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A short and illuminating history of the light switch

3 CommentsTuesday, 6 November 2018  |  Amit

A history of the light switch, from its foundations to the present day


Ever since Thomas Edison patented the first commercially successful light bulb in 1878, manufacturers have strived to perfect the design and user experience of the humble light switch. Some have been masterpieces of ingenuity and visionary design work, others just look completely hideous!



While early models were impractical and took ages to switch on and off, a breakthrough came from electrical engineer and all round genius John Henry Holmes. His quick-break technology ensured the electrical components moved apart quickly enough to deter the electric arcing that created a fire hazard and often shortened the switch's lifespan.


Based on this technology, the first toggle switches were created. These rudimental designs form the basis of many light switches that we see today. Allowing the user a simple choice between on and off, toggle switches employed a projected manual lever to change the setting. And while this lever ranged from the sleek to the not so sleek, it certainly proved a breakthrough in putting the power at our fingertips!


With the invention of the rocker switch, light switches moved away from the outdated and frankly uncomfortable action of pulling a lever, to the thoroughly modern experience of letting your finger slide down a smooth face of plastic. Suddenly, the nuts and bolts feel of light switches became something of the past. Utilising durable and rust-free plastic casings, flicking these switches on and off felt natural and intuitive.


Where are we now?


We at Retrotouch feel that the next advancement in light switch technology is upon us. With the available materials and technology, we believe there is a new era of lighting automation to be embraced.


Whether our latest iotty switches that utilise smart technology to determine when and how your lighting functions, or our stylish range of manual light switches, we consider our range a real milestone in the evolution of light switch technology.


Not only are all our switches beautiful and pleasurable to use, they are also energy efficient, and environmentally friendly. From geolocation data that determines when you’re in the room, to the ability to adjust to outdoor lighting conditions, we really believe our switches are a must have for any modern home or business.


Check out our exciting new range of light switches at www.retrotouch.com

Thursday, 31 October 2019  |  23:07

Why was the light bulb made first then the light switch?

Richard Hall
Saturday, 8 February 2020  |  4:19

Why invent a light switch when there is nothing to switch?

Richard Hall
Saturday, 8 February 2020  |  4:26

By the way, in America the toggle-style switch is still king -- much more so than the rocker switch.



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