From Corded to Cordless Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 July 2016

From Corded to Cordless

From the construction site to the home, the electric drill is a commonly used tool in todays society. The electric drill has been refined throughout the last century to form a tool that is both versatile and aesthetically pleasing. The 20th Century drill has come a long way from it 19th Century predecessors.

Australian, Arthur James Arnot, patented the worlds first electric drill in 1889. Arnots electric drill could perform all the tasks of an ordinary drill but with much greater efficiency. Then in 1895, German, Wilhelm Fein invented the first cordless (DC) electric drill. A cordless electric drill is a type of electric drill which uses rechargeable batteries, i.e. direct current (DC). Feins drill could spin a 1200 rpm (revolutions per minute) and relied on the user to press against the back of the drill in order to achieve good leverage. These early designed were not ergonomically tested and an issue arouse because the drills were somewhat heavy due to the metal (mainly steel) components. It was not till the early 1900s that the heavy steel exterior was replaced with the much lighter aluminum.

Early cordless (DC) drills used Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) batteries. NiCd batteries have a limited lifespan, self discharge and ultimately will internally short circuit due to dendrite growth. This poses a hazard when disposing of such NiCd batteries. It was for this reason and others that there was a move from NiCd batteries to Lithium ion batteries at the beginning of the 21st Century. The main advantage of using Lithium ion batteries is the dramatically shorter charging time and the longer lifespan. Lithium ion batteries also make the drill much more versatile because; unlike NiCd batteries, Lithium ion batteries have a constant discharge rate.

The year 1917 marked the beginning of the designs we see today. Black and Decker patented a trigger like switch mounted on a piston-grip, the first hand held drill of its kind. This innovative design helped to increase productivity as the user had a free hand to perform tasks that, previously, may have required another person.

The 1930s/40s saw a boom in the mass production of electric drills. The electric drill was made available to a greater number of people around the world. Societys homeowners wanted to take a more active role in the maintenance and repair of their homes. Mass production of the electric drill lead to the development of more powerful, more efficient, more versatile electric drills.

Society at the time had a great impact on the design and aesthetics of the electric drill. Manufacturers realized that they could not sell industrial looking tools to common homeowners, so product materials began to change during this time. Manufacturers started to use plastic, which considerably reduced the weight and very much added to the appeal of the electric drill.

The use of plastic also had an even greater positive effect, which was to prevent the user from suffering an electric shock if the electric drill was the short circuit. The exterior of the electric drill was also extensively changed, as societys homeowners wanted products that were aesthetically pleasing. Hence the lustrous yellow base color and contrasting black grip of most modern electric drills. The willingness of manufactures to change their design to accommodate the consumer desires is a reflection of societys impact on the design of the electric drill.


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Free From Corded to Cordless Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of California

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  • Date: 30 July 2016

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