I have little original information about the early manufacture of semiconductors in Italy. However, there are some sources:
Google Books contains 'A History of the World Semiconductor Industry' by P.R.Morris. The pages on early Italian efforts state that the history of the Italian industry 'is largely that of one company', the SGS (Società Generale Semiconduttori) founded in 1957. In 1960 SGS developed a strategic relationship with Fairchild creating Fairchild-SGS. This lasted until 1968, after which they ran into financial difficulties. Fairchild sold its interest to Olivetti and the company reverted to being just SGS.
Morris's statement is perhaps unfair because the company Ates Componenti Elettronici (Aziende Techniche Elettroniche del Sud) was formed in the 1950’s to provide electronic components for the Italian government-operated telecommunications company S.T.E.T. (Societa Finanziara Telefonica). Ates was a subsidiary of Siemens, licensed to use RCA technology, and produced many germanium transistors in the standard Pro Electron series AC, AD, AF, AL and AU, as well as a few in the non-standard AT series. (The Pro Electron standard uses this prefix for high-power control or switching devices like thyristors and TRIACs).
In 1971 the Italian government decided to merge SGS with Ates to form SGS-Ates. To further confuse those searching for early devices, SGS subsequently dropped the 'Ates' and merged in 1987 with the French company Thomson Semiconducteurs, to form SGS-Thomson.
Rather oddly, the oldest italian databook that I possess: 'Manual Transistor', a supplement of 'La Technica Illustrata' dated 1960, contains no devices by either SGS or ATES. It does list a very limited number of transistors by the manufacturers:
- La Mistral (Manifattura Intereuropea Semiconduttori Transistori Latina), a company founded in 1959 in Sermoneta, near Rome. One of its two founder companies was a subsidiary of the French semiconductor manufacturer CSF.
- Fivre (Fabbrica Italiana Valvole Radio Elettriche), part of the Magneti Marelli group, an Italian valve/tube manufacturer founded in 1932. They briefly manufactured a few transistor types licensed from General Electric of the USA.
I have also discovered that the firm Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI) based in Palermo, Sicily, made some germanium transistors in the 2N series, also made by Raytheon. I don't know about diodes, or transistors in other series.
Useful sources of early device data (and dates) are the books by Derivation and Tabulation Associates (D.A.T.A) such as:
- DATA Semiconductor Diode & Rectifier Characteristics Tabulation 1961 Vol VII
- DATA Transistor Characteristics Tabulation 1962 Vol XII
- DATA Transistor Book Fall 1969
You can view and download those in full from the links above. The 1962 transistor book has an entry for MISTRAL that just says 'SAME TYPES AS COSEM'.
I do not know which were the first devices that SGS made. They may have started, like most others, with silicon point-contact microwave diodes for radar. If so, I have not found evidence or data for them. The 1961 D.A.T.A. book listed above shows three groups of products:
- germanium diodes in the 1G series. The image on the right shows 1G58, a miniature glass type. The letters SGS are printed under a geometric shape described below.
- many silicon diodes in the 1S series. The image on the right shows 1S538, a rectifier.
- 1SV120 and 1SV130 diodes, about which I know nothing.
If you have information about any of these three groups of diodes, please
I'm also unsure of SGS' first transistors. The 1962 D.A.T.A. book listed above shows:
- a series starting with 2G108 and ending with 2G1027 with many gaps. These are quite distinct from the Texas Instruments (UK) 2G types.
- a limited number of 2N series types.
This image shows the 2G108. It has the same geometric shape above the letters SGS as the 1G58 diode. I have not found any reference to this being an early SGS logo.
Here is what I believe to be 2G271, although the '2G' is missing.
If you have original data for SGS transistors, please
I have come across other transistors such as this EF1 that I suspect are SGS 'hobbyist' types, although they are unbranded. There are a number of types: EC1, ED1, ED2, EF1, EF2, EIF1, EIF2, EIF11, EIF12.
If you have information about these, please
I have little original Ates data, and oddly, they only appear in the last of the D.A.T.A. books listed above (1969 transistor book). It lists the following ATES germanium types:
Thanks to a correspondent, I'm aware that the German publication 'Kristalldioden & Transistoren Taschen Tabelle (9. Auflage, 1970/71)' also lists the following germanium devices as made by ATES:
There was an Italian radio manufacturer called Condor Radioelettromeccanica S.p.A., Via Ugo Bassi 23a, Milano. Their logo (shown) was the word 'Condor' in an italic script. Occosionally, ATES power transistors can be found branded with this logo. I am seeking Condor-branded transistors (at a reasonable price).
If you have original data for Ates devices, please
The only SGS-ATES germanium device that I possess as this AY105K diode. It uses an aluminium cuboid heatsink, more often used by Telefunken for their transistors. In fact, the subscript K is short for the German word Kühlkörper meaning heatsink. I believe that SGS-ATES made rectifier diodes:
Unusually, those without the suffix K use the TO-3 outline.
I possess few SGS-Fairchild devices: only the TO-18 transistor types C111, CS4 and V405A for which I have no data (or images).
If you have data for any of these, or other early SGS-F types, please
I possess no devices made by MISTRAL, also called 'microfarad'. As far as I know, they made the following:
If you know where I might find any of these, please
I possess no devices made by FIVRE. As far as I know, they made the following, licensed from General Electric in the USA except for the first three types:
If you know where I might find any of these, please