|Founded||Lexington, Kentucky, United States April 1996|
In 1996, Lexmark International was prepared to shut their Lexington keyboard factory where they produced Model M buckling-spring keyboards. IBM, their principal customer—and the Model M's original designer and patent holder—had decided to remove the Model M from its product line in favor of cheaper (but much less durable) Asian-made rubber-dome keyboards.
To this day, many computer enthusiasts consider buckling-spring keyboards among the best ever made. Rather than seeing its production come to an end, a group of Lexmark employees purchased the license, tooling and design rights for buckling-spring technology, and, in April 1996, reestablished the business as Unicomp.
Unicomp's product line historically consists of IBM- and Lexmark-originated designs and slight modifications of those designs.
The Classic 101 (formerly called the Customizer) is quite similar to one of IBM's later Model M variants (their part number 42H1292) and is built on the same equipment. Other than the manufacturer's logo, the only changes to the Classic 101 are the options of a black case with light gray keys (as an alternative to the classic "pearl" beige), and USB connectivity (as an alternative to PS/2).
The Ultra Classic (formerly called the SpaceSaver) is a lighter, more compact version of the Classic, with 30% less plastic. A variant of the Ultra Classic, still sold under its former name of SpaceSaver M, is designed for Macintosh computers.
Unicomp also produces a wide variety of specialized items, including:
- Replacement Model M parts
- Custom-printed keys
- Keys in various colours (printed and blank)
- Key sets for various languages, and for ergonomic layouts such as Dvorak and Colemak
- OEM-logoed cases
They also offer a repair service for virtually all mechanical keyboards made by IBM, Lexmark and Unicomp.
Unicomp's products can be purchased at their online shop and by phone.
Nearly all of Unicomp's products are manufactured in the United States, at their Lexington factory, and include an 18-month warranty. Exceptions are their Value Plus/SK-720C and SK-7500 wireless keyboards, which are manufactured by SiliTek, a division of the Taiwanese peripheral manufacturer LiteON.
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