EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT RCA

Israel H. Kalish

 

Biographic Note

 

Over a 46 year RCA career, Israel (Iz) Kalish was involved in a variety of highly successful and technically challenging transistor projects.† As youíll discover in the comprehensive Oral History, Mr. Kalish was associated as either a team member or manager in projects ranging from the first hermetically sealed germanium alloy hearing aid transistors (TA-187, 2N104/105), the first commercially successful audio power transistors (2N301) , germanium switching transistors for computer applications (2N404), the first CMOS linear ICís (CA3001) through to one of the early microprocessors (1802).† He was honored as an IEEE Fellow for his work on the first CMOS ICís.

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The 2N301 power transistor and the 2N404 computer transistor both sold in the millions of units throughout the 1950ís, 60ís and 70ís.† Mr. Kalish was a project member on each of the teams that developed these very successful transistors.

 

Go To Kalish Oral History, Page 2

 

 

Oral History Ė Iz Kalish

 

(This Oral History was taken in Dec, 2000)

 

I worked at RCA from May 25 1953 until June 30, 1999 (at that point the Sarnoff labs). I joined RCA right out of school (Cooper Union).† There was a shortage of engineers at the time (May, 1953) because 4 years earlier the GI bill had produced a bumper crop without any job prospects.† I worried in 1949 whether I would find a job and actually started to study to be a math teacher at CCNY but after 3 months I decided not to limit my aspirations and switched to engineering.† I then transferred to Cooper in the fall.† In retrospect things worked out well since I became an engineer and also had a chance to teach at Cooper at night for 16 years.

 

In June of 1950 the North Koreans ended the engineer surplus and so at the time I graduated I had choices.† The highest paying jobs were at defense contractors but I didn't want to get into the insecurities of the military contract business (a friend told me he saw no immediate threat of peace - and he was right for almost 40 years) so I applied to RCA (conscious of the fact that I might be drafted) because they had a training program that would give me some input as to the specialization to choose.† I had summer jobs where I saw permanent employees staying a jobs the didn't like just to stay out of the draft and their life looked miserable.† Because I actually started work a month before graduation there weren't a lot of trainees around and I had good choices at the end of my cycle.† The assignments were in the transistor group in Harrison, the Bizmac computer group in Camden, the picture tube division in Lancaster, and the antenna group in Camden.†

 

COPYRIGHT © 2004 by Jack Ward.† All Rights Reserved.† http://www.transistormuseum.com/

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