EARLY POWER SEMICONDUCTOR HISTORY AT GE

An Interview with F.W. “Bill” Gutzwiller

 The Early History of the Silicon Controlled Rectifier

 

Oral History – Bill Gutzwiller (Continued)

 

GE announced the break-through in a press conference, and I found myself in a photo in Business Week magazine with Ray Jacques looking over my shoulder as I controlled the speed of a 1/2 HP DC motor with a little radio-type control potentiometer.  I was besieged by phone calls from industrial businesses all over the country, even from outside the United States, asking for more detailed technical information.  I started writing magazine articles for the technical journals and application notes on the SCR.  I assembled a number of these original application notes and edited them into a 50 page GE publication which we called the “SCR Manual”.  Eventually the GE SCR Manual grew to over 400 pages.  Millions of copies were distributed.  It was translated into at least a dozen languages.  The last I heard it was in its 9th Edition, long after I had gone on to other positions in other GE businesses.  I still run into retired engineers everywhere who recall the impact that GE SCR’s and GE’s SCR Manual had on their businesses.  In the international arena the SCR became known as the “thyristor”, probably because this terminology had less American connotation.

 

 

Go To Gutzwiller Oral History, Page 8

 

 

Oral History – Bill Gutzwiller (Continued)

 

 

This is the cover of the first edition of the GE Controlled Rectifier Manual, which was published in 1960.  Here are few introductory comments from the manual, “...GE developed the silicon Controlled Rectifier deliberately as a high current, high voltage, high efficiency switch and introduced it early in 1958.  The impact of the SCR was felt immediately since it could replace thyratrons and magnetic amplifiers in many existing circuits…”.  As Bill mentions in the Oral History, he was the primary contributor and editor for the early editions of SCR manual.   Further editions continued to be published throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

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