Historic Transistor Timeline   


The first two decades following the invention of the transistor in 1947 was a time of tremendous technological change.  Each new year saw an ever-increasing variety of new transistor types and transistor companies.  This Historic Transistor Timeline has been developed to provide a concise overview of the most important milestones from these exciting times.  In addition, links to supporting web-based information have been noted.  The Transistor Museum™ will continue to update this Timeline as supporting material becomes is developed.







1. First transistor (Point Contact Type) invented at Bell Labs, credited to Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain.


1. PBS Transistor History Site



1. First public announcement of the invention of the transistor.

2. Raytheon CK703 is first commercially available transistor. 

3. Junction transistor theory developed by William Shockley at Bell Labs.




2. CK703 Info (McGarrah Site)  


1. “Type A” point contact transistor enters limited production at Bell Labs.

2. W. MacWilliams builds the Transistor Gating Matrix at Bell Labs, using 40 “Type A” transistors; this is the first functional transistor application.

3. First transistor hobbyist article, “Build a Transistor”, by R. Turner,  published in Radio Electronics magazine.


1. “Type A” Transistor Photo Essay


2. W. MacWilliams Oral History



1. First grown junction transistor created at Bell Labs.

2. First transistor radio construction article, “Crystal Receiver with Transistor Amplifier”, by R. Turner, published in Radio and Television News magazine.


1. M1752 Transistor Photo Essay

2. CK703 Info (McGarrah Site)


1. Bell Labs “Transistor Symposium” at Murray Hill, with topics including point contact and grown junction germanium transistors and circuits.

2. 30 Companies licensed by Western Electric to manufacture transistors.

3. First alloy junction transistors developed at GE and RCA.


1. Symposium Info (McGarrah Site)






3.  RCA TA153 Transistor


1. RCA “Transistor Symposium” at Princeton demonstrates commercial potential of transistors, including first experimental transistor TV receiver.

2. Raytheon produces 10,000 CK718 hearing aid transistors.

3. Hearing aids become first commercial product to use transistors.

4. GPC markets the first commercial grown junction transistor (2517 series).


1. Jerry Herzog Oral History



2. Raytheon CK718 Transistor





4. GPC 2517 Transistor


1. GE, Philco, Radio Receptor, Raytheon, RCA, Sylvania and Texas Instruments all prepare for large scale production of germanium junction transistors.

2. Raytheon introduces the CK722 hobbyist transistor.

3. Total U.S. transistor production for the year is 1,000,000 units.





2a. Raytheon CK722 Transistor

2b. CK722 Website


1. Regency and TI develop and market the first all-transistor radio (TR-1).

2. TI markets the first commercial silicon transistor (900 series).

3. Raytheon manufactures its 1,000,000th germanium transistors.

4. Bell Labs develops prototype high frequency diffused base transistors.


1. TR1 Radio History (Reyer Site)


2. TI 900 Series Transistors





4. Bell Labs Prototype Transistor


1. GE introduces the 2N107 hobbyist transistor.

2. Additional companies market transistor radios (GE, Raytheon, Zenith, Sony).

3. GE’s USAF 2N43A is the first transistor qualified for military service.


1a. GE 2N107 Transistor

1b. Carl David Todd Oral History



3. GE Transistor History




1. GE introduces the 2N170 hobbyist transistor.

2. TI’s USN 2N117 is the first silicon transistor qualified for military service. 

3. Fisher introduces the first Hi-Fi transistor product (TR1 preamp).

4. 14 U.S. companies have registered a total of 164 “2N” transistor types.

5. Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain awarded the Nobel Prize for the invention of the transistor.


1. GE 2N170 Transistor

2. TI 2N117 Transistor



3. Fisher TR1 Info (McGarrah Site)


1. 10th anniversary of invention of the transistor.

2. Annual U.S. shipments of 29,000,000 units.

3. Fairchild semiconductor division founded by engineers and scientists originally hired by William Shockley at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. 




1. Explorer 1, the first U.S. satellite, uses germanium and silicon transistors.

2. Fairchild begins commercial transistor shipments. 


1. 2N33X Transistor


2. Fairchild 2N697 Transistor


1. Fairchild develops planar process, used first for high reliability transistors, later for monolithic ICs.

2. Texas Instruments introduces first commercial integrated circuit.

1. Fairchild 2N1613 Transistor



Copyright © 2006 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.