The evolution of a light switch

Toggle Switch Patent Application

Interior design is continually evolving and ever dynamic as both an industry and mode of expression. Trends in color, texture, and scale fluctuate from year to year and decade to decade. Yet the light switches that adorn our walls have endured almost unchanged since the toggle concept was patented by William J. Newton nearly a century ago.

For interior design, a light switch is like a pocket square on a Sunday suit. It’s not usually big or expensive, but it can do a lot to accent the whole. It seems; however, that well-functioning switches can often remain untouched for the life of a home. From time to time, the wall plate is swapped out in an attempt at dressing up what’s left after a complete home makeover.

The wall-mounted rocker switch was probably a welcome departure when it debuted and even attempted to cure some of the clicking and clacking associated with toggle switches. But with its standard and most often sterile white appearance the rocker is certainly more appropriate for institutional settings than the home.

Switches with more modern capabilities, demand more modern designs. And while the current trend toward retro designs is interesting, it does too good a job at masking the technology behind the wall.

On the other hand, touch panel switches take futuristic design too far. Chances are that the rest of your home décor will be a while in catching up to this Jetsons era look. And despite the forward-thinking cover appeal touch switches might have, the technology they’re built on still has its roots in ancient history (technologically speaking). In order to avoid “bounce,” or flickering as your finger inches closer to the switch, touch panels often feature built-in delays which can make operation awkward.

Our nanogrid switch attempts to extend the narrow parameters to which switch design has been confined for so many years while maintaining the usability of the original form. And we’d love to hear what end-users and designers alike have to say.

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