They will probably last a life time.
Yes, that’s solely my opinion on mechanical keyboards’ longevity. And I’m not kidding. I’ve seen mechanical keyboards made in the early 70s that still work until today (2020), that’s 50 years, and I suspect that it will work for at least 20 years more. But I’ll tell you a story, a story of my grandfather.
My grandfather was born in the 40s, 1944 to be exact, right before the end of World War II. He was born to a poor family in Lublin, Poland. When he was in his teen, he moved to the USA along with his family. He then married, and got his degree in Geologist, and worked as a Petroleum Geologist in a major oil company. Unlike me, my grandfather, he was not a mechanical keyboard enthusiast, but he had worked with several terminal in the 60s, 70s, up until the 2000s. And he brought home some of his possessions. Sadly, most of his possessions were lost in a fire in 2019.
The Bez Klávesnice 262.3 was made in 1988, built with the will of the Soviets. It was build to last, and man, it really lasts (or lasted, because of the fire). The last time I went visit my grandmother, I took this keyboard out, tested it with some electrical devices, and to my surprise, it hadn’t kicked the bucket just yet. If it was not the fire, then it’d probably last few more decades.
Here we got the Atari Mega STE’s keyboard, which was made in USA in 1991. It was my father’s. I don’t really know the story behind this keyboard and the Atari Mega STE that my father owned, but in 2018, a friend of mine which is an retro technology enthusiast, plug this keyboard into his Mega STE and it still worked like the first days.
And here we got the FIlco Majestouch 2, which was made in 2010. It has been with me ever since. Even though nowadays, I don’t use it that much. It serves as a memoir from my past. But for the period from 2010 til 2014, I had been using it non-stop, typing 2 of my non-fiction on this keyboard.
A decade has passed, and the Filco Majestouch 2 still work like when it arrives in my filthy & small apartment on a rainy day in New York. I was in my 20s when I bought this keyboard. I didn’t have much money when I bought this keyboard, and it had been served solely as my main keyboard until I got another one.
During its (Filco Majestouch 2) glorious day, it hadn’t failed me once. I rarely cleaned it. It was filled with dust, hairs, pizza crusts, and one fly. But it still worked, and still work today. The keycap set that you see on my Majestouch 2 is a new keycaps set that was given to me by a dear friend of mine, who is a keyboard enthusiast, or dare I say keycap enthuiast.
Mechanical keyboards were made really simple, they were mostly what they were called: mechanical. Not until the past decade, mechanical keyboards were made with more sophisticated eletrical components, which make them prone to get more issues. But most of those issues will only the aesthetic of the keyboard, such as lighting problem, wireless connection problem, etc. With proper care, retro and modern mechanical keyboards will probably last a lifetime.
PS: now, it’s time to showcase my personal proud keyboard: The KBD75v2 SA Maxkey Green White.