Profile America: Chipping In

Thursday, September 12th. One of the great technical leaps in progress towards our digital age occurred on this date 61 years ago.

It was in September 1958 that Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments demonstrated his invention of a miniaturized electronic circuit to his supervisor. This event is recognized as the first integrated circuit to be built and operated. An integrated circuit is manufactured in the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material.

Kilby used an element called Germanium for his invention. It was improved shortly thereafter by building the circuits on silicon. Thus, today’s silicon chips, indispensable to the computers and hand-held devices owned in almost 91 percent of America’s households.

Profile America is in its 23rd year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online.