WELCOME TO THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM™

Dedicated to Preserving the History of the Greatest Invention of the 20th Century

LAST UPDATED AUGUST 15, 2014. CHECK BACK OFTEN!

 

A NEW DONATION AND PHOTO ESSAY OF A UNIQUE COLLECTION OF

HISTORIC 1950s GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS

HISTORIC 1950s GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS

FROM JONATHAN HOPPE

 

 

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

WESTERN ELECTRIC GA-53233 AND GF-45011 1950s VANGUARD TRANSISTORS

 

 

HERE IS A NEW HISTORIC TRANSISTOR DONATION

HISTORIC 1950s MARVELCO J-2 GERMANIUM ALLOY JUNCTION TRANSISTOR

FROM ROBERT CRUZ

 

 

 

 

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!

 

BERNARD REICH – CHIEF OF DEVICE ENGINEERING FOR THE U.S. ARMY SIGNAL CORPS

IN THE 1950s/1960s.  IN THIS PROFILE, BERNIE RECOUNTS HIS WORK WITH EARLY HISTORIC TRANSISTORS DEVELOPED TO MEET THE EMERGING MILITARY PROCURMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR THIS NEW AND EXCITING TECNOLOGY 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHOWN BELOW ARE LINKS TO RECENT INFORMATION

 DEVELOPED AT THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM

 

 

READ ABOUT EARLY GERMANIUM HOBBYIST TRANSISTORS

IN A NEW TRANSISTOR MUSEUM SERIES

“HISTORY OF TRANSISTORS VOLUME 1”

THE FIRST GERMANIUM HOBBYIST TRANSISTORS

 

 

LEARN ABOUT EARLY GERMANIUM DIODES

IN A NEW COMPANION SERIES

“HISTORY OF CRYSTAL DIODES VOLUME 1”

1950s GERMANIUM RADIO DETECTORS

 

 

BE SURE TO VISIT THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM STORE

TO SEE MANY UNIQUE AND HISTORIC SEMICONDUCTORS

AND ORIGINAL PUBLICATIONS FROM THE MUSEUM

TRANSISTOR MUSEUM STORE

 

SEE THE NEWLY ADDED TRANSITRON 2N343

HISTORIC SILCON POWER TRANSISTOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MUSEUM’S MOST POPULAR EXHIBIT

THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM PHOTOGALLERY

OVER 60 HISTORIC TYPES SHOWN

  ALWAYS EXPANDING, SO CHECK BACK OFTEN

 

 

HERE IS A NEW HISTORIC TRANSISTOR DONATION

HISTORIC 1951 RAYTHEON CK716 POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR

FROM BOB VARGA

 

 

BE SURE TO SCAN COMPLETELY DOWN THIS

 TRANSISTOR MUSEUM HOME PAGE.

YOU’LL FIND HUNDREDS OF LINKS, PHOTOS, ORAL HISTORIES AND AUDIO CLIPS DEVELOPED AT THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM SINCE 2001

Dedicated to Preserving the History

 of the Greatest Invention of the 20th Century

 

 

 

 

 

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. ransistor Museum Interview which provides text, pictures and audio clips.  inconductors. 

 

 

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: transistormuseum@aol.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”

 

 

DAVID BAKALAR – FOUNDING THE HISTORIC SEMICONDUCTOR COMPANY “TRANSITRON”

IN 1952 AND PRODUCING MILLIONS

OF GERMANIUM AND SILICON DIODES AND TRANSISTORS

 

 

LEN BUCKWALTER - AUTHOR OF CLASSIC TRANSISTOR BOOKS AND ARTICLES

 

 

GUS FALLGREN (W1OG) - AL HANKINSON (KC3QU) - DICK WRIGHT (W1UC)

THE FIRST "TRANSISTOR POWERED" TRANS-ATLANTIC AMATEUR RADIO CONTACT

 

 

RICHARD S. BURWEN – PIONEER IN TRANSISTOR HI-FI AUDIO

 

 

 

In tribute to Mr. Hans Camenzind, who died on August 15, 2012

Here is the Transistor Museum Memorial Commentary

HANS CAMENZIND MEMORIAL COMMENTARY

 

Here is the Original 2004 Transistor Museum Oral History

HANS CAMENZIND - THE INVENTOR OF THE LEGENDARY 555 TIMER IC

 

Here are Audio Clips of the 2004 Transistor Museum Interview

with Hans Camenzind

HANS CAMENZIND AUDIO CLIPS FROM 2004 INTERVIEW

 

 

 

In tribute to Mr. Norman Krim, who recently passed away at the age of 98:

Here is the Original Transistor Museum Historic Profile

NORMAN KRIM - THE FATHER OF THE CK722 TRANSISTOR

 

Here are Audio Clips of the Transistor Museum Interview

 with Mr. Krim in 2000

NORMAN KRIM AUDIO CLIPS FROM 2000 INTERVIEW

 

 

Here is a New CK722 Adventure of Carl and Jerry, Re-Imagined from 1953 

CARL AND JERRY WITH THEIR FIRST CK722

 

 

 Here is the March 2003 IEEE Spectrum Article by Harry Goldstein

about Norman Krim and his Pioneering Work at Raytheon

IEEE SPECTRUM - THE IRRESISTABLE TRANSISTOR

 

 

RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY TRANSISTOR RADIO

TECHNOLOGY AT

ZENITH RADIO CORPORATION

 

A TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH RAY ANDREJASICH

 

 

THE TRANS-AIRE RADIO STORY:

A 1950s/60s U.S. COMPANY MAKES GOOD USE OF THOUSANDS OF REJECT TRANSISTORS FROM RAYTHEON, GE AND FAIRCHILD

 

A TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH JOE D'AIRO

 

EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY

 AT MOTOROLA

An Interview with Ralph Greenburg

 Historic Motorola Semiconductor Devices 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.

 

(Link to Ralph Greenburg Oral History)

 

THE FIRST TRANSISTORS

 IN SPACE

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.

 

(Link to Dr. George Ludwig Oral History)

 

 

THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM™

IS EXPANDING – WHAT’S NEW!

 

RECENT FAVORITE MUSEUM ARTICLES:

 

A SURVEY OF EARLY POWER TRANSISTORS by Joe A. Knight.

Joe A. Knight has developed a unique and historically significant survey of early power transistors.   Joe’s knowledge and photographic documentation of this important topic are unparalleled - the development of the first germanium power transistors in the 1950s is a major milestone in transistor history, and you won’t find a more thorough and comprehensive coverage of this important technology.  Visit now, and check back often, as Joe plans on providing additional research.

 

RECENT FAVORITE LINKS – RESOURCES:

 

BOB MCGARRAH

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 excellent and detailed transistor research and very readable commentary.

 

“MICHAEL RAINEY - A HISTORIC RADIOMAN”

Mike has created a most interesting blog, where he has documented his recent work in designing, constructing and operating unique amateur receivers and transmitters, all based on historically significant semiconductors such as point contact transistors, tunnel diodes, and early germanium and silicon transistors.  Whether you are a radio “ham” or not, you’ll be fascinated by Mike’s technical prowess, his descriptive text and his well constructed website.  

 

“MARK PD BURGESS - TRANSISTOR HISTORY”

Mark’s site, developed to document Transistor History, is an excellent resource on this topic.  He has conducted detailed and original research on a number of important transistor types and early companies and, importantly, this work is presented in a very readable style.  Mark’s website is a “must-visit” for those interested in transistor history.

 

 "COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM"

If you travel to the Bay Area, you should make every effort to visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Ca – the Heart of Silicon Valley.  In addition, the website maintained by this world class museum is an unparalleled resource for those interested in early transistor history.  You can spend many hours viewing the important historical material available on this site. 

 

“HISTORY OF SEMICONDUCTOR ENGINEERING” by Bo Lojek.

Dr. Lojek’s recently published book is a “Must-Read” for anyone interested in the history of semiconductors.  Beginning with a detailed view of the seminal Bell Labs semiconductor research activities in the 1940s, Bo provides a compelling account of the important events and discoveries that shaped semiconductor progress over the ensuing three decades. In addition, this book provides an extensive and well–researched roster of many of the key contributors to semiconductor history.

 

“INSTRUMENTS OF AMPLIFICATION”  by Pete Friedrichs.

Pete Friedrichs is a modern day semiconductor Renaissance Man.  His most recent book, “Instruments Of Amplification – Fun with Homemade Tubes, Transistors and More” provides a very enjoyable account (with excellent “hands-on” instructions) for those who want the satisfaction of constructing their own transistor. Yes, that’s right – detailed instructions for building either a point contact or junction transistor!  Definitely worth a visit.  See Pete’s homepage for information on his other work.  

 

THE DEVELOPMENT

 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. 

 

(Link to Jack Haenichen Oral History)

 

 

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.

 

(Link to Wilf Corrigan Oral History)

(Personal Recollections of Motorola’s Pioneering 1960s Silicon Transistor Development  Program)

 

 

BE SURE TO FOLLOW THE LINKS HIGHLIGHTED BELOW FOR ADDITIONAL TRANSISTOR AND SEMICONDUCTOR ORAL HISTORIES.

 

PHOTOGALLERY

 

NOW EXPANDED!

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.

 

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RECENT PHOTOGALLERY UPDATES!

 

LINK TO TI 2N335

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.

 

 

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS R212 (Polaris Missile Transistor)

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.

 

2N27           2N29           2N110

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. 

 

 

LINK TO MOTOROLA 2N705

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.

 

(Link to Walter MacWilliams Oral History)

(The First "Working" Transistor Application)

 

 

 

 

 

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.    

(Link to Carl David Todd Oral History)

(Recollections from the First Days of Transistors)

(Point Contact, CK722 and 2N107)

 

 

NEW!

 

Photo Essays of Historic Transistors.  More Detail, Text, Commentary and References to Historic Semiconductors.

Use These Links to Learn More.

 

 

LINK TO "RAYTHEON BLUES"

(Starting in 1955, Raytheon Produced a Series of Iridescent, Bright Blue Germanium Transistors.  See All the Variations, Model Numbers and History)

 

 

 

LINK TO SHOCKLEY (4 LAYER) DIODES

(A Truly Unique, Historic and Short-Lived Technology.   Developed in the Late 1950s at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratories – the First “Silicon Valley” Semiconductor Company)

 

 

LINK TO BELL LABS "TYPE A" Point Contact

(Produced in 1948!  The First Developmental Transistor)

 

 

 

 

LINK TO BELL LABS "BEAD TYPE" Point Contact

(A Unique and Historic Early Transistor Technology)

 

 

 

 

LINK TO BELL LABS TYPE M1752

(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. 

 

(Link to Bob Slade Oral History)

(The First RCA Transistors)

 

 

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. 

 

(Link to Bill Gutzwiller Oral History)

(The Development of the SCR and the Triac)

 

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 –

A Timeline of Historic Transistor Milestones

 

 

 

 

 

AND

 

USE THIS LINK TO SEE THE TRANSISTORMUSEUM™ FEATURED IN THE MARCH 2003 IEEE

SPECTRUM MAGAZINE:

“The Irresistible Transistor” 

 

 

 

TRANSISTOR MUSEUM STORE

(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.

 

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WECO Classic Germanium NPN Grown
Junction Transistors

Tested & Working Examples of 1950s Transistors.

Western Electric 2N27 2N29 Historic Germanium NPN Grown Junction Transistor

 

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Point Contact Transistor

Vintage 1950s – 1960s

Experiment with the First Transistor Technology!

Historic Western Electric 2N110  

Point Contact Transistor

 

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Sylvania 1N34A and Raytheon CK705/1N66

 Point Contact Germanium Diodes.

Experiment with 1950s Hobbyist Technology.

 Sylvania 1N34A & Raytheon CK705/1N66

1950s Hobbyist Germanium Diodes

 

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Germanium PNP Alloy Junction Transistor

GE Classic “Top- Hat” Styles from the 1950s & 1960s.

 

GE 2N43 2N44 2N45 Germanium

PNP Alloy Junction Transistor

 

 

LINK TO THE COMPLETE MUSEUM STORE

 

 

 

TRANSISTORMUSEUM DONATIONS

 

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:

LINK TO MUSEUM DONATIONS

 

In addition, some recent unique donations are shown below.

 

 

 

 

RCA TA-153 Developmental Transistor

 

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

 

Left: Western Electric 1858 NPN Grown Junction

Middle: Raytheon CK722 PNP Alloy Junction

Right: GE Type ZJ3-1 PNP Alloy Junction

 

Historic Prototype and Early Production Germanium Transistors

Vintage: 1952/1953

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.

 

Visit the TransistorMuseum Photo Gallery for More Info on the 2T76

 

Visit Masahiro’s Superb Historic Semiconductor Website 

 

 

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.  

http://www.tubecollectors.org/

LINK TO SHOCKLEY (4 LAYER) DIODES PHOTO ESSAY  

 

Signetics NE555 Integrated Circuit Prototypes

Vintage: 1971

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

Vintage: 1950s

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.

 

Visit Sergei Frolov’s Excellent Website

for Additional Information on Soviet Devices

 

 

Hughes Experimental Germanium

Coaxial Point Contact Transistors

Vintage: 1949

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:

 

Museum PhotoGallery Link to Motorola Germanium Power Prototype

Museum PhotoGallery Link to Motorola EP-7 Point Contact Transistor

 

Delco Germanium Power Transistor

Vintage: 1963

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:

 

Ray's Home Page

 

 

General Transistor Company – GT66, 2N318

Germanium Photo Transistor

Vintage: 1956

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:

Art Rossoff Oral History

Museum PhotoGallery Link to RR66 Phototransistor

 

 

 

 

 

PROJECTS

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!

(Point Contact Transistor Audio Amplifier)

 

*****

 

Get Ready for the 50th Anniversary of the Raytheon CK722 Transistor with these Two  Construction Projects!

"Blue Blinkie"  CK722

Flashing LED Circuit

 

&

 

CK722 50th Anniversary Radio

 

*****

 

 

 

A Modern Reconstruction of One of the First Transistorized Kits from the 1950s – Build Your Own!

(Valandy Code Oscillator Kit

Construction Project)

 

*****

 

 

Germanium Transistor Audio Amplifier

Historic Construction Project.

 Based on a 1956 Design by Paul Penfield Jr.

(Germanium Transistor Audio MiniAmp)

 

 

HISTORIC CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS:

 

THE MICRO “TO” KEYER REVISITED

Bill Jones, K8CU, built his first solid state “keyer” back in the late 1960s, based on a construction project that appeared in the August 1967 QST magazine.  Bill recently revisited that historic project and has documented the excitement and pleasure of working with 40 year old Fairchild RTL integrated circuits.  Visit Bill’s RTL project at the link above – you’ll enjoy the technical details and the historical context discussed in Bill’s highly readable project comments.

 

***************

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK STORE

 

UNIQUE BOOKS ON TRANSISTOR HISTORY – AVAILABLE ONLY AT TRANSISTORMUSEUM.

 

“The Story of the CK722”

by Jack Ward

If You Were an Electronics Hobbyist in the 1950s and 1960s,

 then You’ll Thoroughly Enjoy This Exciting New Book.

 

 

 

“TI, the Transistor and Me”

by Ed Millis

This New Book is Immensely Entertaining and Tells

 the Story of Early Transistor Development at Texas Instruments. 

 

 

 

TransistorMuseum Valandy Historic Transistor Kit Project Booklet

All the Info and Historic Detail You’ll Need to Reconstruct These Historic 1950s Transistor Kits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

General Electric

National Union

Radio Receptor

Raytheon CK722

RCA

Texas Instruments

 

Shockley Transistor Lab

(Coming Soon)

 

IMPORTANT ORAL HISTORIES FROM PAST INTERVIEWS

 

Homer Coonce joined Bell Labs in 1952, just at the time when the newly invented transistor was made available for research and development.  He worked for many years at Bell Labs, developing transistor logic and switching circuits.  Most notable was Homer’s work on the Flyable TRADIC computer, beginning in 1954.  The TRADIC project spanned most of the decade of the 1950s and is credited with establishing the transistor computer as a viable product.  In this Oral History, Homer recounts his work on two historic Bell Labs/Western Electric transistor computer applications – Flyable TRADIC and the Nike Zeus missile system.    

 

(Link to Homer Coonce Oral History)

(Recollections of the TRADIC Computer)

*****

Emitter Coupled Logic (ECL) has been the Standard for High Speed Bipolar Switching Logic Since the Late 1950s, when Hannon S. Yourke Developed this Pioneering Circuit Design at IBM.   Visit this New Oral History to Learn about the Beginnings of this Pervasive Technology.

 

(Link to Yourke Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

Jerry Herzog’s 30 Year Career in Semiconductors Began at RCA Labs in 1951, where he Developed Some of the First Applications for the Newly Emerging Transistor Technology. Most Notable was his Work with the First Transistor Television Receiver.  Jerry Provides Personal and Technical Commentary about this Historic Project, as well as Other Important Contributions, including the 1802 Microprocessor, in his Oral History.

(Link to Herzog Oral History)

*****

 

 

Professor H. C. Lin’s Contributions to the Field of Semiconductors Span 50 Years, Beginning with Transistor Applications Circuit Development at RCA in 1950.  His Major Contributions (including the Quasi Complementary Amplifier and the Lateral Transistor) are Documented in this Oral History. 

(Link to Lin Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

In the Late 1950s, Professor Paul Penfield Jr Wrote More Than 70 Articles Relating to Emerging Transistor Developments and Unique Construction Projects.   If You Were a Hobbyist, Experimenter or Technician in Those Early Days of Transistor History, You Probably Built a Penfield-Designed  Transistor Circuit. 

 

(Link to Penfield Oral History)

*****

 

The type 555 Integrated Circuit, produced initially by Signetics in 1972, is the most successful IC yet designed, with billions of units manufactured by multiple semiconductor companies over the past 30 years.  Hans Camenzind is the designer of this historic IC, and his Oral History offers real insight into the original 555 design and development process. In addition, Hans continues to be active as an analog IC designer and his comments on the changes in the IC design process since the 1970s are very informative and uniquely reflect the incredible amount of change that the semiconductor industry has seen. 

(Link to Hans Camenzind Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

 

Art Uhlir Jr was responsible for the development of the varactor diode at Bell Labs in the 1950s.  Over the past 50 years, this invention has become a major component of the semiconductor industry.  In the Oral History, Art describes his work with these diodes, as well as discussing the early days of transistor technology.  Art also highlights his pioneering work with porous silicon, which was conducted at Bell Labs in the 1950s, working along with his wife, Inge.

  

(Link to Uhlir Oral History)

*****

 

Originally known as the “double-base diode”, the unijunction transistor was invented at the General Electric Electronics Lab in Syracuse in the early 1950s.  This unique, single “pn” junction device became a very big seller for GE in the late 1950s and into the 1960s.  In this new Oral History, Professor Jerry Suran provides a first-hand account of his pioneering work over 50 years ago related to the development of the first unijunction transistor devices, patents and applications.   

 

(Link to Jerry Suran Oral History)

(The Development of the Unijunction Transistor)

*****

 

RESOURCE ROOM

 

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 Wylie

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. 

 

 

Masahiro Nakahori 

Masahiro has created an unparalleled photographic display of early transistor types, including devices from Japan, Europe and the U.S. 

 

Don Pies

Don has created a wonderful website with definitive information on the Regency TR-1 radio, and related transistor history.  Great links, photos and commentary.

 

 

Steve Reyer

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.  

 

 

Pete Friedrichs

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”.   

 

 

Bell System Memorial - Transistors

Terrific site dedicated to Bell System history, including transistors. 

 

 

Sarah Lowrey

Transistor radios and Oral histories.  Sarah has developed an unbelievable collection of transistor radios.

 

 

 

Alan Kastner

The best site for early Japanese radios.  Alan has developed a very impressive site, with excellent photography and detailed research.

 

 

 

PBS Transistor History

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.

 

 

 

William Beaty

Discussion of transistor theory.  William’s site is very popular.

 

 

 

 

 

Ron Mansfield

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 Blattenberger - RF Cafe

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 Wrobbel

Eric has developed a set of unique photographic booklets covering many early transistor and diode radios.

 

 

 

Jan de Groot

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.

 

 

DIY Calculator

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!

 

 

LECTURE HALL

 

NOW OPEN!!!.

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. 

(Link to Weckler Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

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.

(Link to Dwight Jones Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

An Oral History by Sanford Barnes Discussing His 50+ Year Career in the Semiconductor Industry, at Such Companies as Hughes, PSI and TRW.

(Link to Barnes Oral History)

*****

 

 

 

 

 

An Oral History by Professor Neville Fletcher Discussing His Pioneering Work on Early Germanium Power Transistor  Development at Clevite Transistor Products.

 

(Link to Fletcher Oral History)

*****

 

 

MR. RUDI HERZOG:

“The Early History of Transistors in Germany”

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:

“RCA Germanium Computer Transistors"

 

 

 

MR. ART ROSSOFF:

“1957 Transistor Electronics - Early Historic Text"

 

 

 

MR. BOB MENDELSON:

“RCA Nuvistor Tubes and RCA Transistors”

 

 

 

 

 

 

MR. MAC McBRIDE:

“A Watchmaker Uses His

 Skills to Make

 Point Contact Transistors”

 

 

MS. MARY ANNE POTTER:

“Early Integrated Circuit Process Engineering at Texas Instruments”

 

 

MR. WILLIAM BROWER:

“The Art and Science of  Building the First Commercial Silicon Grown Junction Transistors”

 

 

 

DR. PETE PIETENPOL:

“The First Junction Transistors”    

 

 

 

MR. THOMAS STANLEY:

“The First RCA Transistor Radios”

 

 

Added in March 2003

The RAYTHEON CK722

Visit Our “Sister” Website, Dedicated Entirely to the CK722:

http//www.ck722.com

 

 

THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM ALWAYS WELCOMES COMMENTS AND WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM OTHERS WHO SHARE AN INTEREST IN THIS HISTORIC TECHNOLOGY.

  SEND COMMENTS TO:

mailto:transistormuseum@aol.com

 

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:

 

Link to IEEE Spectrum Article on Silicon Transistor History

 

 

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Feature!

 

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.

 

 

 

Use This Link To Learn More About TransistorMuseum™ Historic Audio

 

 

Copyright © 2002-2014 by Jack Ward

http://www.transistormuseum.com