History of circuit breakers

History of circuit breakers

The first person who gave the idea of making circuit breakers for the first time in 1879 was Thomas Edison. He expressed various concepts in his scientific journals and finally registered this idea in the same year. These circuit breakers break the electrical circuit by opening a contact when the amount of electrical current reaches a level that is detected as dangerous for the system. Today, 120 years after this invention, these circuit breakers still protect electrical systems.

Edison set up a research laboratory in New Jersey in 1876. This laboratory became Edison’s Invention Center, where he would work on his new inventions. While in this lab, Edison was working on industrial power grids, he developed the circuit breaker concept.

Installing lighting systems in large cities, Thomas Edison noticed that when a short circuit occurs, the current reaches very high levels. As a result, it can damage the string of lamps and even destroy them. So Edison used fuses with wires under a high current wave to solve this problem.

The first circuit breaker is installed :

The first circuit breaker was installed in 1898 at the Boston Electric Light Company’s L Street Station. This circuit breaker had an oil tank and upward contacts that were manually activated. In circuit breakers, oil was also used to reduce the heat generated from the arc created between two open contacts.


In 1900, Granville Woods improved the design of circuit breakers and invented the automatic switch. Woods was a self-taught African American inventor who patented many ideas for the railroad industry. His fame came from inventing a way for train stations to communicate directly with train conductors.

The first breaker manufacturer:

The Cutter Manufacturing Company was the first to produce circuit breakers in 1904 in Philadelphia. This product was known as ITE interrupter in those years. Today’s electrical catalogs show many different types of ITE circuit breakers.

final word:

In this article, we learned about the history of circuit breakers and how they were formed and changed over the years. Today, in the electrical industry, we see the use of various circuit breakers, such as miniature switches, life-saving switches, automatic switches, etc. which have been a big change in this field. Each of these switches are used in different places according to their specific application and meet the needs.

Read more:

“All about the Miniature Circuit Breaker”

“All about the Residual Current Circuit Breaker”

“All about automatic breaker”

“All about the contactor “

“All about fuse “

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