 Progress with Honeywell was going well, until they inexplicably stopped responding. No further progress is expected to be possible.
ITT Unclear 2/3 ITT acquired various organisations including Datanetics, Jennings and Rudolf Schadow. See under C&K above.
ITW Divested 2/5 3/3 See Cortron above.
Key Tronic Dead loss 2/5 3/3 The exact nature of Key Tronic now is unclear as the business appears to have split up. Key Tronic are completely unwilling to help.
NMB (US) Unresponsive 2/5 3/3 NMB in the United States consistently refused to respond.
Maxi-Switch Acquired 2/5 3/3 Maxi-Switch were acquired by Silitek; chances are no relevant information still exists within the organisation.
Mechanical Enterprises (MEI) Defunct 2/5 2/3 See under Datalux above.
Oak Divested 2/5 2/3 Oak’s keyboard lines transferred to TG3; how much TG3 know is unclear as they ceased responding.
Raytheon Dead loss 2/5 1/3 Completely unwilling to help.
Stackpole Divested 2/5 3/3 The keyboard division of Stackpole is long gone.
TG3 Dead loss 2/5 3/3 TG3 started out helpful, but soon became completely unresponsive. Founder Tom Giles also seems largely uninterested in offering the time to provide information. TG3 were formed as a result of Cherry winding down their US manufacturing, but this avenue of research has joined the list of failures and might even have been the last straw for terminating research into companies, following Cortron’s stubbornness.

Far East


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Alps Electric Dead loss 3/5 3/3 Alps consistently refuse to respond any enquiries by any means. Another person managed to elicit the Alps lubricant, but that same Alps contact would not otherwise respond. While a lot of data has been recovered so far, there is still a long way to go. Some data will be recoverable from Japanese publications, while other information may be lost forever. It is not known whether Alps had a trade journal in the way that Fujitsu did, full of in depth product information right down to the mathematical formula level.
Brother Industries Not attempted 1/5 1/3 No research attempted. No progress with Brother is in any way likely.
Fujitsu Partial progress 3/5 2/3 Dealing with Fujitsu is a mixed story, but they have now provided all that they are willing to. It appears that they may now have finally ended legacy keyboard production (FKB-2500, FES-360 etc).
Futaba Dead end 2/5 2/3 Futaba responded, but supposedly no longer have any information; this may be due to the keyboard division being fully transferred to Sejin (claimed on their website and later removed).
Hirose Cherry Partial progress 2/5 2/3 Staff seemingly remain at Hirose who remember the keyboard switches, but it has not been possible thus far to correspond with them directly. They did provide datasheets for Hirose MX, Hirose M8, M85, MD and MJ but refuse to allow these to be posted online, even though all the potentially confidential detail is already available in American and German Cherry literature. Further progress is apparently impossible, as a native Japanese speaker also failed to get anywhere.
Hosiden Dead end 1/5 1/3 Hosiden responded, but no longer have any information. Presently there is no known information on their keyboard switches; they were identified solely by their branding.
Kaseda Dead loss 加世田光義 (Mitsuyoshi Kaseda) worked for both SMK and Hirose. He utterly refuses to assist.
Katano Untraceable 1/5 1/3 “Katano” is the name provided by Tai-Hao, but they are Taiwanese and Katano are supposedly Japanese, so the exact spelling is lost. Katano could have been 「カタノ」 (“katano” in katakana), 「交野市」 (“katano-shi”: Katano City), or possibly some other kanji pronounced “katano”. Possibly defunct.
Matsushita (Panasonic) Not attempted 1/5 2/3 No information has ever shown up on their membrane keyboards. This requires research within Japan. No progress with Matsushita/Panasonic is in any way likely.
Minebea (now MinebeaMitsumi) Partial success 2/5 3/3 MinebeaMitsumi (formerly Minebea, formerly Nippon Miniature Bearing or NMB) revealed that they were manufacturing keyboards for IBM’s personal computers in 1982—to IBM’s design—the year before they bought Hi-Tek. Unicomp refuse to co-operate with the investigation, and ClickyKeyboards deny any knowledge of NMB-made keyboards. MinebeaMitsumi got fed up with the discussion and ghosted, and there is now a mystery of exactly what market these keyboards were made for, or what IBM models they corresponded to. This was also some years before they began membrane production.
Mitsumi Dead end 2/5 3/3 No progress was ever made with Mitsumi directly, who appear to have no details left. The Wayback Machine yielded many details about their membrane keyboards, but virtually no confirmed details have been recovered about any of their mechanical types (KAM, KCT, KDM, KLM, KLT etc). KLT-11 is the only known part number, and all other series names are only known from PCB codes.
NEC Dead end 1/5 2/3 NEC claim to know nothing any more.
Omron Unresponsive 2/5 3/3 Omron have clearly demonstrated that they have information available in their archives (which they will occasionally yield), but are generally unwilling or unresponsive. A lot of series and model details remain missing.
Shinden Unresponsive 1/3 Shinden (シンデン株式会社) list a number of keyboard switch models, none of which are presently known to have been used in keyboards. It would be useful to know if these were ever used in keyboards. Shinden do not respond to requests for information.
SMK Dead end 2/5 3/3 SMK responded, but no longer have any information. The Wayback Machine yielded interesting details about their membrane keyboards, but little else has been recovered. Extensive research into Japanese literature is required.
Topre Available 2/3 No research conducted. This has in effect been left to 002, as the Topre specialist. Topre chose to prevent anyone from contacting them, so this could not be done.


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Sejin Electron Dead loss 1/5 3/3 Sejin was a joint venture company under Futaba. Keyswitch production was transferred eventually to Sejin. Sejin consistently refuse to respond. Little else is likely to be gained as the switches were marketed as Futaba, even if they were made by Sejin in Korea.
Samsung Not attempted 1/5 1/3 No research attempted. No progress with Samsung is in any way likely.


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Datacomp Unresponsive 2/5 3/3 Datacomp are utterly unresponsive. Some data has been obtained indirectly on their “ALPS Type” switches but there is a lot more to be learned from this stubborn organisation.
Forward Electronics Exhausted 2/5 3/3 Forward Electronics appear to have discarded all knowledge and material relating to keyboard switches including product history, but it may be that those people who respond shield the people who have the answers.
Himake Uncertain 1/5 2/3 Himake provided a small amount of information circa 2013 when contacted, but due either the language barrier or reluctance to share information, or both, little solid information was obtained. A fluent Chinese speaker is needed. Himake is fingered as the company most likely to have been the major Alps clone manufacturer, and some clone types broadly correspond with the details in Himake catalogue pages, but more data is required.
Monterey (Mtek) Possibly defunct 3/5 2/3 The Monterey site remains up, but it seems like the company may have ceased trading. Monterey were friendly and helpful while their EU office in the Netherlands existed, but this seems to have long since closed.
Ortek Unresponsive 1/5 2/3 Ortek have consistenly refused to respond. There is a vanishingly small possibility that they may still remember who supplied their Alps clone switches.
Tai-Hao Exhausted 3/5 3/3 Tai-Hao are very helpful and have provided a fair amount of detail on their old products, to the extent that anyone still remembers them.
Xiang Min Success 4/5 3/3 A fluent Chinese speaker may be able to clear up a few points, but at the moment there is nothing in particular to be learned from them. Their keyboard switch product range is tiny; most of the Alps clone switches seem to have come from Himake.


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Gateron Available 3/5 1/3 Research abandoned due to the unadulterated insanity that is the MX clone market.
Greetech Unwilling 2/5 1/3 Gave up with them due to their obstinence and stupidity.



Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Pendar Dead loss 1/5 1/3

In addition to continuing the well-documented line of reed switches, Pendar were also a capacitive keyboard manufacturer, of which no details remain besides a couple of discovered keyboards. An article about Pendar’s capacitive keyboards existed in Google’s search results but vanished during the research process before the page was even opened, and without knowing the URL it cannot be recovered.

Although Pendar is defunct, many ex–C P Clare and ex-Pendar staff can be found on the French site Journal du Net. However, having attemped to make contact with many of them, every single one has failed to respond. Further investigation into C P Clare in France and Belgium and Pendar in France is likely to require the involvement of a fluent French speaker and a bludgeon. If Roberto Guzzetti is around, he may also have more leads.

SAGEM Defunct 1/5 2/3 SAGEM appear to have had custom Cherry M7 switches made for them, used in some teleprinters of unconfirmed model. No details have been found.


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Cherry Unclear 3/5 3/3 It’s unclear what information remains in Cherry Germany, and they are not particularly responsive or interested.
Marquardt Exhausted 2/5 2/3 All known material and information at Marquardt has been obtained and made available.
Preh (now PrehKeyTec) Abandoned 2/5 1/3 Abandoned due to general apathy and unwillingness across keyboard companies in general. Not the most responsive company but more details may be available.
RAFI Exhausted 4/5 2/3 Unclear whether RAFI have more material remaining as they don’t enjoy digging it out, and at this point we are just down to the specifics of individual models, as all known switch series are now documented. Considering exhausted for now, as too little would be gained from pestering them further.
RFT Defunct 4/5 1/3
Sasse Dead loss 1/5 1/3 No-one has managed to get any sense out of Sasse. Whether anyone there still has any knowledge of their keyboard is a mystery as they have such poor communication skills.
Siemens 3/5 2/3 The DIN-compliant switches are well-documented. It’s the older, high-profile switches that remain a mystery.

United Kingdom

Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
Alphameric Acquired 1/5 1/3 Acquired by Devlin (below)
Devlin Dead loss 1/5 1/3 The Senior Electronics Engineer (1988–1996) and QA Tech/Customer Services Supervisor (1987–2004) at Alphameric are both with Devlin, but Devlin company policy ensures that none of them are allowed to say anything, thus putting a dead end what seemed like a fascinating line of enquiry into one of Britain’s only keyboard makers. Do not expect any more progress from Devlin.
FR Electronics Defunct 2/5 1/3 Reed switch manufacturer, no longer in existence. No data is believed to exist at the parent organisation. Details on their product range are all but nonexistent; no literature has been recovered.
PED (Pye Electro-Devices) Defunct 1/5 1/3


Company Status Completeness Relevance Country Notes
IEVT Defunct 4/5 1/3 Yugoslavia Missing details on TX series. IEVT begat Tipro, but the missing information is not with Tipro either.
Магніт Unclear 1/5 1/3 Ukraine The Magnit logo appears on some ПКМ 1Б switches, for which no details have been obtained. The ПАТ "Електромеханічний завод "Магніт" м. Канів — Офіційний сайт website is still up and shows a current copyright date (which could be automated), but their contact mailbox has bounced mail with “Mailbox is full / Blocks limit exceeded / Inode limit exceeded” for over a year (first attempted in February 2020). It’s not known whether Magnit still exist, especially now.
Tipro Exhausted 3/5 1/3 Slovenia Very little information remains at Tipro unfortunately, although they are a friendly and willing organisation and have provided all the information and parts that remain.
Olivetti Not attempted 2/5 2/3 Italy
Zbrojovka Brno Not attempted 2/5 1/3 Czechoslovakia The name still exists although it’s unlikely that anything about keyboards is still known.

South Asia


Company Status Completeness Relevance Notes
RRE Dead end 1/5 1/3 RRE still had leftover stock of illuminated reed switches, but no details.
TVS Dead loss 1/5 1/3 RRE may have claimed that TVS were making Cherry MX switches, but all attempts to trace this claim went completely ignored.