TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: JFK Assassination

Re: JFK Assassination

Scott Dorsey (
1 Dec 2005 13:49:21 -0500

<> wrote:

> a reliable and inexpensive product was a difficult long task.

> According to the IBM history, at first transistors were made by hand
> -- someone jiggled the cat whiskers and watched a scope until the
> proper effect was created. Obviously very expensive and error prone
> way to go.

These were point-contact transistors.

> Even after automation yields of working transistors were
> low. IBM research not only was developing new computers to use
> transistors, but also new technology to manufacture transistors and
> circuit cards. IBM failed to patent or license the manufacturing
> technology not realizing how valuable it was and let its
> subcontractors take it and re-use it. (Kind of like PC-DOS).

For the most part, the Mesa process that made mass production of
consistent transistors possible was the result of research done at

It is true that there was a lot of work being done by the IBM T.J.
Watson Research center on transistor fabrication. And it is true that
all of that research got used by IBMs competitors long before IBM.
This is, however, pretty much the story of everything that was
developed at Watson, from sealed hard disks to RISC. IBM was never
good at developing products out of their own research.

But the IBM semiconductor research at the time was not really all that
important in the grand scheme of things.

> The end result was that until the late 1950s, transistors cost more
> than tubes.

For a lot of applications, this remained the case until the early
seventies. For power RF applications, it remained the case until
about five years ago.

> The president of IBM went around with the new transistor portable
> radios and had to give an order that all new computers would be built
> with transistors instead of tubes. One of IBM's early efforts was a
> transistorized punched card calculator (IBM 608/609) which was more of
> a prototype and test bed rather than a commercial product.

Yes, but don't forget that the Univac Solid-State computer came out
before IBM built anything practical. Univac was using Philco
transistors of somewhat doubtful characteristics as I recall.


"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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