A Transistor Museum Interview with Ray Andrejasich

Recollections of Early Transistor Radio Technology

at Zenith Radio Corporation 

 

Oral History – Ray Andrejasich

Ray, please recount your first experience with transistors.

 

First of all, my interest in electronics (we said “radio” in those days) started at age 10.  I was given a crystal radio by my older brother Frank.  He was attending a military high school at the time and built a set so he could listen to night time radio after “lights out.”  It had a galena crystal probed by a copper cats-whisker and a beautiful set of high impedance Bell earphones.  That was in 1945 when the “bug” bit me.  After that, I became a frequent visitor of Army surplus electronic stores.  Following the latest technologies at the time, I “souped up” my crystal set by using the Army surplus 1N34 diodes to replace my cantankerous galena crystal.  Around three years later (1948) the transistor became commercially available, a product of Bell Laboratories.  In 1951, I saved up my allowance and purchased a Raytheon CK716 point contact transistor from Allied Radio in downtown Chicago.  At that time, $23.00 was a lot of money and my folks thought I was crazy.  But then again, the CK716 was a crazy transistor!  It came in a brass cylinder with two pins at one end.  The metal case was the base contact and the pins were the collector and emitter contacts.  I had to contact Cinch Corporation for a special socket (which thankfully they sent at no charge).  The CK716 was a combination detector/amplifier.  In my radio, it knocked the boots off the magnetic speaker and gave comfortable room volume on ALL the Chicago stations.

 

Go To Andrejasich Oral History, Page 3

 

 

Oral History – Ray Andrejasich

 

 

Shown above top is a photo of two Raytheon CK716 point contact transistors, which became available commercially in 1951.  Note the unique pin-out at the bottom of the rightmost CK716.  As mentioned by Ray, a special socket was required for these early transistors, as shown with the CK716 at top left.  Shown also is a section of the 1953 Allied Radio Catalog, listing the remarkable CK716 for $18. Ray had bought his CK716 in 1951, and the price then had been $23 – that’s almost $200 in today’s dollars.  Ray’s first-hand experience with transistors began only three years after the public announcement of the transistor in 1948.

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