By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 18, 2024 at 12:31 PM

In the late 19th Century, Christopher Latham Sholes invented the typewriter – specifically the QWERTY keyboard that is still used on phones and computers.

Today, 150 years later and a few blocks from Sholes’ workspace, Henry Dabrowski and his team are taking the keyboard to radical new levels.

Dabrowski’s company, called DarkFusion Systems, is located at 735 N. Water St. in Downtown Milwaukee. Max Buckle and Bryan Voss are also integral members of the team.

“We build really high-end, boutique – dare I say artisan – systems,” says Dabrowski, who started the business in 2019.

The majority of DarkFusions Systems’ customers are people who spend long periods of time on their computers, including coders, gamers, writers, designers and engineers.

“People who have significant demands from their computer – it cannot fail for them,” says Dabrowski. “We work with them one-on-one to develop a system that meets all of their needs.”

Whereas most of us don’t think twice about the keyboard that comes with our laptops and desktops, DarkFusion Systems’ customers choose very specific components.

The keyboard chassis (body) is available in three different colors and the keyboard allows customers to make many personal decisions in terms of switch. A switch is a small component that sits underneath the keycap that connects to the keyboard's PCB. Switches vary in how they look, sound, and feel. 

For example, customers choose if they want the keys to be “easier” or “harder” to push. They also pick the sound the keys make when touched.

“Some people prefer a ‘thock’ sound or a ‘clack’ sound or a ‘thack’ or a ‘thong’ – and anything in between,” says Dabrowski. “It’s very nerdy and very exciting.”

Dabrowski compares it to buying a good mattress. Because we spend a quarter of our lives sleeping, it makes sense to lie on something we find incredibly comfortable to maximize our rest time.

“It’s the same with a keyboard,” says Dabrowski. “What someone wants for writing is different from what someone wants for gaming.”

DarkFusion Systems computers are designed, assembled and tested in Milwaukee.

“I love Milwaukee. Our brand is Milwaukee first,” says Dabrowski, who grew up in Fox Point, a Milwaukee suburb, and graduated from Marquette University.

Does Dabrowski feel a connection to Milwaukee’s industrial past? Does he see Sholes’ keyboard as the foundation of his product? Absolutely.

“At the time of Sholes invention, Milwaukee was known as the Machine Shop Of The World,” says Dabrowski. “We’re striving to make Milwaukee the Electric Machine Shop Of The World.”

DarkFusion Systems will be at QWERTYFEST MKE June 21, 2024 at Turner Hall Ballroom. Go here for more info.

Follow DarkFusion Systems on Instagram here.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.