Elmer Wolff Jr


Oral History

 Elmer Wolff Jr (Continued)


 I do remember one fact about these point contact transistors that I thought was funny at the time.  D.D. McBride, a watch maker by trade, was very skilled and had been hired as the point contact assembler because of his watch making experience.  McBride would start 100 headers, report an 80% test yield during the assembly process, and finish the run with 100 good devices.  Dave Robertson, in the Accounting department, had a very hard time reconciling how 100 “starts” X 80% yield produced 100 good finished devices.  McBride, of course, used his skills to reset and adjust the points on the electrical failures until they also tested good.  I’m not sure if Dave ever figured out how to handle this from an accounting point of view.  The next assignment was involved with the development and refinement of the grown junction  transistor, identified with the TI 200 series part number. 


Oral History – Elmer Wolff Jr




Here is a section of an ad from a November 1953 Electronics magazine.  Elmer Wolff had been working at the TI Semiconductor Division for only a couple of months at this time and had assumed the role of development engineer for the new 200 series grown junction germanium transistor.  This ad shows the specs for these transistors and most likely presents performance parameters measured and calculated by Mr. Wolff himself.


Of course, at this time, only germanium was used, and all these units were of that material.  This transistor was much more rugged, could dissipate more power, was more reliable and easier to build.  The combination of these attributes opened up a wider range of potential uses and applications.  The relatively small size and low power characteristics of the junction transistor led to the exploration of use in hearing aids with the Sonotone Corporation.   At that time there was no experience in the electronics industry in the use and applications of transistors.  We had the devices available, but no one outside the manufacturers of transistors knew how to use them. 


Wolff Oral History, Page 4


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

Page 3