EARLY TRANSISTOR HISTORY AT

TEXAS INSTRUMENTS 

Edwin G. Millis

 

Oral History – Ed Millis

(Continued)

 

                       

                

 

The top photo shows examples of TI germanium grown junction transistors from the mid 1950s.  These were manufactured by the hundreds of thousands for use in radios.  The examples shown here are from a Westinghouse radio.  Note the slip-on heat sink, which was used on the two “push pull” transistors, like the 2N185 mentioned in Ed’s Oral History. The heat sink allowed these transistors to provide a higher audio output. The bottom scan shows a type 301 germanium alloy junction TI transistor, again from the mid 1950s.  Ed indicates in his commentary that he managed the group of four assemblers who were responsible for making this transistor.  TI made very few germanium alloy transistors, concentrating instead on grown junction germanium and silicon types.

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Oral History – Ed Millis

(Continued)

 

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. 

Millis Oral History, Page 3

 

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