Kilby’s Chip Fails To Sell

A prototype of Jack Kilby’s original IC failed to sell at Christie’s New York yesterday.

The highest bid was $850,000 which was below the reserve price.

The chip was to be sold with a letter dated April 30th 1964 written by Tom Yeargan who performed the actual fabrication of the IC and who kept the prototype.

The letter includes the statement:

‘I assisted Jack in his work on semiconductor networks.
‘I remember working on the first unit, a phase shift oscillator.
‘At the time, I was assigned to Stacy Watelski and had been working for him on germanium transistor having a horse shoe base and dot emitter.
‘In this work, I evaporated metal to form the base and emitter.
‘I heated the germanium and then evaporated the metal.
‘When metal hit the germanium, it became alloyed in.’

There are two earlier prototypes of Kilby’s chip, one in the Smithsonian and one in the Chicago Museum of Technology.

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