I never did get very good at
that. But we all took turns at all the jobs, and it was hard to tell who
was actually running the production line. We made a pretty fine team if I
do say so, and on a good day we could crank out a hundred transistors,
although sometimes I had to come back at night to finish canning them.
My other official foreman duty
was to manage D.D. “Mac” McBride, the sole producer of TI point contact
transistors. The point contact transistor was the very earliest type and
the first transistor product put into production at TI. It was also the
first to become obsolete. McBride would build a batch of thirty units
every two days, test them, and put the good ones into stock. Then someone
noticed that no point contacts had been sold in months. My short and easy
career of being the foreman of the point contact transistor assembly line
came to an end, as we soon ceased production of this type.
As the production lines got
more and more crowded at the Bowling Alley, it became obvious that a major
change was needed. The impetus for the change came from the oppressive
temperatures in the summer from overcrowding and lack of an adequate air
conditioning system. Our lead Product Engineer, Jim Lineback, who was in
charge of the technical aspects of transistor production, showed his bosses
that we were failing good transistors because of the temperature.
Oral History, Page 3