The History Of Light Switches Will Surely Amaze You

The history of light switches date back to the 80’s, when they were used for just the On-Off purpose. The technological advancements of the day allow performing numerous tasks with the help of these light switches, including the adjustment of brightness of lamps. Though the light switches that give a mechanical clicking sound are the most widely used till date, the technological advancements have also invited innovations like those of touch sensitive and motion sensitive switches. But the history behind all this is much more than what anyone anticipates!

  • The Quick-Break Mechanism

Light Switches: Quick
Quick Break Mechanism

The first ever light switch worked on a technology called the quick-break mechanism. Invented by John Henry Holmes in 1884, there used to be formation of a residue in the previous arcing technologies, thus reducing the life of the switch. The quick break mechanism reduced the time lag between the contacts coming together, hence increasing the life of the switches. This mechanism is even used nowadays in various electrical light switches.

  • The Toggle Light Switches

Light Switches: Toggle
A toggle switch by General Electric

Devised by William J. Newton in 1917, the famous toggle light switches changed the face of the world. The toggle switches marked the beginning of the light switches that we use today. Based on the quick-break mechanism in one way or the other, these toggle light switches saw a transition from the time it got invented. The design and usage has been varied as per the need and demand of the society.
Here shown below are a few light switches that saw their evolution from the historic times to the present generation.

1. A Push Button Light Switch

Light Switches: Push Button Switch
A push button light switch

2. An Old Toggle Light Switch

Light Switches: Vintage Toggle
An old toggle light switch

3. A Modern Toggle Light Switch

Light Switches: Toggle
A modern toggle light switch

4. Illuminated Rocker Switch

Light Switches: Illuminated Rocker Switch
Illuminated Rocker Switch

5. Rocker Light Switch

Light Switches: Rocker Light Switch
Rocker Light Switch

6. Pull Chain/Pull Cord

Light Switches: Pull Chain/Pull Cord
Pull Chain/Pull Cord Switch

7. Dimmer Switch

Light Switches: Dimmer Switch
Dimmer Switch
  • The Future

The future of these light switches is here. There has been a phase when the touch sensitive switches have started evolving from those traditional switches. These switches don’t need to be pressed mechanically. They have a touch screen panel, and hence, all the adjustments of the whole room can be made through it. As a matter of fact, the regulators are also touch sensitive, and hence, one can increase or decrease the brightness of the lamp or the speed of the fan by the motion of the finger.
Another technology that has been devised for these electrical switches, has been through intelligent lamps that can be operated with the help of a Smartphone app. Phillips Hue is one such example, which allows the user to even adjust the color of the lamp with the help of the app that the user can download on his Smartphone.
Remote Controlled light switches have also been in news for some time now. As is evident, these forms of switches allow the control of lights and other electrical equipments of the house with the help of a remote control.
Another innovative technology in the field of light switches is iOn. This is an enhanced version of those touch sensitive light switches, with an increased range of touch area. This enables the lighting of the lamp without actually touching the switch. All one has to do is wave his hand in front of the area where the switch is installed. This technology also enables the change in brightness by simply pointing at the switch for a small amount of time. Here is a video showcasing this technology.