WELCOME TO THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM™
Dedicated to Preserving the History of the Greatest Invention of the 20th Century
LAST UPDATED MAY 19, 2013. CHECK BACK OFTEN!
HERE IS A NEW PHOTOGALLERY ARTICLE.
LEARN ABOUT THE VANGUARD I SATELLITE AND THE EXCITING
1958 TRANSISTOR TECHNOLOGY THAT POWERED
THE RADIO TRANSMITTERS IN THIS HISTORIC SATELLITE.
LEARN ABOUT EARLY AND IMPORTANT TRANSISTOR HISTORY
WITH THE CONTINUING MUSEUM SERIES
“HISTORIC PROFILES - RECOGNIZING SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS
TO 20TH CENTURY SEMICONDUCTOR HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY”
NEW HISTORIC PROFILE!
SHOWN BELOW ARE LINKS TO RECENT INFORMATION
DEVELOPED AT THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM
Curator’s Update 11-17-2012: Be sure to read the Bernard Reich Historic Profile - link shown at the top of this page. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Signal Corps established and funded hundreds of industry contracts with transistor companies to assure availability of specific transistor types meeting military procurement requirements. Joining the Signal Corps in 1948 (the same year as the public announcement of the invention of the transistor by Bell Labs), Bernie was actively involved in the important and historic work with early transistor development accomplished by the Signal Corps. His personal recollections about these exciting times make for enjoyable and informative reading.
Curator’s Update 8-22-2012: With this most recent update, we sadly document the passing of another “great” who made a substantial and enduring contribution to the modern world of semiconductors. Mr. Hans Camenzind passed away on August 15, 2012, and will long be remembered as the inventor of the legendary 555 Timer IC chip. We have provided links to many aspects of this historic work important work, including the 2004 Transistor Museum Interview which provides text, pictures and audio clips.
Curator’s Update 7-10-2011: We are still working on cleaning up the remaining broken links on this page. Some of the material here was first developed and placed on the web in 2001, and that’s ancient history given the changes with internet technology over the past decade. If you find a link that no longer works, and have a resulting comment or question regarding a specific transistor history topic, just let us know and we’ll do our best to respond. Also, we haven’t been able to keep up with all the emails from museum visitors - please accept our apologies and know that the museum continues to grow and we have plans for a greatly expanded and re-organized site in the future. Please forward your comments directly to Jack Ward, the Museum Curator, at: email@example.com
Curator’s Update 8-24-2009: With this update, the Museum is very pleased to feature the Norman Krim Historic Profile. As many Museum visitors already know, Norm is the man responsible for the introduction of the beloved Raytheon CK722 germanium hobbyist transistor in 1953. You can read and hear about Norm’s remarkable achievements by accessing the above Historic Profile.
We’ve also made an effort with this webpage revision to review and update all the web links referenced on this homepage. Several important links were no longer current, so we wanted to ensure these had been corrected.
Finally, I want to thank all the Transistor Museum visitors who have taken the time to email me with positive and supportive comments about this site. With over 100,000 visits a year, the Transistor Museum continues to provide a unique and frequently referenced repository of historical information and personal reflections that likely would not otherwise be available. Check back often as the Transistor Museum continues to expand.
USE THESE LINKS TO VIEW MORE TRANSISTOR HISTORY
“HISTORIC PROFILES - RECOGNIZING SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS
TO 20TH CENTURY SEMICONDUCTOR HISTORY AND TECHNOLOGY”
In tribute to Mr. Hans Camenzind, who died on August 15, 2012
Here is the Transistor Museum Memorial Commentary
Here is the Original 2004 Transistor Museum Oral History
Here are Audio Clips of the 2004 Transistor Museum Interview
with Hans Camenzind
In tribute to Mr. Norman Krim, who recently passed away at the age of 98:
Here is the Original Transistor Museum Historic Profile
Here are Audio Clips of the Transistor Museum Interview
with Mr. Krim in 2000
Here is a New CK722 Adventure of Carl and Jerry, Re-Imagined from 1953
Here is the March 2003 IEEE Spectrum Article by Harry Goldstein
about Norman Krim and his Pioneering Work at Raytheon
RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY TRANSISTOR RADIO
ZENITH RADIO CORPORATION
THE TRANS-AIRE RADIO STORY:
A 1950s/60s U.S. COMPANY MAKES GOOD USE OF THOUSANDS OF REJECT TRANSISTORS FROM RAYTHEON, GE AND FAIRCHILD
EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY
An Interview with Ralph Greenburg
Historic Motorola Semiconductor Devices and Applications
During a 40 year career with Motorola semiconductors, Ralph Greenburg first became involved with transistor technology during the mid 1950s at a time when hand-made prototype germanium devices were all that was available. He participated in the development of the first transistor applications at Motorola and was an editor and key contributor to several of the highly successful Semiconductor Handbooks published by Motorola in the 1960s and 1970s. Ralph held senior technical and management positions in the Motorola Semiconductor Applications groups and wrote numerous technical publications on early transistor technology. This Oral History provides a truly unique insight into the early days of transistor history and Ralph’s ability to communicate in a cogent and entertaining manner ensures you’ll enjoy this important account of early semiconductor technology.
You’ll also read (and hear) the details of the development of the now-standard TO-3 “diamond shaped” power transistor case style, a first for Motorola in 1955 and since used to manufacture billions of devices.
THE FIRST TRANSISTORS
Personal Reflections by the Designer of the Cosmic Ray Instrumentation Package for the Explorer I Satellite
Explorer I, the first U.S. earth satellite, was successfully launched on February 1, 1958 (0348 Greenwich Mean Time) from the Cape Canaveral missile center. The cosmic ray instrumentation package on this satellite was designed by Dr. George Ludwig, who was studying at that time at the University of Iowa in the Cosmic Ray Lab under the guidance of Dr. James Van Allen. The Explorer I instrumentation payload used transistor electronics, consisting of both germanium and silicon devices. This was a very early timeframe in the development of transistor technology, and represents the first documented use of transistors in the U.S. earth satellite program. In this Oral History, Dr. Ludwig provides a very informative and highly readable account of the transistor electronics carried aloft in the Explorer I satellite, and the details of Dr. Ludwig’s work with these early semiconductor devices provides a truly unique perspective on these historic events. In addition to the historic use of transistors, the Explorer satellite instrumentation package achieved another major scientific breakthrough – the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts.
THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM™
IS EXPANDING – WHAT’S NEW!
RECENT FAVORITE MUSEUM ARTICLES:
RECENT FAVORITE LINKS – RESOURCES:
OF THE 2N2222
The Most Successful and Widely Used Transistor Ever Developed!
Since its initial product launch by Motorola at the 1962 IRE Convention, the 2N2222 has become the most widely used and universally recognized transistor of all time. Billions of units have been manufactured over the past 45 years and there is continuing high volume annual production. Whether you are an engineer, experimenter, educator or amateur radio enthusiast, if you have built a transistorized project over the past 45 years, then you have likely encountered the ubiquitous 2N2222 – the “universal transistor”. This Oral History will highlight the personal recollections of Jack Haenichen, whose pioneering work at Motorola in the early 1960s contributed to the fundamental device and process breakthroughs that were key to the phenomenal success of the 2N2222 and related silicon transistors.
Learn More About Motorola
Early Silicon Transistors!
Wilf Corrigan Oral History
Wilf Corrigan’s career in the semiconductor industry has spanned over four decades, beginning in 1960 with his first post-college job as a transistor production engineer at Transitron. During the following 45+ years, Wilf has been a technology innovator and semiconductor industry CEO. He has been directly associated with several of the world’s premier transistor and IC companies and his impact on the history of semiconductors has been substantial. This Oral History will highlight Wilf’s involvement with the legendary Motorola 1960s silicon transistor program, which was a major milestone in the history of transistor technology.
BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE LINKS HIGHLIGHTED BELOW FOR ADDITIONAL TRANSISTOR AND SEMICONDUCTOR ORAL HISTORIES.
Over 60 Historic Types Shown. Check This Section Often for Frequent Updates.
The Museum’s most popular exhibit. Here you’ll find photographs and descriptions of unique and historic devices or applications relating to semiconductor history from the last century. Visit this exhibit to confirm identity of devices you have found or just spend a rainy afternoon browsing in the Gallery.
RECENT PHOTOGALLERY UPDATES!
When Explorer 1, the first U.S. earth satellite, was launched in February 1958, it carried aloft radiation detection circuitry designed by Dr. George Ludwig – he used the newly released TI 2N335 silicon grown junction transistor type for this unique and demanding application.
One of the first documented large scale military uses of transistors was the Polaris missile program, which was initiated in 1956. The initial versions of guidance computer used discrete transistor components, such as the R212. This high reliability germanium device was supplied to the Polaris program by TI throughout the 1960s.
Learn about the first commercial transistors manufactured by Western Electric in the 1950s. These are historic devices and represent an important aspect of early transistor history.
Although germanium transistor technology was largely replaced by silicon in the 1960s, the diffused base germanium mesa type, developed in the late 1950s, was one of the best high frequency performers for many years. Motorola and TI were the leaders in this technology – the Motorola 2N705 was one of the most commercially successful devices of this type.
Walter H. MacWilliams enjoyed a distinguished 36 year career with Bell Labs, beginning in 1946 at Murray Hill working on the Mark 65 program, which was a broad-based study of the defense of a combatant ship against a coordinated air attack. It was during this work that Walter began experimenting with the newly invented transistor to determine the suitability of this device as a practical circuit element. His development of the Transistor Gating Matrix in 1949 is credited as being the first working transistor application. You’ll discover the details of this unique story and hear Walter’s comments about using the first transistors at Bell Labs.
MORE NOTABLE GE TRANSISTOR HISTORY: Carl David Todd has been involved with transistor engineering since the earliest days of this technology. Carl’s first exposure to transistors was in 1949 as a high school student when he built a working point contact transistor. He entered and won a prize in the 1954 Raytheon CK722 Transistor Applications Contest, and was personally involved in the development of the famous 2N107 hobbyist transistor when he worked for GE in the mid 1950s. Read Carl’s Oral History for a first hand account of his historic work with the first transistors.
Photo Essays of Historic Transistors. More Detail, Text, Commentary and References to Historic Semiconductors.
Use These Links to Learn More.
(Starting in 1955, Raytheon Produced a Series of Iridescent, Bright Blue Germanium Transistors. See All the Variations, Model Numbers and History)
(A Truly Unique, Historic and Short-Lived Technology. Developed in the Late 1950s at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories – the First “Silicon Valley” Semiconductor Company)
(Produced in 1948! The First Developmental Transistor)
(A Unique and Historic Early Transistor Technology)
(The First Junction Transistor!)
Bernard (Bob) Slade began his career in semiconductor technology in 1948 when he became the first RCA “transistor engineer”, and has made major contributions to the semiconductor field since that time. His early work at RCA led to the 1953 introduction of the 2N32 and 2N33 point contact transistors. Bob joined IBM in 1956 where he was responsible for establishing the first germanium transistor production facility for that company. He remained at IBM for 28 years and managed the computer semiconductor production transition from germanium alloy transistors to silicon integration. This Oral History provides an detailed look at Bob’s impressive contributions to early transistor history at RCA, including point contact transistor research and early germanium power transistor development.
During a 30+ year career at GE, Bill Gutzwiller made substantial contributions to the field of power semiconductor applications and devices, especially the silicon controlled rectifier (SCR) and the Triac. You’ll learn all about the development of these historic devices from Bill’s firsthand experiences and recollections. If you’ve designed an SCR or Triac circuit, studied these devices at school, or marveled at the wealth of material contained in any of the numerous volumes of the famous GE SCR manuals, then you’ve benefited from Bill’s work.
LEARNING ABOUT TRANSISTORS
The transistor was invented at Bell Labs in 1947 by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley. No other discovery in the last century has had such a profound impact on our modern lives. Initially viewed as a lab curiosity, transistor technology literally exploded in the 1950s and 1960s, generating billions of dollars in revenue and producing devices and applications which contribute in fundamental ways to modern society. Here are a few “basic numbers” which help to illustrate the importance of transistors:
There are over 50 million transistors on a single current microprocessor chip. (The Intel® P4 has 55 million transistors).
This yields an estimate of many billions of transistors produced every day, just in processor chips alone.
That means that there are many millions of transistors for every person in the world today!!
Without transistors, there would not have been a space program.
Without transistors, there would be no “home computers”.
Here are some recently quoted “Transistor Facts” which really illustrate the continued importance and technological advances of transistor technology. The comments are attributed to Mr. Gordon Moore, Intel’s Chairman Emeritus, and reported in the Feb 13th, 2003 Wall Street Journal :
“Consumers typically can buy 50 million transistors for a dollar on some memory chips. It really is a spectacular industry”.
“The current number of transistors the (semiconductor) industry churns out each year is 10 to the 18th power, or
1,000,000,000,000,000,000, a figure sometimes expressed as one quintillion.”
This is only a partial list, but the staggering importance of the transistor is undeniable. It is hard to imagine modern life without this technology. You’ll also discover that the insight, dedication and technological genius of thousands of engineers and scientists over the past fifty years contributes to a “story” that is worthy of a museum and will provide countless hours of enjoyment and education to visitors of the Transistor Museum.
HERE IS A NEW TRANSISTORMUSEUM™ FEATURE –
USE THIS LINK TO SEE THE TRANSISTORMUSEUM™ FEATURED IN THE MARCH 2003 IEEE
(Updated – April 2009)
If you’re a transistor historian, engineer or experimenter, and are interested in researching and building transistor circuits and projects from the 1950s and 1960s, then be sure to visit the expanded Museum Store. We are now offering classic semiconductors (germanium alloy transistors, Surface Barrier transistors, hard-to-find point contact transistors, and early RTL ICs) to make it possible to reconstruct those historic projects from the early days of transistor and IC development. All supplied with research documentation.
See All the Many Unique and Historic Semiconductors Available Only From the TransistorMuseum. Below are a few of the Recent Additions to the Museum Store.
WECO Classic Germanium NPN Grown
Tested & Working Examples of 1950s Transistors.
Point Contact Transistor
Vintage 1950s – 1960s
Experiment with the First Transistor Technology!
Sylvania 1N34A and Raytheon CK705/1N66
Point Contact Germanium Diodes.
Experiment with 1950s Hobbyist Technology.
Germanium PNP Alloy Junction Transistor
GE Classic “Top- Hat” Styles from the 1950s & 1960s.
A new Museum Donations area has been established to archive the collection of historic items that have been donated to the TransistorMuseum. Thanks to the donors for helping to preserve these truly unique artifacts of transistor history. Use this link to visit the ever-expanding list of donations:
In addition, some recent unique donations are shown below.
Germanium PNP Alloy Junction, serial# A-5043
Germanium Point Contact Transistors
Left: Westinghouse WX3347
Middle: CBS PT-2A
Right: RCA TA-165
Early Production Germanium Transistors
Right: GE Type ZJ3-1 PNP Alloy Junction
Historic Prototype and Early Production Germanium Transistors
Donated by: Dave Larson
Transistor technology was evolving rapidly in the 1950s, and many companies developed intriguing experimental and prototype devices as the design and manufacturing technologies matured. The transistors shown above are historically interesting devices that provide an excellent overview of the widely varied case styles and construction technologies of the very early production and prototype processes. Many thanks to Dave Larson for the generous donation to the museum of these transistors (and a number of other related devices). Dave also provided these comments: “Thanks for the info. I am glad they are in a safe place where they will be archived for future generations to enjoy! As far as the reference to the donor. Please put them in memory of my father Meyer H. Axler, who worked on early transistor development projects at Bell Labs and Baird Atomic. I am looking forward to seeing them on the virtual museum. Thanks for all you are doing on behalf of early research scientists like my father.”
Early Germanium Transistors from Japan
Vintage: Late 1950s
Donated by: Masahiro Nakahori
These three transistors in the photo have been donated to the TransistorMuseum by Masahiro Nakahori. Mr. Nakahori is a Japanese engineer with a strong interest in transistor history and has developed an extensive collection of these unique devices. Sony was the first Japanese company to purchase a license to manufacture transistors from Western Electric, beginning in the mid 1950s. The Sony 2T76 shown in the photo is from 1957 and illustrates the case style and color used by Sony for its original commercial transistors. The Sony 2T76 and the NEC ST161 are NPN grown junction types equivalent to the American TI 2N147 – used in early radios as an IF amplifier. The Hitachi HJ17D is a PNP alloy junction type, equivalent to an RCA 2N217.
Shockley 4 Layer Transistor Diodes
Vintage: Late 1950s
Donated by: Ludwell Sibley
In 1956, William Shockley established the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories at 391 South Antonio Road in Palo Alto, Ca. This was the first semiconductor company established in what would later be known as Silicon Valley. Shockley’s primary product was the 4 layer diode, also known as the Shockley diode or the transistor diode. Samples of these 45+ year old devices, shown in the photo above, have recently been donated by Ludwell Sibley. Lud is quite well known as an authority/collector of vacuum tubes, and has been kind enough to provide these solid state devices to the museum. Use the two links below to learn more about Lud’s work, and also to learn more about Shockley diodes.
Signetics NE555 Integrated Circuit Prototypes
Donated by: Hans Camenzind
The 555 timer IC is the most successful integrated circuit yet designed, as measured by the number of units sold (billions) and the longevity of the original design (unchanged since 1971). The devices in the above photo are working prototypes from the initial pilot run at Signetics in 1971, and have been donated to the museum by Hans Camenzind – the designer of the historic 555 integrated circuit. You’ll learn all the details about the design and development of this unique IC in the Hans Camenzind Oral History.
Soviet Type C2A Germanium Point Contact Transistor
Donated by: Nikolai Pavlov
Commercial Soviet transistors became available in the mid 1950s. These first devices were germanium, and represented both of the major types of transistors available worldwide at the time – junction and point contact. The point contact type quickly became obsolete and limited numbers were manufactured. Above is a 1957 type C2A Soviet point contact transistor, shown next to a classic Western Electric A1729 point contact transistor from the early 1950s. Early Soviet transistor development is poorly documented in the West, and devices of this type are very rare.
Hughes Experimental Germanium
Coaxial Point Contact Transistors
Donated by: Sanford Barnes
These devices are very historic, and are the earliest examples of transistors currently on display at the museum. In 1949 Mr. Sanford Barnes began work at Hughes Aircraft as an engineer in the newly formed transistor development group. His assignment was to investigate the potential for the use of transistor technology in Hughes’ aircraft applications. These four devices were made by Mr. Barnes in an effort to evaluate the suitability of coaxial, or opposed surface, point contact transistors which had been recently developed at Bell Labs. You can read about this pioneering work in the Sanford Barnes Oral History.
Motorola Germanium Prototypes
Vintage: Early to Mid 1950s
Donated by: Craig Carter
Motorola became a dominant transistor manufacturer in the late 1950s, with primary success related to germanium power transistor devices, such as the 2N176, intended for use in the rapidly expanding automobile radio market. Prior to large scale commercialization, Motorola engineers developed experimental prototype devices, two of which are shown above. The larger blue transistor is a five watt experimental germanium power transistor from 1955. The smaller device is an EP-7 experimental point contact transistor, likely developed in the early 1950s as Motorola first began investigating the new transistor technology. Thanks to Craig Carter for making these unique and historic semiconductors available to the museum. You can learn more about these devices through these links:
Delco Germanium Power Transistor
Donated by: Ray Brack
Beginning in the mid 1950s, Delco established an active transistor program. This effort resulted in the production of millions of germanium transistors, primarily intended for the automobile radio market. Most notable were germanium power transistors designed for car radio audio output – as shown above, the quantity of this type of transistor manufactured by Delco reached 25 million in 1963. Many thanks to Ray Brack for donating this unique device. Ray has been active in the designing and repairing electronic equipment for many years, and he has been saving the device shown above for a long time, hoping to find an appropriate museum. You can find examples of Ray’s recent electronic design work at his homepage:
General Transistor Company – GT66, 2N318
Germanium Photo Transistor
Donated by: Dennis Uhlich
General Transistor Corporation was a premier manufacturer of germanium alloy junction transistors in the latter part of the 1950s. The company was founded by engineers and managers who had originally been associated with another early transistor manufacturer, Radio Receptor. One of the most unique and historic germanium transistor devices was the photo transistor, and General Transistor was a primary supplier, with the product sold initially as the GT66 and later as the 2N318. This device is very similar to the Radio Receptor RR66 photo transistor. The above device (note date code of 1956, week 52) has been donated to the TransistorMuseum by Dennis Uhlich, who was convinced that this was a unique device, although there wasn’t much research information available on the internet. Dennis’ contribution included the device, along with a comprehensive data sheet. You can learn more about the history of this type of phototransistor with these links:
If you’re handy with a soldering iron and have some basic tools, then take a look at these following unique construction projects for details on building a number of very interesting and historically documented devices and applications. Great fun!
An Audio Amplifier Designed by Gerry Friton Using 50 Year Old Point Contact Transistors!
Get Ready for the 50th Anniversary of the Raytheon CK722 Transistor with these Two Construction Projects!
A Modern Reconstruction of One of the First Transistorized Kits from the 1950s – Build Your Own!
Germanium Transistor Audio Amplifier
Historic Construction Project.
Based on a 1956 Design by Paul Penfield Jr.
HISTORIC CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS:
UNIQUE BOOKS ON TRANSISTOR HISTORY – AVAILABLE ONLY AT TRANSISTORMUSEUM.
by Jack Ward
If You Were an Electronics Hobbyist in the 1950s and 1960s,
then You’ll Thoroughly Enjoy This Exciting New Book.
by Ed Millis
This New Book is Immensely Entertaining and Tells
the Story of Early Transistor Development at Texas Instruments.
All the Info and Historic Detail You’ll Need to Reconstruct These Historic 1950s Transistor Kits.
IMPORTANT ORAL HISTORIES FROM PAST INTERVIEWS
DOCUMENTING IMPORTANT TRANSISTOR HISTORIC CONTRIBUTIONS
During the 1950s and 1960s, there were a handful of companies which made major contributions to the development of the transistor. Use the links below to visit Transistor Museum exhibits constructed to document these historic activities. You’ll find Oral Histories from many of the scientists and engineers who implemented these important early transistor programs. You’ll also find detailed information regarding early transistor literature and descriptions of the major semiconductor advances made at these companies.
USE THESE LINKS TO FIND DOZENS OF DETAILED AND INTERESTING ORAL HISTORIES FROM PIONEERS IN TRANSISTOR DEVELOPMENT.
Shockley Transistor Lab
There has been a substantial level of interest in the history of transistors over the past few years, and much of this material can be found on the “web”. In the Resource Room, you’ll find a listing of current websites and organizations which are associated with this topic.
VISIT THESE EXCELLENT SITES DEDICATED TO THE HISTORY OF TRANSISTORS:
Andrew’s website on early transistor devices and history is without a doubt the best known and widely visited site on this topic. Andrew (“Mr. Transistor”) continues to be a pioneer in documenting early transistors and continues to expand his website.
Bob McGarrah’s website is indispensable for those interested in early transistor history. Bob is a superb photographer, and his website hosts the best photographs on this topic that can be found anywhere. You’ll also enjoy Bob’s text and research information.
Masahiro has created an unparalleled photographic display of early transistor types, including devices from Japan, Europe and the U.S.
Don has created a wonderful website with definitive information on the Regency TR-1 radio, and related transistor history. Great links, photos and commentary.
Another phenominal site for the 1st commercial transistor radio, the Regency TR1. Steve has been actively documenting the TR1 for many years and his excellent work has been recognized internationally.
Unique “Build Your Own” site. Pete has researched and written several intriguing books on how to build your own semiconductor devices, including diodes and transistors. I highly recommend “Instruments of Amplification”.
Terrific site dedicated to Bell System history, including transistors.
Transistor radios and Oral histories. Sarah has developed an unbelievable collection of transistor radios.
The best site for early Japanese radios. Alan has developed a very impressive site, with excellent photography and detailed research.
Lots of research and links. This site is probably the most comprehensive commercial site on this topic, with a very broad range of coverage and links to other sites.
Discussion of transistor theory. William’s site is very popular.
Terrific site for transistor radios, parts and access to information not easily found on other transistor radio sites. Ron has continued to expand his site, and a visit to his site is highly recommended.
Kirt has created the premier website for electrical engineers. There is a wealth of engineering related material and hundreds of useful links. This site is a real asset to electrical engineering technology.
Eric has developed a set of unique photographic booklets covering many early transistor and diode radios.
Jan has recently added a vintage transistor and diode section to his webpage, and this is worth a visit – many great photos and links to other related sites.
Clive (Max) Maxfield and Alvin Brown have developed one of the “coolest” technology sites around. The sections on early electronic calculator/computer history provide good coverage of transistors. This is a great site!
ATTEND All THESE INFORMATIVE HISTORIC LECTURES:
Shockley Transistor Corporation Is Often Cited as the First High-Tech Company in Silicon Valley. Gene Weckler Describes His Experiences with STC in the late 1950s and Provides Technical Comments on the Famous 4-layer Shockley Transistor Diode.
Mr. Dwight V. Jones Was a Major Contributor to the Transistor Audio Sections in the Historic GE Transistor Manuals of the 1950s and 1960s. Read His Oral History for a First-Hand Account of the First 20 Years of Transistor Audio Technology.
An Oral History by Sanford Barnes Discussing His 50+ Year Career in the Semiconductor Industry, at Such Companies as Hughes, PSI and TRW.
An Oral History by Professor Neville Fletcher Discussing His Pioneering Work on Early Germanium Power Transistor Development at Clevite Transistor Products.
MR. RUDI HERZOG:
The history of transistor development in the US has been widely documented, but parallel and equally historic developments in Germany are less well known. Mr. Rudi Herzog provides a well written account of these important events in this lecture.
DR. ADOLPH BLICHER:
MR. ART ROSSOFF:
MR. BOB MENDELSON:
MR. MAC McBRIDE:
MS. MARY ANNE POTTER:
MR. WILLIAM BROWER:
DR. PETE PIETENPOL:
MR. THOMAS STANLEY:
Added in March 2003
The 50th Anniversary of the
Most Famous Transistor Ever Made –
The RAYTHEON CK722
Visit Our “Sister” Website, Dedicated Entirely to the CK722:
THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM ALWAYS WELCOMES COMMENTS AND WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM OTHERS WHO SHARE AN INTEREST IN THIS HISTORIC TECHNOLOGY.
SEND COMMENTS TO:
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CONTRIBUTING AN ORAL HISTORY OR MAKING A DONATION OF DOCUMENTATION OR DEVICES, I’D BE VERY INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH YOU TO PRESERVE THIS MARVELOUS TECHNOLOGY.
Did You Know?
Texas Instruments was the First Company to Commercialize Silicon Transistors.
The first transistors developed and sold were based on germanium. At this time (late 1940s through the mid 1950s) both germanium and silicon were used in the manufacture of diodes, but it was germanium that provided the basis for the discovery and fabrication of the earliest transistors. Large scale production of germanium transistors was in place by 1952/1953 by such companies as Raytheon, GE, RCA and Western Electric. It was recognized that silicon transistors would be superior, due to the ability of silicon-based devices to operate over a much greater temperature range than germanium devices. Both Texas Instruments and Bell Labs established programs to develop the technology necessary to fabricate silicon transistors, and both efforts were successful. TI was first to the market with the May 10, 1954 announcement of the 900 series of silicon grown junction transistors. You can learn more about the first silicon transistors through the IEEE link below:
Texas Instruments was the primary manufacturer of silicon transistors in the 1950s. TI sold millions of these devices at premium prices to the military (where high temperature performance was required). The 900 series was first announced by TI in 1954, and was extremely successful. The type 905 shown above (in the center of the photo) has a date code of 533 – 1955, week 33. These early devices sold for over $50 each. The type 2N1152 shown to the right is the 905 equivalent, as was sold almost a decade later; date code 308 – 1963, week 8. The 2N117 (shown to the left in the photo) is another of the silicon grown junction transistors developed by TI in the 1950s. Starting in 1957, this type was the first silicon transistor to be qualified and approved for use by the US Navy (note the USN stamp on the case).
Selected Oral Histories and Lectures Contain Audio Clips from the Engineers and Scientists Who Made Transistor Technology Possible. Look for the Historic Audio Icon to Listen to the Actual Voices of These Historic Contributors.
Copyright © 2002-2012 by Jack Ward