Joel Ollendorf


Oral History – Joel Ollendorf



I was a “device” guy.  It was a wonderful time, very exciting, with major breakthroughs almost every day.  My initial work was trying to understand the physical structure of transistors.  I worked for many years at the Somerville NJ Semiconductor plant, which, by the way, was demolished recently to make room for a shopping center.  From 1955/56 through 1960 I was in charge of power transistor development.  This was after my work on the 2N301 team.  We had pretty good results, but the frequency response was never great.  We built a germanium “diffused-base” unit.  These were very popular and worked well as audio power transistors.  The units ended up in the first HiFi Solid State Amps built by Heathkit.






This is a photo of a Heathkit AA-22 Transistor Stereo Amplifier specification sheet, dated 1964.  Joel Ollendorf was the team leader of the development group at the RCA Semiconductor facility in Somerville NJ which developed the transistor types used in this amplifier.  This was one of the first solid state HiFi amplifiers available to the public.






Oral History – Joel Ollendorf



The following summary was developed from material supplied by Elaine Ollendorf

in Jan 2001.


1953-1968: Mr. Ollendorf held a variety of postions at RCA in the Solid State Division during this time.  He was the engineering leader responsible for power transistor development for consumer electronics applications.  He directed development of numerous industry firsts, such as first power output transistor suitable for high fidelity audio applications, first successful TV horizontal deflection transistor, first high voltage audio output for operation at line voltage.  The products developed in this period generated many millions of dollars in margin.


1968-1972:  Joel left RCA during this time to become a Cofounder and VP for Powertech Inc. in Clifton, NJ.  He designed very large silicon power transistors and Darlington arrays with switching capability up to 1200 amps at 80v.  The company was successful both technically and commercially. 





Go To Ollendorf Oral History, Page 3







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