June 17, 2016

Do you Know What Does This Symbol On Every Power Button Mean?

With the ever increasing growth in Electrical and Electronic appliances, people are familiar with Microwave ovens, Mobile phones, Televisions, Laptops, Washing machines, Mixer grinders etc. You may be using them frequently. Also, you may notice the symbol with a line in a broken circle on the power button. Had you ever got a doubt that “what does this symbol mean?“.  Isn`t amazing after listening that there was a connection in between the world war II and the origin of power button symbol. Here is an interesting fact about the origin of the power button symbol.

Initially, switches had a lever or slider that could move to either of two physical positions ON and OFF. You may also notice a word POWER on the switch. Later, two words were replaced with I and O. we have to toggle between on and off. As a result, there are different I and O.

on off switch atb

But after the evolution of microprocessors, switches were made more economic with a simple pushbutton switch. The computer inside could take care of figuring whether you meant ON or OFF. After this invention, there arose a necessity for an icon that conveys both on and off options. There comes the utilization of a fact that engineers used the binary system to label power button during world war II.

In binary systems, 1 means “on” and 0 mean “off.”

binary o and 1 in electric circuits

In 1973, the symbol in which 1 and 0 were superimposed  was standardized as the power button symbol by the International Electrotechnical Commission(IEC). ON/OFF can be identified by the color represented by the power button.

power button on when clicked

Here is one more interesting fact about this symbol. You will never look at the symbol after knowing this information. This symbol is also used as a power on indication on NYC condom wrapper.

power symbol on condom

This article will strike into your mind whenever you see a power button. Isn`t amazing to know about the origin of the power button? comment your opinion.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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