In the world of electronics, the 555 Timer IC surely ranks as one of the Greatest Simple Ideas that works wonder. Designed by one Hans R. Camenzind in 1971, and introduced by Signetics in 1972, it is estimated that over a billion pieces of this unassuming integrated circuit device are still being made each year. Whoosh! That is one old-timer whose popularity has not waned with age.
In the years that followed almost every semiconductor company worth its silicon had a 555 in its product line-up.
With fond memories I recall how, after bumping into a specimen in 1980, I became wildly fascinated by the myriad of applications achievable using this 8-pin IC. Flashing lights, dimmers, buzzers, etc, etc. It was the era of fun for me.
Who would have thought that a simple Square Waveform could be harnessed to do so many tricks?