A SURVEY OF EARLY POWER TRANSISTORS

by Joe A. Knight

 

Introductory Comments

by Joe Knight 

 

"I have been an avid vintage radio, vacuum tube and light bulb collector for over 15 years and have also greatly enjoyed the history and research that can accompany those hobbies (ala:  'Knight's List' - "A Bibliography of Known Wireless Books, 1892 - 1922").  While always exploring new fields of electrical research I developed a growing interest in early semiconductor history and transistor products - stuff most radio collectors turned up their noses to.  As time went along I began to focus more and more on this field of endeavor and was fortunate in acquiring a few significant collections (accumulations?) of early transistor products over the last few years.  These complemented each other enough and expanded the on-hand known variety of devices to a point where it allowed me to put together this one large, but sometimes sketchy, presentation on the different manufacturers’ early work on Power Transistors.  (I ask for their indulgence and understanding for any liberties I may have taken in trying to interpret or speculate on the research and marketing decisions they may or may not have made way back then.)

 

As a matter of clarification, I generally classify a true Power Transistor as something over 1/3 of a watt of output.  This seemed to be a performance barrier that most early manufacturers could not exceed given the semiconductor technology of the small signal enclosure types of the early and mid fifties. 

 

Introductory Comments

by Joe Knight 

 

So it was as they all moved beyond that 1/3 watt level that much of the early development work you see presented here exploded into the eventual release of the first High Power transistor types of 1955 and 1956 - the TO-3 and TO-6 types primarily.  From then on the manufacturers’ race was always speeding to higher and higher outputs with bigger devices and more standardized packaging.

 

I certainly do not claim any special insight or expertise in this field - a lot of hard work and research I admit to.  Fortunately, there are many innovators who played significant roles in the early transistor industry and who are true living encyclopedias of it's history and development.  For their work's preservation and their memories we can thank Jack Ward and the immense amount of time and work he has done to preserve it and to put it forth into the public domain via the Transistor Museum.  And for their historical and recorded contributions to this present effort I am indebted.  Thusly, I greatly appreciate this opportunity to share and contribute this small but significant portion to our common knowledge about an important and sizable effort undertaken in early semiconductor history in this addition to the Transistor Museum."  

 

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COPYRIGHT © 2007 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com/

Joe A. Knight Early Power Transistor History – Page 2