When Were Printed Circuit Boards Invented

By | March 6, 2023



The invention of printed circuit boards (PCBs) reshaped the tech industry and helped pave the way for some of the most ambitious electronics projects ever undertaken. It all began in the early 20th century with the German engineer Paul Eisler, who pioneered the concept of a printed wiring board in 1936.

Eisler's idea was to combine both electrical and mechanical components onto a single board, rather than having them arranged on a complex network of wires and switches. This allowed engineers to construct intricate and complex designs much more efficiently. The idea caught on quickly and PCBs began to be used in commercial radios, amplifiers, and other electronics devices.

Although Eisler is often credited with inventing the PCB, his original 1936 patent was actually filed by an American engineer named Charles Ducas. Ducas had invented a system that would make it easier to assemble electronic equipment by sending a current through a printed layer of copper on a board. This design laid the groundwork for Eisler's later work on the printed wiring board.

In the years since then, the technology has grown exponentially. Modern PCBs can integrate components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, and transistors in order to create powerful and complex electronic devices. It's no surprise that PCBs have become ubiquitous in the tech industry and are now used in everything from computers to cars.

It's amazing to think about how far PCB technology has come in the past 80-odd years. And yet, in a way, the basic principles of Eisler's original design remain unchanged. Printed circuit boards continue to revolutionize the tech industry and make complex electronics projects achievable. Thanks to Eisler, Ducas, and all the other inventors that have helped advance the technology, we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.


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