THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM™
PRESERVING THE HISTORY
GREATEST INVENTION OF THE 20TH CENTURY
LAST UPDATED February 2019.
AFTER MANY YEARS ON THE WEB,
WE HAVE RE-ORGANIZED THE
The Transistor Museum has grown
significantly over the years since we first appeared on the web in 2001.
In that timeframe we’ve added hundreds of pages of unique material specifically
developed for those interested in the history of the transistor. In these
past 15 years, all areas of the Museum have been expanded, including Oral
Histories, Photo Gallery Pictures, Acquisitions and Donations, Photo Essay
Research Articles, Construction Projects, Timeline of Transistor History,
and many other areas covering topics important to transistor history. In
order to help our visitors more easily access the large and still expanding
Museum site, we have re-organized this homepage. We’d suggest that our
visitors consider using any of the three techniques shown below to quickly
access specific types of Museum information related to transistor history:
Scroll Down This Homepage for
Links to All Museum Areas
Use Google with “Transistor
Museum” in the Search String
WE ARE CONTINIUNG TO EXPAND,
SO CHECK BACK OFTEN. IF YOU’D LIKE TO COMMENT ON THE MUSEUM SITE OR
CONSIDER DONATING HISTORIC DEVICES OR DOCUMENTATION, PLEASE USE THIS CONTACT LINK.
THE ABOVE PHOTO
COLLAGE AND LINK DOCUMENTS JUST A FEW OF THE MANY HISTORIC TRANSISTORS THAT
WERE RECENTLY DONATED TO THE COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM.
THE CHM, LOCATED IN MOUNTAIN VIEW CA, IS DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION AND
CELEBRATION OF COMPUTER HISTORY. THIS PHOTOESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED AS
PART OF AN ONGOING COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE CHM AND THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM,
AND DOCUMENTS THE HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT PAUL SULLIVAN SEMICONDUCTOR
COLLECTION WHICH WAS DONATED TO THE COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM BY PAUL’S
DAUGHTER, PAT BELOTTI. THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM WISHES TO THANK THE COMPUTER
HISTORY MUSEUM, AND ESPECIALLY DAG SPICER,
WHO IS THE CHM “CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER” AND DAVID LAWS,
THE “CHM SEMICONDUCTOR CURATOR”, FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE INVOLVED IN THE
CURATION. WE ALSO WISH TO THANK PAT BELOTTI FOR HER GENEROUSITY AND
STEADFAST DEDICATION TO THE PRESERVATION OF HER FATHER’S SIGNIFICANT
CONTRIBUTIONS TO SEMICONDUSTOR HISTORY.
BEST KNOWN FOR ITS LONG-LIVED RADIO AND TV NETWORKS,
THE COLUMBIA BROADCAST SYSTEM WAS ALSO A MANUFACTURER OF ELECTRON TUBES AND
SEMICONDUCTORS. THE CBS “HYTRON” DIVISION WAS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL
LICENSEES OF TRANSISTOR TECHNOLOGY FROM WESTERN ELECTRIC AND BEGAN
PRODUCTION OF POINT CONTACT TRANSISTORS IN 1953. ALTHOUGH CBS EXITED THE
SEMICONDUCTOR BUSINESS IN THE EARLY 1960S, THIS HISTORIC COMPANY DID
PRODUCE COMPUTER SWITCHING AND POWER TRANSISTORS FOR MANY OF THE FIRST
TRANSISTORIED DIGITAL COMPUTERS. THIS PHOTO ESSAY EXPANDS OUR ONGOING EFFORTS
TO DOCUMENT HISTORIC EARLY GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS. CHECK BACK
OFTEN AS THIS PROJECT GROWS.
WARREN’S RECENT DONATION OF EARLY WECO GERMANIUM TRANSISTORS PROVIDES
INSIGHT INTO ONE OF THE FIRST INDUSTRIAL USES OF TRANSISTORS. FOLLOW THE
LINK ABOVE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS HISTORIC TECHNOLOGY.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM IS VERY PLEASED TO HAVE BEEN RECENTLY SELECTED BY THE
VENERABLE TUBE COLLECTORS ASSOCIATION AS THE RECIPIENT OF THE 2015 SCHRADER
AWARD. THIS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD RECOGNIZES EXCELLENCE IN PRESERVING TUBES
AND ASSEMBLING THEM INTO A COMPREHENSIVE COLLECTION.
ABOUT TCA CAN BE FOUND AT:
ABOUT THE HISTORY OF DIODES, TRANSISTORS AND ICs, BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST
CAT WHISKER DETECTORS IN 1906.
PHOTOS AND TECHNICAL INFORMATON.
ALSO START YOUR OWN HISTORIC SEMICONDUCTOR COLLECTION WITH THIS NEW
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM RESEARCH KIT.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM BOOK REVIEW:
ABOUT THE FIRST TRANSISTORS IN SPACE. A NEW TRANSISTOR MUSEUM BOOK
REVIEW OF GEORGE LUDWIG’S
ACCOUNT OF HIS TRANSISTOR DESIGNS USED
FIRST U.S. SATELLITES - VANGUARD AND EXPLORER.
1950s GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS
DONATION AND PHOTO ESSAY OF A UNIQUE COLLECTION
HISTORIC 1950s GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS
OF HISTORIC SEMICONDUCTORS
Donated by Ray
Electric Type 3A
Marvelco J-2 Germanium
Germanium Transistors from Japan
Vintage: Late 1950s
Donated by Masahiro
three transistors in the photo have been donated to the Transistor Museum
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.
the Transistor Museum Photo Gallery
for More Info on the 2T76
Masahiro’s Superb Historic Semiconductor Website
Layer Transistor Diodes
Vintage: Late 1950s
Donated by Ludwell
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
(4 Layer Diodes) Photo Essay
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.
Type C2A Germanium
Donated by Nikolai
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.
Point Contact Transistors
Donated by Sanford
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.
Vintage: Early to Mid 1950s
Donated by Craig
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:
Germanium Power Prototype
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
Transistor Company GT66, 2N318
Donated by Dennis
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 Transistor Museum 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:
Rossoff Oral History
Link to RR66 Phototransistor
1951 Raytheon CK716
Germanium PNP Alloy Junction, serial#
TA-153 Developmental Transistor
Point Contact Transistors
Early Germanium Transistors
Electric 1858 NPN Grown Junction
Middle: Raytheon CK722 PNP Alloy
Right: GE Type ZJ3-1
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.”
PHOTO ESSAYS AND TRANSISTOR MUSEUM ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLES ON TECHNOLOGIES,
COMPANIES AND PEOPLE IMPORTANT TO THE EARLY HISTORY OF TRANSISTORS
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM IS CURRENTLY DEVELOPING A SERIES OF PHOTOESSAYS ON
GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS. DIGITAL COMPUTERS FROM THE 1950S AND 1960S
WERE THE FIRST COMPUTERS TO USE TRANSISTORS AND THIS ONGOING PROJECT
DOCUMENT THE MAJOR IMPACT OF EARLY TRANSISTOR TECHNOLOGY ON COMPUTER
THESE LINKS TO SEE COMPLETED CHAPTERS:
PHILCO GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS
RAYTHEON GERMANIUM COMPUTER TRANSISTORS
OF EARLY POWER TRANSISTORS:
KNIGHT HAS DEVELOPED A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF THE FIRST GERMANIUM AND
SILICON POWER TRANSISTORS, FROM THE 1950s/1960s. INCLUDES EXTENSIVE
SURVEY OF EARLY POWER TRANSISTORS BY JOE A. KNIGHT
HERE IS A
NEW PHOTOGALLERY ARTICLE.
ABOUT THE VANGUARD I SATELLITE AND THE EXCITING
TRANSISTOR TECHNOLOGY THAT POWERED
TRANSMITTERS IN THIS HISTORIC SATELLITE.
TRANS-AIRE RADIO STORY:
1950s/60s U.S. COMPANY MAKES GOOD USE OF THOUSANDS OF REJECT TRANSISTORS
FROM RAYTHEON, GE AND FAIRCHILD.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH JOE D'AIRO
OF EARLY TRANSISTOR RADIO
AT ZENITH RADIO CORPORATION.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH RAY ANDREJASICH
RCA TRANSISTOR RADIOS:
STANLEY RECOUNTS MANY OF THE EXCITING AND AS YET UNPUBLICIZED ASPECTS OF
THE WORK AT RCA LABS IN THE 1950s ON EARLY TRANSISTOR DEVICES AND
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH THOMAS O. STANLEY
ON SEPT 18, 1956, GUS
FALLGREN OF CHELMSFORD MA. COMPLETED THE FIRST DOCUMENTED TRANS-ATLANTIC
AMATEUR RADIO CONTACT USING A “TRANSISTOR-POWERED” TRANSMITTER.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH GUS FALLGREN (W1OG), AL HANKINSON (KC3QU)
AND DICK WRIGHT (W1UC)
IN 1955, RAYTHEON PRODUCED A SERIES OF IRIDESCENT, BRIGHT BLUE GERMANIUM
TRANSISTORS. HERE IS THE HISTORY
BLUES" PHOTO ESSAY
INSTRUMENTS INTRODUCED THE FIRST COMMERCIAL SILICON TRANSISTORS IN 1954.
BILL BROWER WORKED AS AN ENGINEER WITH THESE HISTORIC DEVICES AND PROVIDES
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH BILL BROWER
A TRULY HISTORIC TECHNOLOGY - THE “SHOCKLEY DIODE” WAS
DEVELOPED IN THE LATE 1950s AT THE SHOCKLEY SEMICONDUCTOR LABORATORIES, THE
FIRST SILICON VALLEY COMPANY.
(4 LAYER) DIODE PHOTO ESSAY
THE METAL CARTRIDGE
VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR (DESIGNATED “TYPE A”) WAS
DEVELOPED AT BELL LABS
IN 1948, AND WAS THE
FIRST TRANSISTOR ROBUST
ENOUGH TO BE
MANUFACTURED IN QUANTITY.
LABS "TYPE A" POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR PHOTO ESSAY
THE PLASTIC BEAD TYPE
POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR REPRESENTS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN TRANSISTOR
HISTORY, DEVELOPED IN THE EARLY 1950s AS A POTENTIAL LOW COST ALTERNATIVE
TO THE INITIAL METAL
CATRIDGE “TYPE A”.
LABS "BEAD TYPE" POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR PHOTO ESSAY
THE PLASTIC BEAD TYPE
POINT CONTACT TRANSISTOR REPRESENTS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE IN TRANSISTOR
HISTORY, DEVELOPED IN THE EARLY 1950s AS A POTENTIAL LOW COST ALTERNATIVE
LABS “TYPE M1752” GERMANIUM GROWN JUNCTION TRANSISTOR
THE EARLY HISTORY OF
TRANSISTORS IN GERMANY:
RUDI HERZOG HAS
DEVELOPED A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY OF THE FIRST TRANSISTORS IN GERMANY, STARTING
EARLY HISTORY OF TRANSISTORS IN GERMANY BY RUDI HERZOG
ARTHUR L. ROSSOFF IS
CO-AUTHOR OF THE INFLUENTIAL TEXT TRANSISTOR ELECTRONICS PUBLISHED
IN 1957 BY MCGRAW HILL. IN THIS INTERVIEW, ART PROVIDES HIS PERSPECTIVE ON
1950s TRANSISTOR TECHNOLGY AS DOCUMENTED IN THIS HISTORIC TEXT.
TRANSISTOR MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH ART ROSSOFF
This area of the Transistor Museum™ may be the most
useful and informative for those visitors who are interested in the history
of transistors. Here you’ll find first-hand and personal accounts from
those engineers and scientists who were actually involved in creating and
advancing this remarkable technology.
DEVICE ENGINEERING FOR THE U.S. ARMY SIGNAL CORPS
after the June 1948 public announcement of the invention of the transistor
by Bell Labs, the U.S. military actively promoted the industrial
development of this technology for military use. 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 requirements. Bernard Reich was actively involved
in this historic Signal Corps work and has authored numerous articles
documenting important early transistor types.
THE 1950s DEVELOPMENT
OF THE SILICON CONTROLLED RECTIFIER (SCR) AND THE TRIAC AT GE
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
FOUNDING THE HISTORIC
SEMICONDUCTOR COMPANY “TRANSITRON” IN 1952
in 1952 by David and Leo Bakalar in an old mill in Wakefield Massachusetts,
Transitron Electronic Corporation became one of the most successful
semiconductor manufacturing companies in the world within a few short
years. By the mid to late 1950s, Transitron was in the top two or
three U.S. producers of diodes, rectifiers and transistors. David Bakalar
was the president of Transitron from 1952 to 1984 and his substantial
technical achievements with the development of such breakthrough
semiconductor devices as gold bonded germanium diodes and silicon
rectifiers were the primary basis for Transitron’s success. This
Transistor Museum™ Historic profile will provide historical information on Transitron’s
early semiconductor technology, as well as recent comments from David
Bakalar about his pioneering semiconductor work and accomplishments over 50
TRANSISTOR ENGINEER AND STARTING UP PRODUCTION OF POINT CONTACT TRANSISTORS
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.
CLASSIC AND WELL REMEMBERED 1960s AND 1970s
TRANSISTOR BOOKS AND
Len Buckwalter’s technical publications from the 1960s and 1970s have had a
major impact on many of us who were first involved with transistor
technology during that time. He authored dozens of transistor
construction project articles that appeared in Electronics Illustrated
magazine, where he was active as a technical editor and column
author. Len may best be remembered for his now legendary books from
the 1960s that were written primarily for the young hobbyists and
electronics experimenters of the day. If you built your first
transistor radio or audio oscillator with germanium transistors and still
remember the many pleasurable hours spent reviewing the latest construction
projects from Electronics Illustrated or “Having Fun with Transistors”,
then Len Buckwalter’s substantial contributions to transistor history have
PIONEER IN EARLY TRANSISTOR HI-FI AND AUDIO CIRCUIT
For over 60 years, Dick
Burwen has been actively involved in the electronics industry, with noted
accomplishments in the field of audio circuit design. Since building
his own amateur radio station (W1NMG) as a youth in the 1940s, Dick’s
prolific career has paralleled the growth of the semiconductor industry and
his work has been particularly influential in the fields of semiconductor
electronics and high performance audio equipment. The list of Dick’s
impressive professional achievements includes over thirty historic audio
and electronics publications, a substantial body of audio and electronics
patents and ongoing work as a renowned electronics and audio consultant. Dick
continues his groundbreaking work in audio electronics with the recent
release of Burwen Audio’s latest commercial product, the Audio Splendor™
tone control and ambience generation software package.
GERMANIUM TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT MOTOROLA
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.
TRANSISTORS IN SPACE
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.
PIONEERING 1960s SILICON TRANSISTOR PROGRAM
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.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE 2N2222
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.
THE FIRST “WORKING” TRANSISTOR APPLICATION – THE GATING MATRIX
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.
THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FAMOUS 2N107 TRANSISTOR
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
DEVELOPING TRANSISTOR DIGITAL CIRCUITS FOR THE ”FLYABLE TRADIC”
COMPUTER AND NIKE ZEUS MISSILES
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.
INVENTING EMITTER COUPLED LOGIC (ECL) TRANSISTOR COMPUTER
CIRCUITS AT IBM IN THE 1950s
Hannon S. Yourke’s 30 year
career with IBM began in 1955 when he joined the newly formed transistor
circuits group in Poughkeepsie. All
IBM computers at the time were vacuum tube based, and the transistor group
had been formed to investigate and develop the potential for transistors in
future IBM products. He filed
for patent 2,964,652 (Transistor Switching Circuits) in Nov 1956. This
circuitry developed by Mr. Yourke was known initially as current steering
logic, but was later called emitter coupled logic, or ECL, and became the
dominant circuitry for all high speed computer logic throughout the 1960s,
1970s and 1980s.
DEVELOPING THE FIRST TRANSISTOR IN 1952 AND THE LEGENDARY 1970s
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. One of Jerry’s most important contributions to
transistor development was his pioneering work on the first completely
transistorized television receiver - this unique device was developed at
the RCA Labs in 1952 and represents a major milestone in transistor history
- this TV set is currently on display at the Smithsonian. A
separate section has been included at the end of his Oral History to
document this important early TV work. Jerry provides personal and
technical commentary about this historic project, as well as other
important contributions, including the 1802 microprocessor, in this Oral
STARTING AT RCA IN 1950 AND INVENTING THE QUASI COMPLEMENTARY
Dr. Hung Chang Lin has been
associated with the semiconductor field for over 50 years, beginning in
1950 with his pioneering work at the RCA ISL labs with early
transistor circuitry. H.C. Lin is the holder of 57 U.S. patents, and is
the author/co-author of 170 technical papers and several respected texts on
semiconductors, including “Integrated Electronics,” (Holden Day, 1967),
“Selected Semiconductor Circuits Handbook,” (Wiley and Sons, 1960), and
“Semiconductor Electronics Education Committee Notes 1,” (Wiley and Sons,
1963). In the 1950s and
1960s, he worked at several key semiconductor companies, including RCA,
CBS/Hytron and Westinghouse. He
was elected an IEEE Fellow “for contributions to semiconductor electronics
and circuits and pioneering of integrated circuits”.
PROLIFIC AUTHOR OF OVER 70 CLASSIC ARTICLES ON 1950s TRANSISTOR
Paul Penfield Jr. was one of the first and most prolific authors of
articles on the just emerging transistor technology of the
1950s. These classic articles were published in such widely read
electronics magazines of the day as Radio-TV News, Radio-Electronics, Audio
and Audiocraft. If you were an electronics experimenter, engineer, or
hobbyist in the 1950s, and were eager to learn about transistors and
actually build a construction project using these newly invented devices,
it’s likely you read one of Paul’s pioneering
articles. Beginning in 1954, and continuing through 1958, Paul
had more than 70 articles on transistors published in electronics industry
publications. This four year period represented a rapidly changing time in
transistor technology, and Paul’s well written articles provided a readable
and interesting account of these developments.
STARTING AT RCA IN 1950 AND INVENTING THE QUASI COMPLEMENTARY
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
THE INVENTION OF THE UNIJUNCTION TRANSISTOR AT THE GE
ELECTRONICS LAB IN THE 1950s
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 with the development of the first
unijunction transistor devices and applications.
INVENTING THE VARACTOR DIODE AT BELL LABS AND PIONEERING WORK
WITH POROUS SILICON
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 this 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.
EARLY TRANSISTOR AUDIO CIRCUITS AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE GE TRANSISTOR
Dwight V. Jones was
employed at General Electric for forty years, from 1947 to 1987. He started at the beginning of the
GE’s transistor efforts and was involved with semiconductors for most of
his career. Dwight is the author of numerous technical
papers, holds several patents, and may be best known to transistor engineers
as a major contributor to the highly regarded series of “Transistor
Manuals” developed by General Electric in the 1950s and 1960s. His many contributions to early
semiconductor applications include transistor audio, test equipment, and
SCR motor controls.
HUGHES AIRCRAFT IN 1951 AND WORKING WITH HARPER NORTH ON EARLY TRANSISTORS
Sanford (Sandy) Barnes has been active in transistor
technology for over 50 years, starting as a young engineer in 1951 with the
assignment of producing “hand-made” germanium point contact transistors at
Hughes Aircraft. He has
held numerous research and senior management positions with several key
companies involved with semiconductor development, including Hughes
Aircraft, Pacific Semiconductors Inc, and TRW. Sandy was very active in
semiconductor research in the 1950s and 1960s and was granted multiple
patents in transistor and diode technology.
WORKING AT SHOCKLEY TRANSISTOR CORPORATION IN 1958 AND
DEVELOPING APPLICATIONS FOR SHOCKLEY TRANSISTOR DIODES
Gene P. Weckler has been active in semiconductor technology
since the late 1950s, with a career that has taken him to such industry
pioneering companies as Shockley Transistor Corporation, Fairchild
Semiconductor, and EG&G Reticon. His first major work assignment
after graduating with a BSEE from Utah State University in 1958 was as an
Applications Engineer at Shockley Transistor Corporation, the historic
company credited by many as the first semiconductor company in Silicon
DEVELOPING THE FIRST 1950s GERMANIUM POWER TRANSISTORS
Neville Fletcher has been
active in multiple areas of physics for over 50 years. Professor
Fletcher is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and of the
Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He has
published five books and over 170 papers. His important contributions to
the development of germanium power transistor technology were made in the
1950s, when he was working for an early pioneering transistor company (Transistor
Products Inc). TPI was purchased by Clevite in the mid-1950s, and became a
large-scale producer of germanium power transistors.
JOINING RCA IN 1955 AND DEVELOPING THE CLASSIC 2N301 AND
2N404 GERMANIUM TRANSISTORS
Joining Radio Receptor's Germanium Research
Department in 1954, Adolph Blicher‘s first assignment was to develop high
speed PNP germanium transistors that could be used in computers and radio
receivers. At this time, most available transistors had performance
suitable only for low frequency applications such as hearing aids. DR.
Blicher succeeded in developing RR’s first computer transistor the RR156.
In 1955, he began work at RCA and was responsible for the development of a
number of successful transistors types including the 2N301 and the 2N404.
His later work at RCA resulted in the development of a series of germanium
and silicon transistors with ever-increasing high frequency and high speed
switching response characteristics.
RCA ON EARLY TRANSISTORSR, ICs AND THE HISTORIC NUVISTOR TUBES
Bob Mendelson joined RCA in 1953 with an
MS degree in Chemical Engineering. He spent the next six years in the
Methods and Process Lab (M&P Lab), responsible for the hydrogen
furnaces, electroplating, and all chemical problems. He fully retired
from RCA in 1989. During those 36 years, Bob had the unique
opportunity to work with several key RCA technologies, including germanium
transistors, silicon transistors, integrated circuits and Nuvistors.
He has authored numerous books and articles (including two highly regarded
1960s articles on Nuvistors in the RCA Ham News publication), and continues
today an active ham radio operator (W2OKO). Bob has been issued two U.S.
FIRST TI TRANSISTORS WITH HAND-ASSEMBLY AND WATCHMAKERS TOOLS
D. D. “Mac” McBride worked
at Texas Instruments from July 1953 until early retirement in April
1975. This 20+ year career spanned the critical early years in
transistor technology and his Oral History provides insight into the
tremendous changes that occurred during this time. It is interesting
to note that Mr. McBride’s first assignment at TI was that of assembler of
point contact transistors, and that his earlier training as a watchmaker
provided the essential skills for this job. As you’ll discover, the
performance of these early transistors was quite unpredictable and largely
dependent on the precise mechanical placement and adjustment of sharpened
electrodes that held in place with glue!
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS IN THE EARLY 1960s ON EARLY ICs USED IN THE MINUTEMAN
Mary Anne Potter started to
work at Texas Instruments on June 26, 1962, as a process/product engineer
on Minuteman ICs. Early on, she became the lead process engineer for
the quad-diffused IC designs at TI, and was involved in some of the
original and historic work on the first large scale production of
integrated circuits. Ms. Potter stayed at TI through the 1960s,
working with a variety of integrated circuit development activities.
Later, she was employed at a number of other well known semiconductor companies,
such as MOSTEK, AMI, and Fairchild. Ms. Potter later returned to TI, where
she became TI’s first female fab manager.
During the 1950s and 1960s, there were a
handful of companies that 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.
LINKS TO FIND DOZENS OF ADDITIONAL ORAL HISTORIES FROM PIONEERS IN TRANSISTOR
The Museum’s most popular
exhibit. Here you’ll find photographs and descriptions of unique and
historic devices or applications relating to the semiconductor history from
the last century. Visit this exhibit to confirm identity of devices you
have found or just spend a rainy afternoon browsing the exhibits. The
Transistor Museum™ Photo Gallery has been established to provide an easily
accessible and informative repository of high quality photographs and
detailed information about many of the unique and historic transistors,
diodes and integrated circuits from the early days of this exciting
technology. This material should be an invaluable aid to historians,
experimenters, hobbyists and anyone else interested in learning about the
history of semiconductors and how these ubiquitous devices have come to
shape the modern world.
HISTORIC DEVICES SHOWN. CHECK BACK OFTEN AS WE ARE PLANNING A MAJOR UPDATE
TO THIS EXHIBIT.
LINKS OF SOME RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE GALLERY.
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.
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
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.
The Transistor Museum™ Store has been established to
provide an easily accessible (and reasonably priced) source of unique and
historic transistors, diodes and integrated circuits from the early days of
this exciting technology. Use the Museum
Store link to explore what’s available and to compare the different
types. In each case, you’ll find a link which will take you to more
details about the specific Museum offering and how to purchase. To aid
historians, experimenters, hobbyists and anyone else interested in learning
about transistors, each Transistor Museum™ device is supplied with
historical information, circuits and photos.
The Museum Store will soon be expanding as we add many
more unique and historically important semiconductors of all types.
In addition, every device that you purchase will now include a Transistor
Museum™ Historic Semiconductor Fact Sheet, which is a full page-sized
document containing a collection of useful facts, pictures and commentary
about the specific device. You won’t find anything like this elsewhere,
and you’ll likely spend many rewarding hours reviewing this unique material
and learning about semiconductor history.
ARE EXAMPLES OF HISTORIC DEVICES
THE TRANSISTOR MUSEUM STORE.
Western Electric 2N110
1950s – 1960s
2N43 2N44 2N45 Germanium
Alloy Junction Transistor
Electric Classic “Top- Hat” Styles from the 1950s & 1960s.
One of the
First ICs Available. Used Extensively in Digital Logic.
Early 1950s. The First Transistor in Volume Production.
FIRST TRANSISTOR TYPE, GERRY FRITON HAS DEVELOPED A MODERN POINT CONTACT
TRANSISTOR CIRCUIT – AN AUDIO AMPLIFIER USING 60 YEAR OLD 2N23 TRANSISTORS.
YOU’LL ENJOY THE CONSTRUCTION DETAILS OF THIS UNIQUE PROJECT.
CONTACT TRANSISTOR AUDIO OSCILLATOR
1956 EDITION OF RADIO AND TV NEWS PUBLISHED A CLASSIC TRANSISTOR
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT BY PAUL PENFIELD JR. THIS TRANSISTOR MUSEUM CONSTRUCTION
PROJECT IS BASED ON PAUL’S ORIGINAL MID-CENTURY TRANSISTOR DESIGN.
VALANDY COMPANY INTRODUCED ONE OF THE FIRST COMMERCIAL TRANSISTOR
CONSTRUCTION KITS IN THE 1950s – A CODE PRACTICE OSCULLATOR USING SURPLUS
RAYTHEON HEARING AID TRANSISTORS.
BUILD AN ORIGINAL WITH THIS MUSEUM LINK.
CLASSIC 1950s TRANSISTOR KIT – THE VALANDY CODE OSCILLATOR
uLOGIC ICs WERE INTRODUCED IN THE EARLY 1960s AND WERE THE FIRST ICs
GENRALLY AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC. BILL JONES HAS RECONSTRUCTED A CLASSIC
HAM RADIO “KEYER” ORIGINALLY DESCRIBED IN A 1967 QST MAGAZINE.
BILL JONES (K8CU) -
MICRO “TO” KEYER REVISITED
USES 1950s BLUE CK722 TRANSISTORS FOUND IN A BOX FROM HIS CHILDHOOD AND
MODERN BLUE LEDs TO BUILD A
FLASHING LIGHT MULTVIBRATOR.
CK722s AND BLUE LEDs COMBINE FOR A BLUE “BLINKER”
IN EARLY 1953, THE RAYTHEON CK722 WAS THE FIRST TRANSISTOR AVAILBLE TO THE
GENERAL PUBLIC. THIS RADIO PROJECT WAS CREATED IN 2003 TO COMMEMORATE THE
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THIS HISTORIC AND WELL REMEMBERED DEVICE.
THE 50th ANNIVERSARY CK722 TRANSISTOR RADIO
BOOKS AND ARTICLES
INTERESTING TRANSISTOR FACTS
1. The first transistor type, called point contact, was
invented at Bell Labs in December 1947 by John Bardeen and Walter
2. The invention of the transistor was made public in June
1948 at a press conference held by Bell Labs in New York City.
3. The second transistor type, called grown junction, was
developed at Bell Labs in 1950, based on the theoretical work of William
Shockley. The Nobel Prize in Physics 1956 was awarded jointly to William
Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain “for their researches on
semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect.”
4. Other early 1950s commercial transistor types included
the surface barrier and the alloy junction. All these early commercial
transistor types were constructed from germanium.
5. Raytheon announced the CK722 in January 1953. This was the
first transistor generally available to the public. Raytheon led all
other manufacturers in volume production of transistors, and commemorated
its “Millionth Transistor” on June 23, 1954.
6. Other semiconductor manufacturers began high volume
production of germanium transistors in the mid-1950s. Major companies
included General Electric, Motorola, Philco, RCA, Sylvania, Texas
Instruments and Western Electric.
7. Texas Instruments announced the 900 series of transistors
in late 1954. These were the first silicon transistors available
8. Total 1955 production of all transistors was 3,500,000
units, and all but a few were germanium.
9. Additional germanium and silicon transistor types were
developed in the late 1950s, including the diffused base/mesa.
10. In January 1960, Fairchild announced the silicon planar
transistor technology with the 2N1613 device. This technology was
rapidly adopted by most other transistor manufacturers and has become the
standard structure for modern semiconductor devices. The planar process
was also an important technology for the commercial development of ICs,
which appeared on the market in this same timeframe.
11. In the early 1960s, Texas Instruments and Fairchild
announced the first integrated circuits. These first ICs contained
several transistors and related components on a single chip.
12. Following the lead of TI and Fairchild, other
semiconductor manufacturers soon began commercial production of
integrated circuits, including established transistor companies such as
Sylvania, Motorola, GE, RCA, and Transitron, as well as newly formed
companies such as Signetics and Siliconix.
13. The 1960s saw widespread use of the new IC technology
in military, industrial and consumer electronics; both digital and analog
IC types were produced in very large quantities.
14. The level of IC integration (the number of transistors
contained on a single integrated circuit) increased substantially in the
1960s, with hundreds transistors per chip by the late 1960s.
15. Gordon Moore (co-founder of Fairchild and Intel) authored
an article in the April 1965 issue in Electronics magazine,
predicting the continued rapid increase in the level of integration for
ICs. This has become known as “Moore’s Law” and describes the doubling
of the number of transistors per IC approximately every two years.
16. The first Intel microprocessor, the 4004, was released
in Nov 1971 and contained 2300 transistors. Other more complex
microprocessor types soon followed. For example, the 1979 Intel 8088,
used in the first IBM PC, contained 29,000 transistors.
17. The level of integration continued to expand with the introduction
of ever more powerful ICs, including microprocessors. The first Intel
Pentium microprocessor was introduced in March 1993 and contained over
3,000,000 transistors. At this level of integration, a single
microprocessor chip contained almost as many transistors as were produced
in total in 1955 (see item #8 above).
18. In a February 13th 2003 Wall Street Journal article,
Gordon Moore summarized the status at that time of the continued increase
in the level of integration as follows:
- “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
- “Consumers typically can buy 50 million transistors
for a dollar on some memory chips. It really is a spectacular industry”.
19. Current microprocessors such as the Apple A8 used in the
iPhone 6 contain over 2 billion transistors.
20. The April
2015 IEEE Spectrum magazine featured several
articles published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
Moore’s Law. In this issue, Dan Hutcheson’s article “Transistors, by the
Numbers”, quantifies the current state of transistor production with this
statement “In 2014, semiconductor production facilities made some
250 billion billion (250 x 1018) transistors. This was,
literally, production on an astronomical scale. Every second of that
year, on average, 8 trillion transistors were produced. That figure is
about 25 times the number of stars in the Milky Way and some
75 times the number of galaxies in the known universe.”
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.
FIRE” by Michael Riordon and Lillian Hoddeson.
Crystal Fire is the definitive text on the history of semiconductors,
and specifically on the events, technology and people who have been
responsible for “The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the
Information Age”. The authors had unprecedented access to the early
transistor records at Bell Labs and provide detailed information on the key
events leading up to the discovery of the transistor in 1947. Other key
topics covered are the invention of the integrated circuit and the
beginnings of Silicon Valley.
THE TRANSISTOR AND ME” by Ed Millis
Mr. Ed Millis is uniquely qualified to comment
on the early history of the transistor at Texas Instruments. After joining
Geophysical Service, Inc., predecessor of Texas Instruments, in 1950 as an
engineer on military electronic equipment, Ed transferred in June 1954 to
the Semiconductor organization. This was the beginning of a decade’s
long and successful association between Ed and TI
semiconductors. In his new book, Ed has created a very
readable, detailed account of the technically challenging and
personally rewarding years he spent at TI.
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
IRRESISTABLE TRANSISTOR” by Harry Goldstein.
Article from the March 2003 IEEE Spectrum
Harry Goldstein, the Editorial Director of
IEEE Spectrum magazine, visited Raytheon’s Norm Krim in 2003 and learned
first-hand the memorable details of the development of the first transistor
available to the general public, the CK722. This germanium alloy junction
transistor was introduced in early 1953 and had an immediate and
long-lasting impact on the careers of the young experimenters and engineers
who would later make major contributions to the semiconductor industry.
LOST HISTORY OF THE TRANSISTOR” by
Article posted April 30, 2004 at online IEEE
In this article, Michael Riordan, co-author of
the classic and highly regarded text on semiconductor history, Crystal
Fire, recounts the history of the silicon transistor, beginning with
the dramatic announcement by Texas Instruments at the May 1954 Radio
Engineers (IRE) National Conference on Airborne Electronics, of the
availability of the first commercial silicon transistors. Riordan’s article
additionally describes the lesser-publicized work at Bell Labs during this
same timeframe that had simultaneously resulted in the development of the
first silicon transistors.
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
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.
MCGONIGAL – FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM
James McGonigal has developed an extensive Flickr photo
album of early semiconductors. The photography is superb and Jim’s
commentary adds historical context for the many devices shown. This site
is definitely worth a visit.
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. You’ll also find links to many
interesting historical articles and museums related to early
WYLIE – MR. TRANSISTOR
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.
DON PIES – REGENCY
TR1 TRANSISTOR RADIO HISTORY
Don has created a wonderful website with
definitive information on the Regency TR-1 radio, which was the first
all-transistor radio sold commercially. This radio was a major milestone
in transistor history. Great links, photos and commentary.
– WORLD’S FIRST POCKET RADIO
Another phenomenal site for the first
commercial transistor radio, the Regency TR1. Steve has been actively
documenting the TR1 for many years and his excellent work has been
NAKAHORI – COLLECTION OF SEMICONDUCTORS
Masahiro has created an unparalleled
photographic display of early transistor types, including devices from
Japan, Europe, Russia and the U.S. This is a “must-visit” site
for semiconductor collectors.
This remarkable site has continued to expand
over the past few years and has become a major resource for those
interested in early semiconductor history. A unique and very important
feature is the search for a specific transistor type/part number for info
on a broad range of historic transistors. You’ll also find excellent research
papers on this topic.
PBS TRANSISTOR HISTORY
Lots of research and links. This site is one
of the most comprehensive commercial sites on this topic, with a very broad
range of coverage and links to other sites. Much information on the
invention of the transistor.
SYSTEM MEMORIAL – HISTORY OF THE TRANSISTOR
Terrific site dedicated to Bell System
history, including transistors. Contains many excellent photos of
Bell Lab’s early work with transistors.
JAN DE GROOT – VINTAGE
Jan has developed a large and expanding
website that is a very worthwhile resource for those interested in early transistor
history. You’ll find many detailed photos and comprehensive coverage of
early transistor companies.
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!
KASTNER - RADIOWALLAH
has created a terrific site, which features fine photography and detailed
technical specs of many early transistor radios, primarily of Japanese
manufacture. A unique feature is Alan’s “See the Insides” of each radio,
which provides photos of the actual transistors used in these radios.
With this May 2015 update
and re-organization of the Museum homepage, we have reviewed and confirmed
all links. 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
site in the future.
Please email your comments
directly to Jack Ward, the Museum Curator, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Please
email us if you’d like to donate historic devices or documentation, or just
want to discuss early transistor history.
A word about copyright:
All of the material on this website is Copyright by the Transistor Museum.
If you want to reproduce this material or use the information developed by
the Transistor Museum, please provide attribution to this site and include
the following text “Copyright 2001-2017 by Jack Ward, Transistormuseum.com”
by Jack Ward. All Rights Reserved.