Documenting Over 30 Years of

 Major Contributions by RCA to Transistor Development


The transistor was invented by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley at Bell Labs in December 1947.  Several major U.S. companies responded to this initial work with large scale research and manufacturing programs which transformed the early “lab curiosity” aspects of the transistor into a mature, ever-evolving technology, responsible for billions of dollars in commerce and providing the technological basis for the modern electronics and computer industries.  RCA was an early and substantial contributor to the development of the transistor.  This publication documents many of these major RCA accomplishments.  Interviews and correspondences with engineers and scientists who were involved form the basis for this material.  You’ll also find photographs of prototype and early production units, as well as a comprehensive coverage of early RCA transistor literature.


This photo shows one of the earliest RCA commercial transistors, a 2N32 point contact germanium unit from 1953 – there is a similar junction unit shown in the photo in the upper right, which has been taken from a 1953 RCA publication extolling the virtues and future of this new technology. 






Biographies and Oral Histories

Actual Interviews and Written Comments From Many of the Key Technical Contributors to the RCA Early Transistor Program, Including:


Adolph Blicher

Herb Meisel

Norm Ditrick

Bob Mendelson

Dick Endres

Archer Mohr

Gerald Herzog

Charles Mueller

Fred Hunter

Joel Ollendorf

Israel Kalish

Jacques Pankove

Robert Kleppinger

Bob Slade

Jerome Kurshan

Tom Stanley

HC Lin

Frank Wheatley



From these early, historic “handmade” devices, RCA pioneered an impressive number of semiconductor developments over the next three decades.  It has been quite a historic journey for the scientists and engineers at RCA, all the way from the Harrison NJ pilot transistor production line in 1952 to the myriad of devices now in use, including the 1802 Rad-Hardened" microprocessors currently controlling the Galileo spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter. RCA devices were also used in some of the first hearing aids, transistor radios, television sets, computers, the Apollo program Lunar Excursion Module and the International Space Station.


COPYRIGHT © 2001, 2005, 2012 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com

RCA Transistor History Index