EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT BELL LABS

An Interview with Walter MacWilliams

 Developing the First “Working” Transistor Application

 

          

Walter H. MacWilliams (right) and Robert C. Winans examine the historic Transistor Gating Matrix. [2]

 

 

This photo appeared in the March 1957 issue of Bell Labs Record, in the article, “A Transistor Gating Matrix for a Simulated Warfare Computer”, by W.H. MacWilliams, Jr.  Walter is shown to the right, using a pencil to indicate one of the 40 Type A point contact transistors used in the transistor matrix that has been described in this Oral History. The introductory paragraph to Walter’s article provides an excellent overview of this historic project: “The transistor’s two most important capabilities – switching and the amplification of signals – were put to use almost immediately after its invention at Bell Laboratories. A circuit using the early point-contact transistors was incorporated into laboratory equipment designed for the military.  This circuit is believed to be the first to use transistors to perform a practical function in operating laboratory equipment, and it made an important contribution in answering the question – how lethal are anti-aircraft guns in fending off an enemy attack?”

 

 

 

Go To MacWilliams Oral History, Pg 7

 

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