CLASSIC 1950s ARTICLES ON EARLY TRANSISTOR AUDIO AND HOBBYIST APPLICATIONS

An Interview with Paul Penfield Jr.

 

Oral History – Paul Penfield Jr.

(Continued)

 

This was the summer of 1953 and the preamp was actually used in the fall of 1953.  I wrote an article about this project and sent it in to Audio Engineering magazine. I heard nothing back until I noticed, “There it was!”, when I received my September 1954 issue of the magazine.  It wasn’t featured on the cover, but was included as a complete article with the title: “A Transistor Remote Amplifier”.  This was my first published article on transistors.

 

When the article came out, I was a senior in college and decided that this (articles for publication) was something I could do more often, so I wrote more construction articles using transistors.  At the time, the literature for hobbyists was basically Audiocraft magazine, Radio and Television News, and maybe a few others such as QST, which was for radio amateurs.  Radio and TV News was aimed at hobbyists and service technicians, with about half the articles for each group.  There were very few people writing articles about transistors – the service technicians didn’t need it because there were no commercial products using transistors, and, for hobbyists, it took authors some time to actually understand transistors.  I happened to be the right person there at the right time and place.  I wrote a whole raft of transistor construction articles and more general articles about how to deal with transistors and what made them different from tubes. 

 

Go To Penfield Oral History, Page 4

 

 

 

Oral History – Paul Penfield Jr.

(Continued)

 

The top photo shows the transistor remote preamp designed and constructed by Paul in 1953 when he a student and chief engineer at the Amherst College campus radio station.  This amplifier used three Raytheon CK721 germanium alloy junction transistors, and a single vacuum tube (examples shown in the 2nd photo).  The Raytheon transistors were among the first available commercially (starting in Feb 1953), so Paul’s project represents a very early use of a commercial transistor technology.  This project was documented by Paul and was published in the September 1954 issue of Audio magazine – it is likely that this article, Paul’s first, was also the first published construction article on the topic of commercial transistors used in an audio application.    

______________

COPYRIGHT © 2003 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com/

PAGE 3