Bernard N. Slade


Biographic Note


Bernard (Bob) Slade has been actively involved in semiconductor technology since the earliest days of transistor development.  His career has been notable for the number of significant “firsts” associated with his transistor work in the 1950s and 1960s.  Here is a partial list:


1. Bob joined RCA on June 30, 1948, which was the same day that Bell Labs made the public announcement of the invention of the transistor.  Bob soon became the first transistor engineer at RCA’s world class Vacuum Tube Division in Harrison N.J.


2. He developed the processes required to produce high speed point contact transistors which demonstrated sufficient stability and performance to allow the development of the first transistorized TV receiver [1] by researchers at the RCA Labs.  One of these devices was also used to power the first transistorized “Ham Radio” transmitter. [2]


3. He established one of first point contact transistor manufacturing lines in the industry, with pioneering work that led to the 1953 announcement by RCA of the commercial availability of the 2N32 and 2N33 point contact transistors.


4. Bob authored the first comprehensive survey of industry-wide transistor development in the early 1950s – his series,  “Survey of Transistor Development, Parts 1,2 and 3” appeared in the September, October, and November 1952 issues of Radio and Television News.  [3]


5. He developed the prototype power transistors which were used in the first solid state “Hi-Fi” amplifier. [4]



Oral History – Bob Slade


6. In addition, as manager of the RCA Semiconductor Advanced Development Group, Bob wrote numerous technical articles in the 1950s which primarily described the technical advances developed by Bob and his team.  In 1956, Mr. Slade went to work for IBM and established the first germanium alloy computer transistor manufacturing facility for IBM and later became the Director of Manufacturing Technology. 


This Oral History was originally developed in 1999, and has been updated with additional material in 2005, and covers the time that Bob worked at RCA.  Bob’s work at IBM is documented in a companion Oral History.


What years did you work at RCA?  What positions did you hold and at which facilities?


I worked for RCA from June 1948 until August 1956. From 1948 until 1954, I was an engineer in and later managed the Semiconductor Advanced Development at the Harrison, N.J. Tube Division. In 1954, I joined the RCA Research Laboratories at Princeton, N. J. as a research engineer where I continued to carry out my activities in transistor development.


Go To Slade Oral History, Page 2


Slade Historic Audio Recordings



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