Printed Circuit Boards: A History

PCBs have changed dramatically in the 75 plus years they have been used in electronic devices. In England in 1936, Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented the circuit board to be used as a component of a radio set. However, the term "printed circuit" is believed to have originated with an American inventor named Charles Ducas, who submitted a patent application in 1925 detailing the process of using electrically conductive inks to print through a stencil onto an insulated surface. The U.S.A began using PCBs around the time of World War II. They were mainly used in radios, but were also used in proximity fuses. In 1948, the US allowed for commercial applications of the PCB, however, it didn't gain major traction until the mid 1950s, after the US Army had perfected the auto-assembly process. This gave way for quick construction of single sided, single layer PCBs through copper foil interconnection. However, since the circuit was only on one side of the board, electronic devices in which these boards were used were extremely bulky. Further development of plating, etching and lamination techniques allowed for the creation of dual-sided PCBs that were more reliable, and these techniques eventually evolved into the process in use today.Click here for more info on printed circuit boards.

The first multi-layer PCB was created in 1961, which opened an entirely new arena in circuit board construction. Increased extensibility, cooler operation, greater shielding, and overall smaller size are some of the advantages offered by a multi-layer PCB. It is these designs which lie at the heart of many of today's consumer and military electronics. The multi-layer PCB is the backbone of the microcomputer, which in turn is used in air and spacecraft, manufacturing and an endless variety of other applications. Modern manufacturing now allows for the creation of both flexible and rigid PCB designs, and there will undoubtedly be additional advances in PCB manufacturing which will translate into circuit boards being used in situations we can as yet not begin to fathom. Click here to learn more about printed circuit boards.


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