Profile America: The Transistor Breakthrough

Photos: Left: Lucent Technologies Inc./Bell Labs; Right: Texas Instruments Transistor

Photos: Left: Lucent Technologies Inc./Bell Labs; Right: Texas Instruments Transistor

Thursday, July 13 — One of the most important inventions of our time was announced in early July 1948 in a press release by Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. It was the transfer resistance device — far better known as the transistor. The small, simple and tough transistor replaced fragile and heat-generating vacuum tubes, which had been the heart of electronics for decades. The advance led to the development of the integrated circuit and the microprocessor that are the basis of modern electronics.

Today, transistor technology makes possible the devices we take for granted in daily life such as computers and cell phones, as well as satellites and medical equipment.

Making semiconductors and other components for electronics is a $90 billion per year business employing 260,000 people in nearly 4,000 enterprises.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online here.

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