1) Panel Discussion by Golden BBS TRIO
The Panel discussion on the 25th anniversary commemoration of transistor invention was held at a hotel in New York City in March, 1973, hosted by IEEE. The Panelists were "BBS TRIO" of Bell Telephone Laboratories shown in the photograph.
W. Shockley Abundant ability & the leader of the colleagues.
J. Bardeen Theoretician & the youngest of them. - - -
2) Gold Medal vs. Bronze Medal
The photograph is a replica of the commemoration medal that IEEE presented to the three inventors prior to the opening of the 25th anniversary panel discussion on transistor invention. The medals were actually gold ones, but one handed over to me, as one of the press staff, was a bronze medal imprinted by the same mold. The attached paper humorously said, "To you who didn't invent a transistor." - - -
3) Chick, Break your Eggshell and Come out
Such commemoration ceremonies as “XX anniversary of invention” are often held in US, the nation which is both in name and in reality a superpower in science and technology. They are very talented in promoting these events to national level events, probably owing to their national traits of loving jubilation and merrymaking.
The 25th anniversary of transistor invention was one of those cases. They held a panel discussion event which is also mentioned in the previous section, and set a special commemorating booth, titled, - - -
4) Cold Reaction by Newspapers toward Big Invention
Nowadays, transistor is valued as "the greatest technical innovation after the world warⅡ" or even "the biggest invention in the 20th century," but the reaction of journalism was very cold at the time of invention.
The New York Times, a major US paper, reported the invention of transistor on July 1, 1948 on the next day after the official announcement. ---
5) Transistor Information Came to Japan from GHQ [To page top]
"The transistor information came from GHQ," if we follow the saying, "Lights come from the East." As soon as the transistor invention was formally announced from Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) on June 30 1948, the information was promptly sent to Japan through GHQ (General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers) in the middle of July. ---
6) The Workshops Bustling with Researchers Groping their Way
Several study meetings and workshops were started in Japan soon after transistor information from US was spread in Japan. Researchers all felt that some surprisingly important invention was done, but it was without real understanding of what it was. And they held meetings and workshops aiming at analyzing information in detail and studying the theory.
The earliest workshop was the one which was started by Prof. ---
7) Episode of Hard Trials to Import Germanium
Although technical information of transistors came to Japan through GHQ, germanium materials for experiments and sample preparation were not available. In fact, there were very few people in Japan who ever saw real germanium when the research started.
How then did Japanese researchers get the germanium? The most reliable information is that it was procured by import from the United Kingdom. ---
8) The Japanese Pioneers who had Foreseen Semiconductor's Future
Soon after the Second World War, the serious research activities on semiconductors in Japan started, following the accomplishment of transistor invention by Bell Telephone Laboratories. But it was already during Taisho period (1912-1926) when a technical term “semiconductor” first appeared in Japanese academic journals. ---
9) Germanium Wave Detector Made in U.S.A Changed to ---
Research Institute for Electrical Communication, the organization under Electric Communication Ministry, succeeded in making a test sample of a transistor in Japan for the first time. It was soon after the institute started to take its independent activities after the separation of Communication Sector from Electrotechnical Laboratory in the summer of 1948. ---
10) Pursuing All-Made-in-Japan Single Crystals [To page top]
Although the group of Research Institute for Electrical Communication succeeded in making the first functional samples of transistors in Japan, they were not entirely satisfied by this accomplishment. It was because the utilized germanium crystals were not made in Japan. The Research Institute started to make single crystals of high purity germanium under the slogan of "Our next step is to realize all-Japan-made transistors!" ---
11) The First Product of Transistor Application in Japan
It is not that clear what was the 1st product of transistor application in Japan, but my personal view is that they must have been a transistor radio and an electronic phonograph made by Research Institute for Electrical Communication.
As trial production of transistors reached a reasonably satisfactory level, realizing uniform characteristics and performance, ---
12) Dr. Bardeen's Visit at Research Institute
It was 1953 when John Bardeen, who was one of the transistor inventors, visited Research Institute for Electrical Communication Laboratory which led Japanese transistor R&D activities. The International Conference of Theoretical Physics was held in Japan this year and he participated in the academic meeting, and dropped in the Research Institute in this opportunity. The outstanding solid state physics researchers worldwide gathered in this academic meeting, - - -
13) Polkinghorn, ‘an Enigmatical Person'
There is a bit of mystery around Polkinghorn, who handed over the information of transistor technology under the control of GHQ to Japanese team. For example, his family name is sometimes misspelled as 'Porkinghorn,' and its Japanese pronunciation varies, and so on. In addition, he is unnecessarily wrapped in mystery because of missing portrait photo of himself. ---
14) The First Introductory Report of Tansistor
My recollection is that the first magazine where the invention of transistor was reported is the July 12 1948 issue of Time, one month after the public announcement by Bell Telephone Laboratories.
According to Torao Ichinomiya previously mentioned, he customary purchased Time magazine at Tokyo Station on the way to work and he came across the article titled "Little Brain Cell" in the science column of the magazine. ---
15) Dr. Shockley Appeared on NHK Program [To page top]
William Shockley who was the key person of the invention of transistor at Bell Telephone Laboratories was invited to Japan by Institute of Electric Engineers of Japan in 1963 and he appeared on NHK for the 45 minutes' talk program with Makoto Kikuchi. They had been acquainted with each other. The photograph shows their pre-meeting on the talk program in the studio. ---
16) Kobe Kogyo, the First to Start Production of Transistors
The name of the company who first manufactured and sold transistors to outside of the company in Japan is Kobe Kogyo who was acquired by Fujitsu later.
Kobe Kogyo held a reception in January, 1954 at Ueno Seiyoken in Tokyo, where they showed a prototype of a radio to public which used point-contact transistors made by themselves. They launched the transistors into market in February, right after the reception event. ---
17) Sony who was Particular about Consumer Application
It was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (now Sony) who made an early entry to semiconductor business, as early as Kobe Kogyo. The company is said to be the very first of the post-war ventures in Japan. Partly because the company had its past history that the president, Masaru Ibuka had been engaged in the military related technology development during the war, it was particular about consumer applications of the transistors, especially about the radio applications. ---
18) The First Product which was Presented to His Majesty the Emperor
Photo A shows the internal structure of the first Japanese made transistor radio "Model TR-55" which Sony released in 1955. As described in the explanation titled as "Respectfully Presented to His Majesty the Emperor," it was the first product made by the company, and we can feel confidence and pride of the development team on the product. ---
19) The Transistor Radio which did not Get "The World's First"
It was in August, 1955 when Sony released long-cherished transistor radio "Model TR-55," which was in super-heterodyne system with 5 transistors, and the price was 18,900 yen. It is like Sony way that they dared to adopt grown-type transistors to realize better high frequency characteristics in spite of their low manufacturing yield. But the roads to the product release were rough with many ups and downs, and they could never quietly bring the product into the market. ---
20) NEC Made a Head Start in Microwave Diodes [To page top]
As though chasing after the two preceding companies, Kobe-Kogyo and Sony, other Japanese makers also started development and production of semiconductor device of which transistors were the core. Above all, at NEC, Hiroe Osafune had started the study of the transistor in as early as September, 1949.
At the time, the company NEC, who received the designation of dissolution of Zaibatsu, the big financial combines, was forced to dismiss employees, and the storm of the strikes was sweeping along. ---
21) Mid-sized Enterprises Entered into Semiconductor Business One after Another
Two front running companies already started semiconductor business and most of electric manufacturers in Japan had begun the research and development of semiconductor technologies in various levels around 1954. Several enterprises had supplied samples.
The photo shows germanium transistors and diodes developed by Japan Radio Co., Ltd., (JRC). Various kinds of packages were used. ---
22) Origin of Hitachi Musashi was "Kamaboko Barrack"
Hitachi Musashi was once renowned popularly for a women's volleyball world champion team which they sponsored. But, it was also one of the globally top-ranked enterprises in its main semiconductor business.
Needless to say, "Rome was not built in a day." Masami Tomono at Hitachi Central Laboratory then, who later became General Manager of Semiconductor Division of Hitachi Ltd., and President of Hitachi Denshi Engineering Ltd., had strongly supported from R&D side to build up the semiconductor business of Hitachi. ---
23) The Name is "Theatre Toshiba"
Toshiba Corporation, a rival company of Hitachi Ltd. started the transistor production in "Shita-machi" low-lying old town area of eastern Tokyo. Hideo Inuzuka who later became Deputy General Manager of Toshiba Central Research Laboratory, and his group had proceeded growth of germanium single crystals and fabrication of devices at Sunamachi Factory in Fukagawa. The facility was originally converted from a sugar plant, and far from suitable one for a semiconductor operation. However, they set up a cleanroom of top grade ---
24) The Stars were "Transistor Girls"
Lee O-young, Korean critic and novelist named "Transistor Culture" about the propensity of Japanese people to admire miniaturized products.
The transistor fabrication was supported by young female workers, so-called "Transistor Girls." Photo A shows working scene of a packaging process in the Toshiba transistor factory. Female workers seating in a school style are inspecting fabricated transistors in orderly manner. ---
25) "Mesa-Type" Opened the Way to the Full-scale Transistor Era
The first transistor manufactured by diffusion technology was mesa-type. The cross section of the device is similar to a landscape of trapezoidal hills (mesa) often seen in Western movies. That's why it was named as mesa-type. This transistor was excellent in the high-frequency characteristics, operating at as fast as 500MHz, and then made a large contribution to the superior performance of Japanese radios and televisions.
This technology was developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories first and introduced to Japan in or about 1957. ---
26) Measuring Instrument Converted from a Photo Enlarger
There were neither materials nor measuring instruments available for semiconductor development in Japan, when it was started literally from scratch. Even after signing a contract with Western Electric Company to obtain the technological know-hows, Japanese companies could receive only three volume text of "Transistor Technology." They, therefore, had to develop all the necessary equipment by referring to the simple figures and photos in those books. ---
27) Holonyak, Stationed at Isogo Base
We can often observe some "peculiar" incidents distinctive of the postwar days in the cource of Japanese semiconductor R&D, since Japan started developing semiconductor right after the World War Ⅱ. The following story was exactly one of the "peculiar" incidents. Nick Holonyak, who successfully developed light emitting diode(LED) first in the world at Research Center of General Electric Company in 1962, was stationed at Isogo Base. ---
28) First "Transistorized" Electronic Calculator
Electronic calculators were one of important electronic products, which helped promote the Japanese semiconductor industry. The number of electronic calculators produced in 1965 in Japan was only 4,300 units and then, in 1980, amounted to the historic large number as many as 60 million. The number of the manufacturers reached around 50. The growing demand of electronic calculators must have been a spring board of the growth of semiconductor industry in Japan throughout the transistor, IC and LSI eras. ---
29) Birth of Micro TV with Adoption of Epitaxial Technology
Two process technologies, "Epitaxial" and "Planer" played important roles as driving force for rapid shift from Germanium to Silicon. Both technologies were developed in the US, in the 1960’s, the dawn of Silicon era.
The name of Epitaxial came from the combination of two Greek words, Epi (on top of) and Taxis (an ordered manner). Epitaxial technology is literally the technology of growing a thin film of high purity single crystal on top of a silicon single crystal substrate, with the same crystal axis as the substrate. ---
30) MESA Type Transistor Performed well also on Silicon [To page top]
In the1960s, all the major Japanese semiconductor manufacturers rushed to develop silicon semiconductor devices, and it was on February 23 when NEC succeeded in the development of silicon mesa type transistor. The first prototype of germanium mesa type transistor was developed on February 19, 1960, only four days before silicon mesa type transistor, showing that NEC continued the development of the silicon and germanium mesa type transistor in parallel. ---
31) NEC Obtained the Exclusive License of Planar Patent in Japan
At Fairchild Semiconductor founded in 1957 in the US, a person called Jean Hoerni was doing a work like icing a 3-layer cake. (translator’s note: n-p-n/p-n-p 3-layer) (quoted from the book titled "The Chip – How Two Americans Invented the Microchip and Launched a Revolution" written by T. R. Reid).
Mesa type transistor structure, which was then regarded as the final shape of transistor structure, was taken over into silicon era, and the production increased gradually. ---
32) Hitachi Competed against NEC with LTP Transistors
NEC's acquisition of the exclusive license of planar patent in Japan, incurred bitterness to NEC among other Japanese semiconductor manufacturers, as confessed by NEC's Hiroe Osafune in the book titled "Semiconductor Development in Japan," co-authored by Nishizawa and Ouchi. It created several controversies in the industry.
Especially Hitachi strongly stood against NEC, and Masami Tomono, who was Vice General Manger of Hitachi Musashi Works at that time, complained to me, "NEC claims us to pay 5% re-license fee ---
33) "Wanpaku-san (Naughty Boy)", Founder of Silicon Industry
It is recognized by all that Japanese semiconductor silicon wafer industry is still positioned in the forefront in the world market, both in quality and in quantity. In the pioneer days of this industry, the greatest contributor was Kazuhiro Maeda of Nippon Chisso Hiryo (Japan Nitrogen Fertilizer) Co. Ltd., who played the pioneer role of industrialization. By his appearance you see in the photo and by his dynamic actions, he was called "Wanpaku-san", which means "Naughty Boy" in Japanese, ---
34) Semiconductor Laboratory, "the Innovative Development Foothold"
As people would call, "Two great professors, Watanabe and Nishizawa, in Tohoku University," Yasushi Watanabe and Jun-ichi Nishizawa, while strongly tied in master and pupil relationship, left great footprints in the history of Japan’s semiconductor research and development. "The Semiconductor Research Institute" founded in 1961 as an incorporated foundation, was the symbolic research center, and after the foundation, it continued to show presence in and outside of Japan. Photo A shows the outside view of the Building #1 of Semiconductor Laboratory. ---
35) Professor Watanabe in Baseball Uniform
Talking about rare photos, this photo could be very rare one indeed. Professor Yasushi Watanabe, known as a very serious and strict person, is wearing baseball uniform －with the team name "TRANSISTORS" on the uniform. Moreover, in front of him is Jun-ichi Nishizawa in his younger days. ---
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