Factory Will Output 15m Transistors A Day


Was the headline, 57 years ago, on the front page lead story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of October 19th 1960

The story opens:

At an ultra-modern factory they are building at Basingstoke, Hampshire, Associated Transistors Ltd are planning to are planning to produce 15 million transistors a year by 1963 – nearly 20,000 a day.

The company state that the new plant must be regarded as the most advanced design of transistor factory in the world.

Construction is expected to begin in two years’ time. Initially the number of employees will be about 1.000, some of whom have already moved to Basingstoke.

The factory will incorporate extensive research and development facilities and a four storey block.

The production lines will incorporate the very latest techniques.

Associated Transistors Ltd is backed jointly by Automatic Telephone and Electric Co. Ltd., The English Electric Co. Ltd and Ericsson Telephones Ltd.

Speaking of the philosophy behind the new construction, the chairman of Associated Transistors. Dr. J. H. Mitchell, said: “The three parent companies manufacture a wide range of electronic equipment for which they require very large numbers of transistors of the highest quality.”

“Some years ago they were individually undertaking research and planning production, and it became clear to each of them that, if they combined their efforts, the internal demand would be sufficient to justify large-scale production.”

Associated Transistors have a manufacturing licensing agreement with RCA in the USA. But a company spokesman told Electronics Weekly that this was by no means a one-way arrangement. Devices and techniques developed with the Associated Transistors framework are being exchanged on a reciprocal basis.



  1. That sounds right, Jamo, the Basingstoke factory wasn’t due to hit its 15m a year full capacity until 1963 and was sold to Mullard in 1962. I don’t know this but, reading between the lines, it looks like Associated Transistors was a flop and was shuffled off onto Mullard as a convenient way for the participants to exit the jv – an early example of how making semiconductors for the market is usually more efficient than making them for internal use.

  2. David, I dont think the mega factory in Basingstoke could have been developed fully since by 1962 Mullard had 3000 at its Southampton semiconductor facility making all its transistors.

    For interest – Southampton was established in 1957, added DTL for standard logic in 1967. Got the Signetics NMOS process in 1976 and further developed MOS until it closure in 2012.

  3. It was a jv set up in 1958 between Ericsson, ATE and English Electric to develop and manufacture transistors mainly for internal use, Fred, in 1960 EEV’s transistor operation was merged into Associated Transistors and, in 1962, it was sold to Mullard.

  4. Associated Transistors, not a name I remember.. Whatever happened to them then?

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