60th Birthday of the Transistor

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Dave, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    On Sunday 16th December the humble transistor is 60 years old. On that day in 1947 William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain successfully demonstrated the building and operation of the first practical point-contact transistor at the Bell Labs.

    Given the transistor has been cited in some circles as the greatest and most important invention of the 20th Century, given it's central importance to the electronics revolution in the late 20th Century, I wonder why this landmark date has gone without any real coverage in the press (I stumbled across an article at The Register, a technology site). If anyone has come across an article on this in the last week or so I'd be interested in hearing about it.

    Anyway on on Sunday remember to think of the transistors birthday, chances are you are have several-hundred million of them living in your home today!

  2. hgmjr


    Jan 28, 2005
    In the mid-70's I was in New Jersey on a business trip and I made a point of stopping into the Lobby of Bell Labs where the first transistor happened to be on display. I remember the feeling of reverence I had as stared at the device on display.

  3. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    I wonder if it is still on display today? I can imagine that it is a nationally treasured item.

    Incidentally I have noticed some sources have cited the 'invention date' as 23rd December 1947. Not sure where this date comes from, but the first demonstrated functioning of that transistor was 60 years ago tomorrow.

  4. cumesoftware

    Senior Member

    Apr 27, 2007
    The transistor is getting old indeed...but still it is an important device.
  5. Dave

    Thread Starter Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    The funny thing about the first transistor was they were actually trying to invent a MOSFET and ended up with a BJT! Obviously at the time there was no MOSFET and BJT to compare to, but they were trying to make a voltage controller device and ended up with a current controller device. Interesting really because the MOSFET is the device at the heart of the electronics revolution. Still lets not take away from the importance of the BJT in applications, even today.

  6. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
    Here's the birthday kid itself ....
  7. bundick

    Active Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    They had some backing money from other companies. They were trying to make a device to replace tubes for our Defence Radios and Radars.
    The story I heard is that they were both surprised at the Boron doping junction.
    One more of those Serindipity events that made history.

    The Japs had Transistorized stuff out in the 50's just after the Korean war was over.
    How'd they do that?
    Did they buy the Technology or steal it?
  8. nanovate

    Distinguished Member

    May 7, 2007
    December 23rd was the official demonstration to the rest of the lab. They had already invented it a week earlier.
    What do you mean by that? The war's been over for awhile ;) If you really want to know then take a look at this:
    It is Sony's history. They built Japan's first transistor radio after Regency/TI and Raytheon (all within a year of each other if remember correctly). It was the first to built from the "ground up" i.e. the transistors were also mfg'd by Sony. They purchased patent rights to develop a transistor but it did not include information on how to do it -- they figured that out pretty much on their own. Pretty amazing considering what Sony was back then -- pretty much a little start-up. Anyway, whether you like them or not, there has been some pretty good engineering that has come out of Japan.