Historic Transistor Photo Gallery   


Transistor Size (1/4”H X 1/4”OD)

TI 2N336 Date Code 815 (1958 Week 15)

GE 2N333 Date Code 752 (1957 Week 52)


TI Cardboard “Match Cover” Style Packaging


TI and GE 2N33X



Silicon NPN Grown Junction



General Purpose Industrial and Military






Black or Blue Painted Metal (Early)

Silver Metal (Later)



Common (High Volume Production)


Texas Instruments pioneered the development of commercial silicon transistors, beginning in 1954 with the 900 series of grown junction devices.  These early silicon transistors were in great demand by the military and sold for very high prices  – this demand was due primarily to the ability of silicon transistors to perform effectively across a much broader temperature range compared to germanium transistors.  One historic use of early silicon devices was in the instrumentation electronics of the first U.S. earth satellite, known as Explorer 1.  As detailed in “Cosmic-Ray Instrumentation in the First U.S. Earth Satellite”, in the April 1959 Review of Scientific Instruments, Dr. George Ludwig describes his work in designing the radiation detection instrumentation successfully launched in February 1958.  He used the newly released TI 2N335 transistor in this circuitry, based on extensive testing for the application during 1957.  The 2N332–2N338 series of silicon transistors, offered first by TI and GE, and used in the Explorer 1 satellite, represents a unique early success for silicon transistors.  This timeframe marked the beginning of the end for germanium technology.  By the early 1960s, other transistor companies began to manufacture the 2N33X line of transistors, including Transitron and National.   The 1961 price for these devices was around $20 each – it was $5 in 1966. 


Copyright © 2005 by Jack Ward. All Rights Reserved.