Electronic Design

Editorial: Electronic Chewing Gum Would Help

Imagineering is generally directed toward solutions of complex problems. Having somewhat of an inverted mind, this engineer has let his fancy focus on a more prosaic problem—finding a replacement for the alligator clip. A basic invention that would facilitate the temporary interconnection of a jumble of hookup wires and component leads without soldering would be welcomed by every circuit designer.

A quick rundown of interconnecting schemes shows the real paucity of ideas: Fahnestock clips, alligator clips, and binding posts are about all.

Some breadboard connecting schemes, such as coil springs, permit multiple connections to be made by slipping leads between helices, but the experimenter has to bring all of his leads to the breadboard. Furthermore, the coils take up a lot of space.

Soldering has to be eliminated, as it is not at all satisfactory. Who among us can solder three leads together without first twisting them all together? And, welders aren't flexible enough.

What might be the solution? The ideal interconnecting device ought to be small and light, and conform to any contour made with any number of crossed wires that are full of kinks. It ought to be applied without heat or a special tool. The connection should stay firm under the strain of the weight of a component, but it should otherwise be broken easily. Of course, the resistivity should be extremely low. I believe that the nearest thing would be chewing gum with a conductive filler. Ideas on the flavor, anyone?—James A. Lippke, Managing Editor. (Electronic Design, Feb. 1, 1961, p. 33)

It might seem odd to publish an editorial on the somewhat mundane subject of soldering, but breadboards were an in-escapable part of an engineer's job, and the magazine couldn't overlook such fundamental techniques.

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