http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/rep_pub/reports/1950_1959/fulltext/020c01.pdf22. Transistors are not included in .the term "electronic valves and cathode ray tubes" and hence are outside our terms of reference, but we refer to them because they are a recently developed alternative to valves for many purposes. Transistors are a development of the crystals used with a "cat's whisker" in the early radio sets. They are usually made of germanium or silicon crystals and unlike the early crystals used in radio they can amplify oscillations.
They operate at low voltages; their consumption of current is small; they are often no bigger than a pea. These features have already led to transistors replacing valves in hearing aids, and a portable sound receiver is now being made in this country which uses transistors instead of valves.
Similarly, transistors may replace valves in car radios and one set maker has already placed an all-transistor car radio on the market. Several of the television sets now on the market contain transistors instead of valves at a few points in the circuits but we are told that the full replacement of valves by transistors in television sets is unlikely.
Opinions vary widely as to the probable impact of transistors on the market for valves but the position should be clearer in a few years' time. There are already eight manufacturers of transistors in this country, including the larger companies in the valve industry, and the output is considerable.
by Jake Hertz