Silicon Age

• The crucial component of an electronic device is a controllable valve that lets a weak signal control a much larger flow much as a faucet controls the flow of water.

• At one time the controllable valve used in electronic circuits was the vacuum tube. The vacuum tube worked but it was bulky and used a lot of electrical power that ended up as heat which shortened the life of the tube itself.

• The transistor was a much more elegant solution to the needs of electronics. The transistor is small and uses much, much less power than the vacuum tube.

• The transistor was successfully demonstrated on December 23, 1947 at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

• The three individuals credited with the invention of the transistor were William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.

• Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas first started commercial production of junction transistors for portable radios in 1954.

• The Sony Company of Japan soon acquired the right to produce transistors and came to dominate the market.

• In the 1960’s Sony began to manufacture television sets using transistors rather than vacuum tubes. Soon afterwards vacuum tube technology became obsolete.

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