History of the PLC (Automation Direct Link)

Courtesy of Signalhead via Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Signalhead via Wikimedia Commons

Automation Direct has written a new post on the history of the PLC that you might find interesting. It can be found


and covers the early years of PLC development. It mostly discusses Dick Morley and the founding of Modicon, but also has some other excellent links at the bottom. Check it out!


Electrical Engineer and business owner from the Nashville, Tennessee area. I also play music, Chess and Go.

1 Comment on “History of the PLC (Automation Direct Link)

  1. I like to claim that the father of the PLC was Adolf Hitler. How’s that for getting your attention?
    Back in the early ’60’s as a Square D salesman, I received a brochure on a new product called NORPAK. Lacking time to read it before my next call, I threw it in my briefcase. During that call the buyer received a phone call from his chief electrical engineer, and responded “Well, if Westinghouse is taking CYPAK off the market, what will we do?” Since NORPAK, whatever it was, sounded like CYPAK, I threw the unread brochure on his desk, they examined it and soon became the largest (for a while) user of that product. Bote products were Boolean elements but CYPAK was based on magnetic amplifiers, NORPAK on the newly discovered transistor. The former had been discovered on captured German submarines, developed because Adolf sent an electrician out on each to maintain the relays, and they began to fail to return! Problem was, the germans had the technical ability to produce them (think five windings on a core the size of a Cheerio) and we didn’t, thus the failure of CYPAK. Indeed, after a trial I was asked to check stock on a list of components and when I asked the factory if they had 400 output amplifiers in stock, they replied “We’ve only made 20”.
    Eventually this product WAS replaced by an early PLC, made by Digital Equipment, who would weave a memory bank of magnetic amplifier cores from a paper tape punched on a machine by the programmer. Til then, I had a lot of fun defeating Adolf’s friends’ invention.