The first transistor radio

"It was on [Oct. 18] in 1954 that the first transistor radio appeared on the market.
Transistors were a big breakthrough in electronics ? a new way to
amplify signals. They replaced vacuum tubes, which were fragile, slow to warm up, and unreliable. During World War II, there was a big funding push to try to update vacuum tubes, since they were used in radio-controlled bombs but didn't work very well. A team of scientists at Bell Laboratories invented the first transistor technology in 1947. But the announcement didn't make much of an impact because transistors had limited use for everyday consumers ? they were used mainly in military technology, telephone switching equipment, and hearing aids.
Several companies bought licenses from Bell, including Texas Instruments, who was bent on being the first to market with a transistor radio. Radios were mostly big, bulky devices that stayed in one place ? usually in the living room ? while the whole family gathered around to listen to programming. There were some portable radios made with vacuum tubes, but they were about the size of lunch boxes, they used heavy nonrechargeable batteries, they took a long time to start working while the tubes warmed up, and they were fragile. Texas Instruments was determined to create a radio that was small and portable, and to get it out for the Christmas shopping season. They produced the transistors, and they partnered with the Regency Division of Industrial Development Engineering Associates, who manufactured the actual radios. Their new radio, the Regency TR-1, turned on immediately, weighed half a pound, and could fit in your pocket. It cost $49.95, and more than 100,000 were sold.
Texas Instruments went on to pursue other projects, but a Japanese company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo decided to make transistor radios their main enterprise. They were concerned that their name was too difficult for an American audience to pronounce, so they decided to rebrand themselves with something simpler. They looked up the Latin word for sound, which was sonus. And they liked the term sonny boys ? English slang that was used in Japan for exceptionally bright, promising boys. And so the company Sony was born. Soon transistor radios were cheap and prevalent.
With transistor radios, teenagers were able to listen to music out of their parents' earshot. This made possible the explosion of a new genre of American music: rock and roll. (Writer's Almanac)
You know, I hadn't thought about it, but that last line is right .. I couldn't listen to rock music until I got a little transistor radio as a teen .. adults were always hollering 'turn that awful stuff off!'
BTW - when I moved here 18 years ago I plugged CB's old transistor clock radio in the garage, playing a loud rock station 24/7 to make bad guys think someone is home .. it's still going. v
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The first transistor was patented in the 1920s by Lillienfield, he did not work for Bell Labs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_Edgar_Lilienfeld
Julius Edgar Lilienfeld (April 18, 1882 August 28, 1963) was an Austro-Hungarian physicist. He was born in Lemberg in Austria-Hungary (now called Lviv in Ukraine), moved to the United States in the early 1920s, and became an American citizen in 1934. Lilienfeld is credited with the first patents on the field effect transistor (1920s) and electrolytic capacitor (1931).
The very first radios were all solid state as they used a point contact diode as the detector.
Can you find the article in your almanac that claims that Boeing invented the airplane?
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He patented the concept, not the first transistor.
http://www.todaysengineer.org/2003/may/history.asp
Excerpts:
"...No one really knows whether Lilienfeld ever tried to build his device. Even if he did, the device would not have worked well, if at all, since the production of high-quality semiconductor materials was still decades away. Thus, in the 1920s and 1930s, Lilienfeld's solid-state amplifier ideas had no practical value to the radio industry.
Like so many patents, Lilienfeld's went into obscurity. *Nevertheless, his ideas* embody the principles of the modern-day, field-effect transistor (FET)...."
~~~~~
"Lilienfeld had the basic concept of controlling the flow of current in a semiconductor to make an amplifying device. It took many years of theory development and material technology to make his dream a reality."
Akin to differentiating extractions and removing tumors. "Ether" or...
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It's pretty hard to patent an idea. In Lilienfield's patent one can see that he teaches on how to build the device:
http://www.google.com/patents/US1745175
Apparently his disclosures were sufficient enough for Bell Labs to reproduce the device and have it work - before they developed their cruder but different version of a transistor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_transistor
The first patent[1] for the field-effect transistor principle was filed in Canada by Austrian-Hungarian physicist Julius Edgar Lilienfeld on October 22, 1925, but Lilienfeld published no research articles about his devices, and his work was ignored by industry. In 1934 German physicist Dr. Oskar Heil patented another field-effect transistor.[2] There is no direct evidence that these devices were built, but later work in the 1990s show that one of Lilienfeld's designs worked as described and gave substantial gain. Legal papers from the Bell Labs patent show that William Shockley and a co-worker at Bell Labs, Gerald Pearson, had built operational versions from Lilienfeld's patents, yet they never referenced this work in any of their later research papers or historical articles.
So Bell Labs, in legal depositions, admits to replicating Lilienfield's work.
Bell Lab's first transistor was a point contact transistor - just like the point contact diode used for decades prior:
The Bell team made many attempts to build such a system with various tools, but generally failed. Setups where the contacts were close enough were invariably as fragile as the original cat's whisker detectors had been, and would work briefly, if at all. Eventually they had a practical breakthrough. A piece of gold foil was glued to the edge of a plastic wedge, and then the foil was sliced with a razor at the tip of the triangle. The result was two very closely spaced contacts of gold. When the plastic was pushed down onto the surface of a crystal and voltage applied to the other side (on the base of the crystal), current started to flow from one contact to the other as the base voltage pushed the electrons away from the base towards the other side near the contacts. The point-contact transistor had been invented.
Interestingly others developed similar devices at the same time:
At the same time some European scientists were led by the idea of solid-state amplifiers. In August 1948 German physicists Herbert F. Matar (1912-2011) and Heinrich Welker (1912-1981), working at Compagnie des Freins et Signaux Westinghouse in Aulnay-sous-Bois, France applied for a patent on an amplifier based on the minority carrier injection process which they called the "transistron".[9][10][11][dead link] [12] Since Bell Labs did not make a public announcement of the transistor until June 1948, the transistron was considered to be independently developed. Matar had first observed transconductance effects during the manufacture of germanium diodes for German radar equipment during WWII. Transistrons were commercially manufactured for the French telephone company and military, and in 1953 a solid-state radio receiver with four transistrons was demonstrated at the Dsseldorf Radio Fair.
The germanium bipolar transistor (used in early transistor radios) came into existence in 1950:
Bell immediately put the point-contact transistor into limited production at Western Electric in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Prototypes of all-transistor AM radio receivers were demonstrated, but were really only laboratory curiosities. However, in 1950 Shockley developed a radically different type of solid-state amplifier which became known as the Bipolar Junction "transistor". Although it works on a completely different principle to the point-contact "transistor", this is the device which is most commonly referred to as simply a "transistor" today. Morgan Sparks made the bipolar junction transistor into a practical device.[15][16] These were also licensed to a number of other electronics companies, including Texas Instruments, who produced a limited run of transistor radios as a sales tool. Early transistors were chemically unstable and only suitable for low-power, low-frequency applications, but as transistor design developed, these problems were slowly overcome.
Today field effect transistors are the most used devices. Germanium transistors are almost never used except as heat or radiation measurement sensors. Bipolar transistors are still used. The point contact or tunneling devices are typically used at very high frequencies. Tubes are still used especially in high power and in high temperature environments.
Shockley himself can be heard right on this YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAszZr3SkEs

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Original claim was that he patented the first transistor, which is untrue.
From the cite you provided.."The first patent[1] for the field-effect transistor *principle*.
Neither does "....teaching how to build the device..." amount to or qualify as a patent on the first transistor.
Interesting study, however...your latest, selective raison d'etre and fact-checking target of the moment.
Carry on. Though I'm sure others will check out veracity/accuracy for themselves, if so inclined.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor
From November 17, 1947 to December 23, 1947, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at AT&T's Bell Labs in the United States, performed experiments and observed that when two gold point contacts were applied to a crystal of germanium, a signal was produced with the output power greater than the input.[8] Solid State Physics Group leader William Shockley saw the potential in this, and over the next few months worked to greatly expand the knowledge of semiconductors. The term transistor was coined by John R. Pierce as a portmanteau of the term "transfer resistor".[9][10] According to Lillian Hoddeson and Vicki Daitch, authors of a biography of John Bardeen, Shockley had proposed that Bell Labs' first patent for a transistor should be based on the field-effect and that he be named as the inventor. Having unearthed Lilienfeld's patents that went into obscurity years earlier, lawyers at Bell Labs advised against Shockley's proposal because the idea of a field-effect transistor that used an electric field as a "grid" was not new. Instead, what Bardeen, Brattain, and Shockley invented in 1947 was the first point-contact transistor.[6] In acknowledgement of this accomplishment, Shockley, Bardeen, and Brattain were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect."[11]
The irrefutable PBS:
http://www.pbs.org/transistor/background1/events/patbat.html
The Line is Drawn: January 1948
William Shockley had some strong ideas about inventions. He felt that the person who had the original idea was the sole inventor and should be the only name on the patent. When Walter Brattain and John Bardeen developed the first transistor, Shockley believed that the original ideas had been his own. Never mind that their transistor didn't work anything like the one Shockley had envisioned.
In January, Shockley called Bardeen and Brattain into his office separately, to announce he fully intended to be the only person on the transistor's patent. Each man responded in a fairly characteristic way. The quiet Bardeen said little and stormed out. The boisterous Brattain snapped: "Oh hell, Shockley, there's enough glory in this for everybody!"
The Patent Lawyers Have Their Say: Spring 1948
Determined to be the only person on the transistor patent, Shockley turned to the Bell Labs lawyers. Bell administration usually supported Shockley's endeavors since he was the leader of the group -- and a productive one. But as the lawyers began to formulate their patent application, they found something disturbing. In the 1930s, a man named Julius Lilienfeld had filed a patent for a device almost identical to Shockley's original idea. Since the transistor built by Bardeen and Brattain was undeniably different, Bell decided to file solely on their work -- dismissing Shockley's ideas completely.
Shockley had wanted to be listed as the sole inventor of the transistor; he was now not to be on the patent at all. Bardeen and Brattain were vindicated; Shockley extremely distressed. A wedge had been firmly driven between the three men, and it was only to get worse.
Four Patents Filed, Two Accepted: Summer 1948
In the end, Bell's attorneys filed four patents on the initial solid state amplifier. Two were on the initial work Bardeen, Brattain and Gibney had done exploring Shockley's field effect transistor, one was for the Bardeen/Brattain device, and one for Shockley's improved version which he called a junction transistor. These were all filed by the summer of 1948, just before Bell announced the invention to the press.
The first two were rejected quickly in November of the same year. The US Patent Office said they were too similar to the Lilienfeld work done almost 20 years before. But the second two -- for the point contact transistor and the junction transistor -- were deemed acceptable. Final score: Bardeen and Brattain got a patent for their work, while Shockley got a patent for a different invention with only his own name at the top -- fcas he'd desired.
It's Not Over 'Til It's Over: 1970
Arthur Torsiglieri, one of Bell's patent lawyers, tells a story showing that the patent battle smouldered within William Shockley for years. In the 1970s, Shockley called up Torsiglieri trying to override the Bardeen/Brattain patent. Shockley pointed out that there was some overlap between the three men's patents -- one figure in his patent suggested he had had similar ideas as to how to build a point-junction transistor long before Bardeen and Brattain did.
As it was, Shockley was not able to prove that his earlier research was successful. Having similar ideas was not enough, he had to show that he had ideas that would have worked.
Last but certainly not least, Lilienfield's patent for a device with results described herein:
http://www.google.com/patents/US1900018
DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING ELECTRIC CURRENT Filed March 28. 1928 avwemto'c t/uZzusEdyarLz'ZzenfZd v 33313 M alien 1' March 7, 1933. J, N 1,900,018
DEVICE FOR CONTROLLING ELECTRIC CURRENT Filed March 28. 1928 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 avwwwoz Julius EdgarL ilz'enfield The dielectric layer may readily be attained of this minute thickness by electrolytic or by purely chemical methods, e. g. heat oxidation, sulfurization, .etc., forming the same of and directly on the metal base; and a dielectric layer consisting of the oxide of aluminum thus formed directly of an under lying solid conducting base of aluminum has been found very satisfactory for the purpose. Over this layer is to be provided the superposed coating of substantially greater 0011- ductivity than the dielectric, and suitable provision is to be made for affording electrical connection on the one hand with the base element and on the'other hand with the conducting coating located about the intermediate dielectric.
In many cases, very satisfactory results are had with the superposed coating consistingpartly or wholly ofa compound of certain metals and this may be attained in different ways. For instance, if a metal, e.v g. copper, electrode is used in spattering, layers of different natures may be obtained according to the gas filling'of the spattering container as well as to the electrical conditions prevailing therein. Thus, either a pure metallic layer, (Cu), layer of a compound (Cu O) or, preferably, a mixture of both may be produced directly by the spattering process.
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Per the above...
"...Having

Note throughout....Lilienfeld's "idea", "concept", "principle".
None of the cites, including and perhaps especially Wikipedia...which has often been dismissed because of the editing ability feature, prove Lilienfeld patented the first transistor, as was first claimed. And that's irrefutable.
End of subject...but...enjoy the trivial pursuit. :)

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