Transistors Take Their First Steps Into the Real World


The first commercially available transistors weren't much like the ones we use today.  For one thing, they were big enough to actually see -- something the millions of transistors on a tiny computer chip today certainly aren't.  But they also used different mechanisms.  Since the point-contact transistor was invented first, it was the first one to be developed for the market place.  But that style didn't last long, since Shockley's improved junction transistor was quickly shown to be the better model.  Today's transistors are descended from Shockley's version. 

Raytheon built the first commercially available point-contact transistor -- made out of germanium -- in 1949.  Known as the CK703, it never was all that easy to produce and wasn't particularly successful. 

Raytheon had better luck a few years later with a junction transistor.  In 1953 they put out the very first mass-produced transistor, also made out of germanium.  It was called the CK722. The main body of the transistor was less than half an inch long. 

-- Crystal Fire by Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson  
-- The Early History of the Transistor 

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