Historic Transistor Photo
General Electric introduced the 2N170 in June 1956. According to the press release which announced the 2N170, “ A new high frequency transistor for radio hobbyists and do-it-yourself devotees, priced about the same as its nearest comparable electron tubes, was announced…Designated the 2N170, the new transistor is the second in a series of transistors especially designed by GE for use by electronic hobbyists. It will amplify radio signals at frequencies up to 4,000,000 cycles. The new GE 2N170 high frequency transistor is being sold at considerably less than $2.” This transistor, along with the previously announced 2N107, became favorites with hobbyists and experimenters, and many articles appeared in the electronics magazines of the time with projects using both these transistors. The 1960 Lafayette Radio Semiconductor catalog lists the 2N170 at $1.30 each. The earliest 2N170 units had the distinctive GE “pinched top” metal case style with a somewhat unusual “bath-tub” shaped oval base. Later units were made without the “pinched top”. These units were very rugged and the hermetically sealed metal cases protected the transistor junctions from moisture and deterioration – most currently existing units are still functional.
© 2002, 2005 by Jack Ward. All Rights