by Ralph Greenburg   


Curator’s Introduction:  Although Motorola was a major manufacturer of a variety of semiconductor devices, including diodes, rectifiers, transistors and ICs, there was at least one unique semiconductor, “the Peltier cooler”, that was never a Motorola product.  Ralph’s comments on an early evaluation of this product with Lester Hogan might explain why. (Note: The complete Ralph Greenburg Oral History can be found at the Transistor Museum™ homepage).


Peltier Gives Hogan the Cold Shoulder


In 1956 the Semiconductor Operations were moved from 56th St. plant to the then new facility at 52nd St. and McDowell Rd.  The Applications Engineer Laboratory was on the north side of Building A, complete with windows and a view of Camelback Mountain. When Dr. C. Lester Hogan joined Motorola as the General Manager of Semiconductor operations his office was right down the hall.  Dr. Hogan would often drop by the lab to see what we were doing and solicit ideas for improvements in semiconductor devices. We would read off a laundry list of transistor improvements--Higher power, higher frequency, higher gain, better quality and lower price.  Clearly he made note of our requests because all of those things happened.


Hogan was intrigued with any new application circuit.  No matter how weird the experiments, Hogan was interested.  Once, Fred Maynard, our resident idea man, developed the “Terraquaphone”, an audio transmitter hooked to a metal stake driven in the ground and thirty feet away another stake hooked to a receiver.  The earth conducted the information in a barely audible manner.  Hogan thought that this was great, but nobody else did (I bet earthworms could have used the device).


The Product Marketing Department was next to the Lab and as it expanded the Applications Lab had to be moved.   Facility managers (Such as, Norm Bell, Jim Schmidlin and their cohorts) thought Application Engineers were happy if they had white socks, a shirt with a pocket (so there was a place to put the pocket protector) and an A.C. outlet to plug in a soldering iron.  Of course they were right and the Lab could be any place, we would be happy in a tent.   Which is exactly where we were moved.  The official name was N building which was a war surplus prefab Butler Building made with a steel frame covered with galvanized iron sheets and complete with a pitched roof.  It was immediately dubbed the “Tin Tent”.  The tent had no windows, but that didn’t matter since all one could see were the adjacent acid storage shed and the waste solvent settling tanks.  Not only did it not have windows it had no plumbing.  Rest rooms were in the main building.


Go To Greenburg “Peltier Gives Hogan the Cold Shoulder”, Page 2


A Transistor Museum™ History of Transistors Publication

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