by Joe A. Knight


Curator’s Introduction

The first transistors, developed in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, had limited performance characteristics, especially when compared with today’s mature silicon technology.  A major limitation of early germanium transistor technology was low power handling capability.  It was only in the mid to late 1950s that commercial germanium devices were available which were capable of handling several watts of power – these first power transistors were limited in terms of frequency performance and were used primarily as low frequency (audio) amplifiers.


Another unique aspect of early power transistor development is that many manufacturing companies were active in research and commercialization of germanium power transistor technology.  Some of these companies were active in this area for only a few years, and the device types developed were experimental in nature and often sold in limited quantities, with sparse or non-existent documentation.   As a result, there has not been much reference material available for the modern semiconductor historian for this very important aspect of transistor history.   


The Transistor Museum™ is very pleased to be able to host the new and authoritative “Survey of Early Power Transistors” by Joe Knight, with the intent of providing the most comprehensive, accurate and highly readable survey of the many unique power transistor types, manufactured in the first two decades of transistor history.


Note: Photographs and text have been provided by Joe Knight, and are used with permission.   All Rights are Reserved. 


Introductory Comments

by Joe Knight 

“My presentations are not necessarily gospel nor the final say-so but do offer up a scenario based upon physical evidence, specs, articles and ads that have surfaced in my several odd years of collecting and research.  Someone elses' personal exposure might turn up differing accounts and perspective or additional in-depth analysis.  All readers should feel free to contact the web site manager, Jack Ward, to provide any suggestions or comments one feels appropriate.  Anything that in the end provides a more detailed and accurate historical view-point is something we are all after and constantly work towards.   All input should provide as much back-up info and documentation as possible, in order to help clarify it's given importance and context”.

Go To Page 2 of Joe Knight’s Introduction


Use these links to review Joe’s impressive “Survey of Early Power Transistors”:





Clevite Transistor Products


General Electric

Germanium Products Corp 





Pacific Semiconductor Inc





Texas Instruments

Transistor Products Inc




Bell Labs/Western Electric

COPYRIGHT © 2007 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com/

Joe A. Knight Early Power Transistor History – INDEX