EARLY SEMICONDUCTOR DEVELOPMENT AT SHOCKLEY TRANSISTOR CORPORATION 

Gene Weckler

 

Oral History – Gene Weckler

(Continued)

 

When I got out of college I contacted him, but that was when things were falling apart at Shockley.  Engineering jobs were scarce in 1958.   I took a job with Convair Astronautics for 6 months – I had a “moving clause” in my contract, but at the end of that obligation, I was out of there.  You know, one of 3000 engineers, on a cost plus engineering assignment.   That was when I interviewed at both Hewlett Packard and Shockley Transistor Corp. I had a bad interview with Barney Oliver at HP (maybe one of us was having a bad day).   Anyway, by the time I got back to San Diego, Shockley had made me an offer.

 

Who did you interview with at Shockley?

I interviewed with Rudy Biesele.  He was the General manager at Shockley at that time. I did have a few words with Shockley.   This was the first part of 1959.  Clevite hadn’t yet bought Shockley – that occurred in 1960. (It was announced on April Fool’s Day, 1960). 

 

What was your job responsibility?

I came in as an applications engineer, but I soon was wearing “many hats”.  From applications I moved to testing and characterization of 4 layer diodes.  I developed test equipment for manufacturing and supported the R&D staff with electronic instrumentation.  With help from the Clevite QA Department, I wrote the first mil-spec for a 4 layer diode, circa 1961.  Probably the most fun was developing dynamic displays for trade show exhibits.

 

Go To Weckler Oral History, Page 3

 

 

Oral History – Gene Weckler (Continued)

 

 

This is a scan of the price list from Shockley Transistor Corporation, dated Sept 1958.  Note that the complete offering consisted of four models of the 4N series diodes, with each model number representing the breakdown voltage of the device – 4N20D had a breakdown voltage of 20V, the 4N30D had a breakdown voltage of 30V, and so on.  According to Gene, the manufacturing process for the 4-layer diodes was very demanding, and particularly sensitive to moisture.  Units were sorted into the appropriate performance categories based on “end of line” test results.  

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