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0

The statement I heard within IBM at the time was that this was a visual pun of sorts. Yes, the overlaid 1/0 idea was there, but the primary reference (it was claimed) was to the engineering schematic symbol for a particular kind of valve -- one in which the valve shaft rotates a disk to either block or permit flow through the pipe -- and thus was more ...


2

I must say the other answers are pretty convincing and they have a substantial basis in the references cited, but I believe there is another intepretation worth considering. Yet be advised: this is pure conjecture. When you come to think about the word circuit, you will realize it resembles the word circle, and not only in English. A mechanical power button ...


30

This symbol is comprised of a 1, indicating "on", and a 0, indicating "off". It was originally designed to indicate "standby", or a low power state that was neither truly on or off. At that time, a 1 inside of a 0 was the power symbol. On December 8, 2004, IEEE 1621 designated the former standby symbol as the new power symbol and designated a waning ...


11

While only conjecture and not supported by any evidence, this article makes a pretty good case for the evolution of the standby button: http://designblog.nzeldes.com/2008/05/the-evolution-of-the-onoff-power-switch-symbol/ The short version is that as rocker or toggle switches were replaced by momentary push-button switches the I / O symbols were merged to ...


68

It's a stylised form of the '1' and the '0' for 'On' and 'Off'. You can see the evolution here.



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