Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas is one of the largest of today's semiconductor companies. The company got its start as Geophysical Services, Inc., which built electronics to search for oil. During World War II, they modified their technology to help the US Navy search for submarines, and soon decided to devote themselves full time to military electronics. In 1951, the company first became known as Texas Instruments (TI) and they applied to Bell Labs for a license to build transistors -- at that time, after all, the number one use of transistors was expected to be in military applications. At first Bell didn't think the tiny company could handle becoming a semiconductor manufacturer, but TI was persistent and they were allowed to buy a license.
As it was, TI managed to build the very first commercial silicon transistors with the help of Gordon Teal, whom they hired away from Bell in 1952. This was the start of big things for the company, which soon grew into a semiconductor powerhouse. The first integrated circuit and the first hand-held calculator were also both built at TI.
Today, the company continues to be involved with digital processing and digital imaging, and it has manufacturing or sales operations in more than 25 countries around the globe.
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