EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT GE

Hugh R. Lowry

Oral History – Hugh Lowry

 

In my opinion, the thyristor (or SCR) was the most important semiconductor product invented and developed by GE.  We put much effort into this product, because it was unique in the industry.  All the applications work on the SCR was done in my group, and before long we came out with the 1st edition of the GE SCR Manual, modeled directly after the Transistor Manual.   The SCR’s were built at a plant in Auburn NY, and Bill Gutzwiller was the main designer – he eventually set up a separate applications group for all GE rectifiers.   Later in the 1960’s, GE established a joint venture with a French company  (Thompson).   Sweeney and I were involved and we both studied the language in preparation for further work.  They were having some technical problems and so it was decided that some of us should spend time onsite.  In the summer of 1967, I and two other Americans (an Apps engineer and a financial person) moved to France to assist in semiconductor product planning and manufacturing.  In the end, this venture was sold out entirely to the French company because Charles Degaulle was not happy about such close French/American cooperation.   I returned to the U.S. in 1970, and after some additional “modern engineering” training, I was offered a position with the GE Wire and Cable Division in Bridgeport, CT.  This was a terrific assignment, and because of GE’s worldwide leadership in this technology, I traveled extensively.  I retired in 1989 from Wire and Cable as the Manager of Engineering. GE made a point of developing management talent and moved them around to different organizations to allow development of management.  This was an excellent business practice. I retired after a 40 year career with a great company.

 

Oral History – Hugh Lowry

 

 

Shown above is a 1N3116 Tunnel Diode, with a 1960 date code. Hugh Lowry was the Engineering Manager for the Signal Diode Project, and was responsible for commercializing Tunnel Diodes for GE.  His group also produced the Tunnel Diode Manual.  Shown below are 2 projects listed in the 1st edition of the GE Transistor Manual, which was published in 1957.  Hugh was the GE Transistor Applications Group Manager at that time,  and was responsible for developing the first 5 editions of these classic manuals.  Thousands of today’s engineers first learned about transistor technology through these publications.

 

 

COPYRIGHT © 2001 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com

PAGE 3