Paul Eisler - Biography
Paul Eisler (1907-1992) was an Austrian inventor born in Vienna. Among his innovations were the printed circuit board.
Early life and education
He graduated in engineering from Vienna University of Technology in 1930. After employment in Belgrade where he installed radios in trains, he returned to Vienna to work as a printer. However, he was forced out of work by the fascists in 1934 and left for England with some of his patents in 1936. His first cousin, Philipp Fehl, contacted Eisler upon arrival as a refugee in England and Eisler helped to make sure that Fehl's father left Vienna alive after his release from the Dachau concentration camp.
Living in a Hampstead boarding house, without work or a work permit, he began to fabricate a radio using a printed circuit board while trying to sell some of his ideas. Around this time, the Odeon hired him to work on their cinema technology. One of the common problems there was coping with theatre goers who spilled foods such as ice cream on the seats. Eisler devised a yellow fabric to cover affected furniture for the benefit of the next theater goer as well as flag it for removal and cleaning at the next opportunity.
Though he was able to help several members of his family escape Austria, he was subject to internment by the British as an enemy alien after the onset of World War II. After being released in 1941, he was able to engage Henderson and Spalding, a lithography company in Camberwell run by Harold Vezey-Strong, to invest in his printed circuit idea via a specially created subsidiary of Henderson and Spalding called Technograph, but forfeited rights to his invention when he neglected to read the contract before signing it. It was a pretty standard employment contract in that he agreed to submit any patent right during his employment for a nominal fee (one pound sterling) but it also gave him 16.5 percent ownership of Technograph. It drew no interest until the United States incorporated the technology into work on the proximity fuze which was vital to counter the German V-1 flying bomb. However, he did manage to obtain his first three printed circuit patent for a wide range of applications. They were split out from a single application submitted in 1943 and finally published after long legal procedures on June 21, 1950 .
After the war ended, the United States opened access to his printed circuit innovation and since 1948, it has been used in all airborne instrument electronics. Very few companies acknowledged or licenced Technograph's patents and the company had financial difficulties. He resigned from Technograph in 1957. Among his projects as a freelancer, were films to heat "floor and wall coverings" and food, for example, "fishfingers". The wallpaper idea was viable, but interest waned after the advent of cheaper energy resources with the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea.
Eisler invented many other practical applications of heating technology, such as the pizza warmer and rear window defroster, but was not so successful in their commercialization.
In 1963, Technograph lost a lawsuit against Bendix over most of the claims in the US versions of patents.