Philco Transistors For TV


‘A drive by Semiconductors Ltd for a big share of the TV transistor market was forecast last week by Mr C.H. Noton, Commercial Executive Director of the company.’

S0, over 50 years ago, starts a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of May 3rd 1961.


“We have been paying attention recently to the market for transistors in television,” he said., “and seeing how well Philco transistors fit into the US and UK receiver markets. I am quite sure we can offer set makers what they want at a reasonable price – whether it be only HF transistors for the tuner and IF stages or a complete kit.”


When the point was made that kits of components for TV normally include a CRT, Mr Noton replied:


“If necessary we will find a source of CRTs to go with the transistor kits, but we feel this will be unnecessary to start with.”



  1. Thank you Alasdair, that’s the explanation then. Semiconductors was a subsidiary of Plessey. Very interesting. Maybe it was set up as a separate company to service the consumer industry.

  2. 21st August 1959 issue of ‘FLIGHT’ reported that:
    “Mr. C. H. Noton, M.Sc, Ph.D., F.Inst.F., M.S.M.A., has been appointed commercial manager of Semiconductors Ltd. of Cheney Manor, Swindon.”
    The semiconductor factory at Cheney Manor at that time was owned by Plessey who were still heavily into TV and radio products back then.

  3. That’s what it says – Mr Noton – Robtronics. It’s possible that’s a 52 year-old typo but, in those days, EW had an army of sub-editors to check every word so I expect so unusual a name would have been checked and that it is spelt correctly.

  4. Mr Noton! doesn’t sound like it. (Sorry Mr Mannering, I seem to be obsessed with word plays today.)

  5. Yes I’d like to know that too Fred, I’d never heard of Semiconductors Ltd until I came across this story in EW. They don’t seem to figure in any of the books about the early days of transistor manufacturing.

  6. What happened to Semiconductors Ltd – not much info that I can find other than they fabbed some transistors through Plessey ?


    In fifty years the technology has changed. The television set that I purchased yesterday has no CRT. It does, however, contain a LARGE number of transistors!

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