In mid 1953, General Electric (GE) made
an early commercial entry into the new field of junction transistors with
the 2N43/44/45 line of germanium alloy junction devices. These were
rugged, reliable transistors enclosed in the now classic “pinched top”
metal case. These first GE commercial germanium junction transistors were
quite expensive, costing as much as $23.75 (for the 2N43) in the 1954 Radio
Shack catalog. All these devices were made on the same manufacturing
lines, with a gain test process used to sort the transistors into the
appropriate 2N4X categories. “Leftovers” from the 2N4X line, which failed
to meet minimum specs, were sold as the famous 2N107 hobbyist transistor.
The 2N45 was obsoleted by GE in the
late 1950s, but the 2N43 and the 2N44 remained in production for many
years, into the 1960s. These devices were “second-sourced” by both ETCO
and General Instruments (GI). The 2N43A was the first USAF qualified
transistor, and was tested to ensure high reliability.
The GE 2N4X line of germanium PNP alloy
junction transistors were versatile, rugged devices that found widespread
use in military, commercial and audio applications.