Transistor Museum Lecture Hall

Tonight Featuring William Brower from Western Electric, National Union and Most Recently from Texas Instruments on the Topic:

“The Art and Science of Building the First Commercial Silicon Grown Junction Transistors”


Curator’s Introduction


Good evening and welcome to another interesting lecture on the History of Transistors. Tonight we are privileged to hear the details and first hand experiences of Mr. William Brower as he describes his work at Texas Instruments, starting in 1955, on the silicon grown junction transistor.  As many of you may know, this transistor type was the first really major commercial use of silicon in transistors and established TI as a major player in the world of semiconductors.  TI announced commercial availability of silicon transistors in 1954 and was several years ahead of all competition in this important product type – silicon transistors had much better temperature performance than did germanium and TI reaped tremendous commercial success with this product.    Bill’s talk tonight will provide excellent insight into the early days of TI and this important technology.




The Art and Science of Silicon Grown Junction Transistors

by Bill Brower

Material for this lecture was provided by Mr. Brower in Oct, 2000.


My involvement with the early days of the grown junction transistor began in Feb, 1955 when I left National Union with Jay Reese and joined Texas Instruments.  I was hired to work on a new Army Signal Corps contract to develop silicon transistors for military use.  It was recognized that the germanium transistors then available would not be able to perform at the high temperatures common to military applications.  TI had invented the silicon transistor, the first of its kind, using grown junction technology.  At the time, Mark Sheppard, later to become CEO and President, was the chief engineer and Boyd Cornelison was in charge of production.  


The silicon transistor material was grown in a crystal-pulling machine using the Czochraski crystal growth principle.  A quartz crucible filled with polycrystalline purified silicon was enclosed in a graphite crucible that was heated by radio frequency induced currents from a surrounding induction coil.


Bill Brower, Page 2



COPYRIGHT © 2001 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.