The Hytron Radio Tube company, a vacuum
tube manufacturer since 1921, was purchased by Columbia Broadcasting System
(CBS) in the early 1950s. CBS was interested in establishing a presence in
semiconductor and vacuum tube manufacturing, likely to support their
primary radio/TV entertainment business, and Hytron probably appeared to
provide an excellent entry vehicle. By late 1952, CBS was manufacturing
germanium diodes and transistors at the Hytron facility in Lowell Ma.
Various device types, labeled as “CBS” or “CBS/Hytron”, were in production
for approximately 10 years (until the early 1960s), when CBS exited the
semiconductor manufacturing field.
From a historical perspective,
CBS/Hytron represents a noteworthy chapter in early semiconductor device
development – this “start-up” produced superior germanium devices (point
contact transistors, junction transistors, diodes, and was especially known
for germanium power transistors) for over a decade. Remaining CBS devices
represent an excellent view into the best of early germanium technology.