The purpose of a circuit breaker is to protect an electrical circuit in case of accidental overload. There are now different varieties (differential, thermal, electromagnetic, hydraulic...) that show how electrical safety has benefited from progress in all areas of physics.
The invention of the circuit breaker is attributed to Thomas Edison, the inventor with 1,000 patents, founder of the Edison Electric Light Company in New York in 1879. He develops the first complete electrical system, from the generator to the cup -courants. The first uses of the circuit breaker take place as of the following year, but the devices remain too bulky for a domestic use.
The first miniature circuit breaker is patented in Germany by Hugo Stotz on behalf of the Swiss company Brown, Boveri & Co (BBC). The circuit breaker is quickly broadcast all over Europe (BBC was also present in England and France). In 1935, hydraulic oil circuit breakers to regulate the electrical production of the Hooverdam Project, one of the most impressive hydroelectric facilities in the United States, located in Colorado.
Progress accelerated after the Second World War. During the Glorious Thirties, the electrical and electronic equipment is modernized and democratized. It is enough today to look at the catalogs of electrical equipment to measure how much the circuit breakers meet the most diverse demands.
Collector's items, the first breakers are now very popular in decoration.