EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT GE

An Interview with Carl David Todd

Recollections from the First Days of Transistor Technology

 

Oral History Carl David Todd (Continued)

 

Id like to conclude the interview with a brief summary of your work after GE.

I left GE in 1959, and went to Hughes Aircraft Semiconductor Division. We soon started another division and I was the head of engineering at Hughes Newport for a number of years. From 1964 to the present, I have been a Professional Consulting Engineer with my own private practice and many clients, including five semiconductor companies, major communications companies, computer manufacturers, medical diagnostic and treatment manufacturers, recording studios, toxic and explosive monitoring companies, and many others. I know a bit about the medical devices, having worked on the design of pacemakers, defibrillator, TENS, fetal heart monitors, CAT Scanners, Lithotripsy, and dental implant controls. Since I covered so many different fields in my consulting practice, I never had the reason to be bored. I also was fortunate to be able to pick and choose the projects I accepted. If they weren't challenging and fun, also benefiting mankind, I would pass on them and let someone else have them. While I never formally advertised in the 40 years of my private practice, my magazines and papers were my advertisements. Also happy clients have a way of blabbing, even if they have bound me to a contract of confidentiality.

 

Thanks very much, Carl. Any concluding comments youd care to make?

In talking with you the other night, I was digging into memory territory that had not been traversed for some 50 years.

 

 

Oral History Carl David Todd (Continued)

 

I considered myself to be very fortunate to grow up in the time that I did. In my elementary years I read every biography I could get my hands on. Through books, I could visit all kinds of vocations, professions, and life styles. By the age of 8, I was definitely hooked on electronics, highly influenced by the lives of Edison, Marconi, Bell, and Steinmetz. While I continued to read books, I also needed to learn firsthand. I would mow a lawn in exchange for a dead old radio so I could take it apart. You haven't lived until you have taken a huge power transformer from an old radio and actually sawed through it using a manually operated hacksaw. That allowed me to count the turns of the various windings and note the various wire sizes used. I also took apart various other components, just to study them and gain a practical understanding of each.

 

I had already made up my mind that I wanted to be a Consulting Engineer like Steinmetz, although I wanted to solve problems and make designs for many companies, not just a single company like Steinmetz did with General Electric. Somehow I knew that the transistor would play a great part in my destiny.

 

 

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Go To Todd Oral History, Page 11

 

 

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