What Is A PC Board? When Did Printed Circuit Boards First Come Into Usage?

- May 29, 2016-

A printed circuit board, or PCB, is a self-contained module of interconnected electronic components found in devices ranging from common beepers, or pagers, and radios to sophisticated radar and computer systems. The circuits are formed by a thin layer of conducting material deposited, or "printed," on the surface of an insulating board known as the substrate. Individual electronic components are placed on the surface of the substrate and soldered to the interconnecting circuits. Contact fingers along one or more edges of the substrate act as connectors to other PCBs or to external electrical devices such as on-off switches. A printed circuit board may have circuits that perform a single function, such as a signal amplifier, or multiple functions.

We created this page to help define what printed circuit boards are and trace their history up to the present day.  Printed circuit boards sure have come a long way since these early days in 1942.  Today, Advanced Circuits manufactures printed circuit boards using the latest materials that allow electronic design engineers to miniaturize their products and build them to withstand demanding environments.

To get where we are today as the nation’s third leading PCB manufacturer, with outstanding reliability and Exclusive Services (free PCB design layout software, PCB Artist and free file check) there had to be an invention and history of the printed circuit board. We invite you to read about the origins of the PCB and how it has been used throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Printed Circuit Board Definition & History

To define what a PC board is, we have to look back at history that traces the evolution of printed circuit boards back to the early 20th century. The first PCB patents for "printed wire" were issued in the early 1900's but PCBs that we would recognize first came into use after World War II. In 1925, Charles Ducas of the United States submitted a patent application for a method of creating an electrical path directly on an insulated surface by printing through a stencil with electrically conductive inks. Hence the name "printed wiring" or "printed circuit." An Austrian scientist, Dr Paul Eisler, is credited with making the first operational printed wiring board in 1943. It was used as a replacement for bulky radio tube wiring.

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