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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Making Transistors in 1957

Thanks to Thomas K4SWL for alerting us to this video -- he had it on his excellent SWLing Post blog

Many things crossed my mind as I watched this video: 

-- Pocket protectors!  Pete recently noted that this was a common fashion accessory among electronic techs and engineers back in the day. 

-- HP test gear. 

-- "Extreme cleanliness" that doesn't seem quite so clean.  

-- 550 transistors per hour.  Now we have upwards of 50 billion on a single chip. 

-- The Germanium salami that Pete mentioned in our last podcast. 

-- Hints of Silicon's impending replacement of Germanium. 

-- A transistor factory in Spring City, Pa. that "hums with excitement" (seemed kind of sleepy). 

-- The 1957 assumption that Philco transistors would be in the first orbiting satellite.  Then came Sputnik.

-- The transistor that moves like a "Gulliver through Lilliputian lands."  

-- Our voices or accents seem to have changed, at least the voice used in products like this.  No one talks that way today. 

-- As I watched, I tried to remember if Pete's CK722 was made by these folks.   But no, that was a Raytheon product.   Here is a nice short description of the early days of the CK722:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CK722   We need to learn more about the hobbyist Carl Todd.


  1. http://www.semiconductormuseum.com/Transistors/GE/OralHistories/Todd/Todd_Index.htm

  2. Very interesting stuff.
    Thanks for shearing it.
    De HS0ZLQ /G0MIH.

  3. Still have CK722's. They came from a Radio Shack in Nashville, TN (30 miles from my Novice QTH in Murfreesboro) There were in a package with a couple each of PNP, NPN Germanium/Silicon transistors. Still have the original package and most of the transistors. If I find them, maybe I'll post a picture?

    1. Yes Dave, send me the picture and I'll try to post it. Thanks, 73 Bill


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