by Joe A. Knight



While Raytheon never did get into the big-time in the Power Transistor field they did have some early research and development work which we'll show here.  Additionally, Raytheon became a second source for some of the CBS high-power output devices, likely through cross-licensing agreements (a common practice those days), and later by owning the rights to manufacturing these devices when they acquired the CBS (and Rheem Manufacturing in California) Semiconductor business and plants in 1961-62.  Strangely enough, this was right at the beginning of a major shake-out within the whole semiconductor industry, due to over-capacity and falling profit margins, to where Raytheon themselves decided to withdraw from the Semiconductor business in 1963.  They too had not seen the hand-writing on the wall about the new silicon mesa technologies and the micro-circuit IC revolution until too late. The CBS exodus should have tipped them off.  Instead, all their senior management could see was more new manufacturing facilities available at bargain basement prices.  Raytheon's heavy reliance on the small-signal device market had kept them unprepared for the newly emerging commercial and industrial products market (such as GE's SCR) that was just around the corner. Remember too, Raytheon's Semiconductor business was just one small part of an huge commercial electronics and Military/Defense corporate structure.  Whatever investment wasn't making enough profit in the end was just spun off or shut down.  No doubt a sad ending for what was in the beginning, in 1949 with the  "CK703"  PTC transistor and in 1952 with the famous  "CK722"  junction transistor, one of the first true technology leaders and market innovators in the Transistors' early days.  (Note: the scan below is from the 1954 Allied Radio Catalogue and illustrates the first commercial offerings from the early transistor technology leaders, including Raytheon).


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Joe A. Knight Early Power Transistor History – RAYTHEON