PCBNet: A Short History Of Printed Circuit Boards

We could say that PCBNet would not be doing brisk business today if not for the work of engineers who developed the techniques and methods of present day printed circuit boards. The printed circuit board industry all began with the work of German inventor, Albert Hanson. In 1903, Hanson created the very first flat foil conductors that were laminated onto a board. He did so in multiple layers of boards. We could say they were the very first circuit boards that were the basis for PCBNet’s production of PCB’s today, with of course a few more modern variations in design.

A Short History Of Printed Circuit Boards Are :

In 1904, chemical plating of conductors on linen paper was spearheaded by no other than Thomas Edison. Then the print and etch method of circuit board production was patented by Arthur Berry ten years after. During the same time in the US, Max Schoop invented and received a patent for the flame spray method on metal on a patterned mask. A decade or so after, Charles Ducas followed through with another innovation. He introduced the method of electroplating circuit patterns, a technique that convinced people of the value of printed circuit boards for mass production.

PCB FabricationPaul Eisler, an Austrian engineer, was the very first inventor to have brought all of these innovative products and techniques together and produced the very first printed circuit board. He used it to create a functional radio set in England. The year was 1936. It will be a few more decades before PCBNet finally sets up shop as a producer and manufacturer of printed circuit boards.

When World War II broke in the 1940s, basic printed circuit board technology was produced in large volumes for the US military to be able to make proximity fuses. The US military was so impressed with the performance of the PCBs during the war that the invention was finally released by the US military for commercial use. In the 1950s, the auto assembly industry was the very first to use printed circuits boards in its development process. And ever since then the need for printed circuit boards only increased in demand so much so that companies such as PCBNet have been able to flourish.

Before PCBs became so popular though it was in competition against point to point construction, turret boards or wire wraps, and the Electronic Circuit Making Equipment or ECME which was invented by John Sargrove. Point to point construction was the method used for large scale production of electronic devices, while wire wraps and turret boards were for smaller scale requirements. Although between the two, the ECME method was the more efficient with the ability to produce, per minute, three radio boards. It involved spraying a Bakelite plastic board with metal.

As mentioned earlier the very first idea printed circuit board was used during World War II by the US Army. The need for PCBs arose because of the anti-aircraft proximity fuse. It required from the US Army produce in quantity electronic circuits that can hold up to being fired from inside a gun. A company called Globe Union was able to deliver a circuit board that met the set requirements. With the use of a ceramic plate it was screen printed with metallic paint when used as a conductor. For resistors, carbon material was screen printed on the plate. And the process was finished off by soldering subminiature vacuum tubes and ceramic disc capacitors onto to the plate.

Printed circuit boardsPrior to the invention of the very first spray painted printed circuit board by the Globe Union, all circuit boards had to have holes drilled into them so that electronic components could be attached using wire leads. Essentially, to assemble a printed circuit board wire leads had to be attached to all components and set aside. Then a solid circuit board had to be drilled with holes. After which, the electronic components with the wire leads were inserted into the holes of the circuit board and fixed with the wire leads. It was a very time consuming and expensive process. It was only a matter of time before a more innovative way of producing circuit boards was introduced.

Moe Abramson and Stanislaus Danko, both US Army engineers, created the Auto-Sembly process. It is an etching and board lamination technique which involved dip soldering copper foil interconnection patterns. This was the same patent that was used by the US military for their anti-aircraft proximity fuses. Ever since the invention of the Auto-Sembly process the production of circuit boards has evolved to such an extent where it is now more time and cost efficient. Not to mention the design is so streamlined and the electronic components so compact, that it is possible to make smaller circuit boards that are super functional.

The printed circuit board has gone a long way since its inception in the early 20th century. And PCBNet has benefitted much from its evolution and the innovations it has gone through though out the decades.

One thought on “PCBNet: A Short History Of Printed Circuit Boards

  1. Wonderful Post…!!
    After reading this post i get an idea about brief history of Printed Circuit Boards and few more modern variations in design…Pcbnet are providing the different types Printed Circuit Boards…Thanks!!

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