Gerald B. Herzog

Oral History – Jerry Herzog


Oral History – Jerry Herzog



First Projects at RCA.

Starting at RCA Labs in 1951, my first assignment was working with a group that was studying the infrared detection properties of semiconductors at liquid helium temperature. While it was semiconductor work, it did not have much to do with transistors.  However, I heard about the work Charlie Mueller was doing making junction transistors and managed to get a couple of sample units.  I took them home, and working on a card table in the bedroom, I built a ham radio circuit for myself.  This resulted in my first transistor circuit patent.


My next assignment was working with Jerry Kurshan, who had designed a curve tracer using an existing oscilloscope.  Bob Lohman had started to work with Jerry on this project and I joined Bob to finish it up.   This curve tracer became a valuable tool for the laboratory.  It provided steps of bias control signals as the collector voltage was swept out to as much as 1000 volts.  While there were no transistors available in those days that could come anywhere near 100 volts, it was built with the future in mind.  Bias could be either controlled with constant voltage steps or constant current steps.  Bob moved on to work with George Sziklai on audio transistor circuits while I finished up the curve tracer.   After Bob and I demonstrated the curve tracer to some fascinated visiting engineers from Bell Labs, I joined Bob working with George Sziklai.




Go To Herzog Oral History, Page 3



This is a photo of the transistor curve tracer described by Jerry in the Oral History.   As he mentions, this device was developed jointly with Bob Lohman and Jerry Kurshan at the RCA Labs in the early 1950s.  This photo is from the article “A Transistor Curve Tracer”, written by the three above authors, dated September 30, 1952, and published in the RCA Industry Service Laboratory Journal.  Performance curves of various prototype and early production junction transistors are shown in the article, having been first displayed  on the unit’s oscilloscope and then photographed with a Land camera.  It is likely that this unit was the first documented use of a curve tracer to test transistor performance.   The unit was large, approximately three 3 ft wide and seven feet tall. 





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