History of Circuit Boards

History of Circuit Boards

History of Circuit Boards

When looking back at the technology of yesterday it is amazing to see just far it has come.  Computerization has captured our imagination and amazed us with its ease of use and practical applications.  If you were to speak with a millennial today they will probably not be able to appreciate technological history since they were born into a world of smart phones, fit bits, and the world-wide web.  If you would like to test this theory just, try to take away their cell phones or iPads sit back and watch the world end as they know it.  For those of us who were the remote control for our parents, kept track of time by a watch (or the street lights) and know what a phone booth is (was) the advancements we have witnessed throughout our lives is genuinely amazing.  None of this would have been possible if it was not for printed circuit boards.

What Did We Do Before Printed Circuit Boards?

Well, we used wires of course!  Point to point construction was used.  This used big bulky wires and outlets that were not easily manageable and took a lot of time to maintain.

The First Signs of Technology

In the 1920’s circuit boards were made by various materials such as Bakelite, Masonite, and wood to name a few.  Holes would be drilled allowing flat brass wires to be riveted to it.  This was a very rough draft of today’s circuit boards.  In 1943 patents for first PCB (printed circuit board) were filed by Paul Eisler who designed them.  At the time the components of electrical machinery were connected by hand soldered wires.  He filed patents, three-dimensional printed circuits, foil technique of printed circuits, and powder printing.1947 ushered in the first double-sided printed circuit boards that had plated through holes.

U.S. Patent Office Grants Patents to U.S. Army’s Representative Scientists

This was a huge step in the progress of the PCB.  The scientists research was dedicated to the “process of assembling electrical circuits”.  This was granted in 1956 and laid the ground work for what will become the printed circuit boards of today.  The IPC (Institute of Printed Circuit Boards) was founded and held their first meeting in 1957.

The 60’s and 70’s Continual Growth

The first multilayer began to be produced in 1960.  Between the 60’s and 70’s changes in the process were introduced;

  • They were designed with a four to one ratio of red-and-blue line vellum method
  • Cameras were used make a one to one ratio of negative manufacturing film

By the 1970’s we started to see smaller more sophisticated devices that introduced new challenges to the industry.

Today there is not a computerized machine that does not operate without a printed circuit board.  The differences between then and now are obvious and are considered great accomplishments in the world of technology today.  Constant innovations and improvements are guaranteed to be designed and amaze those of us who born during its conception!