When The US Navy Claimed To Have Invented The Transistor

The transistor was invented on December 16th 1947 and demo-ed to the Bell Labs top brass on December 23rd, but it was not until June 30th 1948 that Bell Labs announced it to the world via a press conference.

However,  on June 25th the Chief of  Naval Research rang Bell to say: “We have the same thing.” He proposed that the press conference  announcing the invention of the transistor should be a joint affair.

 

Bell’s research director Ralph Bown and Bill Shockley flew to Washington to check out the claim.

 

When Shockley started asking questions it materialized that the Naval Research people “had obtained no measurement which showed they actually had power gain.”

 

At that point the Navy men and their patent lawyers retired to another room for 15 minutes and came back to say they were no longer asking that the announcement of the transistor should be a joint affair.

 

Much to the relief of Shockley and Bell Labs.

Tags: Bell Labs, bill shockley

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