Joel Ollendorf received a B.M.E
degree from Renssaler Polytechnic
Institute in 1950. After
graduation, he entered the Navy. In
1953, he joined the Tube Division of RCA at Harrison, N.J. as a transistor
design engineer. His early
transistor work was principally in the development of high, medium and low
power audio and high frequency transistors. Over a 35 year
career with RCA, Joel made numerous technical contributions to the field of
semiconductor device design and development. He was issued eight patents related to this work, as well as
numerous industry awards, including
the David Sarnoff Outstanding Achievement Award in 1966 for “team
performance in developing the first line-operated audio output transistor,
for the economical transistorization of home radio and television
This is a scan of RCA’s first commercial,
transistorized TV, the model
KCS-153. It was introduced in 1965/66,
and consisted on a high reliability design which used several of the line
voltage transistors developed by Joel and his team.
Oral History – Joel Ollendorf
This Oral History was taken in Oct 2000, with additional
material supplied by Elaine Ollendorf in Feb 2001.
I graduated from Renssalear in
1950, and because of the Korean War, joined the Navy right away. This was supposed to be a 15 month
assignment, but turned into a 3 year assignment. I was an Electronics Repair Officer on a ship, after graduating
from the Naval Electronics School on Treasure Island in the Bay Area. I was released from active duty in June
1953. I wasn’t sure what to do
about a job, but my father suggested that I should try RCA at Harrison,
because “They treat engineers very well”.
So I went for a job intervview.
At that time, RCA was just starting semiconductor development and
the manager of the group (Jack Gifford was his name) showed me a crude,
amber colored plastic device – it was an early point contact or junction transistor. I was intrigued, but since my degree
was in Mechanical Engineering and I had no training in solid state, I said
“I really don’t know anything about transistors”. Jack replied, “That’s ok. We don’t either. These things are giving us all kinds of
problems”. I started in the transistor group right away, in July of 1953.
To Ollendorf Oral History, Page 2