Much of the historical research on the development of the semiconductor industry has focused on the USA. This is somewhat unfair to a number of world-class research laboratories elsewhere in the world. Follow the links on this page to find out more about them.
At the time of the invention of the transistor by Bell Laboratories, two English electrical giants had strong research interests in the field:
- Standard. Telephones & Cables (STC)
- The General Electric Company of England(GEC) , no connection with General Electric in the USA.
Shortly after the invention, another English company, albeit wholly owned by Philips in the Netherlands, decided to enter the European market and quickly came to dominate it:
However, in the UK there seems to have been another, limited, outlet for (possibly recycled) Philips/Mullard transistors:
And yet another, probably limited, export-only business for surplus Philips/Mullard transistors:
In the UK, as in the USA, a number of other companies manufactured transistors for a few years but ultimately vanished:
- Associated Transistors
- British Thomson-Houston (BTH) Ltd, later AEI
- British Tungsram
- Brush Crystal Co
- Ediswan (Siemens Edison Swan Ltd)
- English Electric Valve Co
- Hughes International (UK) Ltd
- Lucas Industries
- Newmarket Transistors Ltd
- Semiconductors Ltd
- Thorn AEI (Mazda)
- Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co
In addition, the US company
had a substantial manufacturing facility in Bedford, England, making germanium and silicon devices in series unique to Europe.
In the UK military/government sector, one company was pre-eminent:
On mainland Europe, germanium transistors were made in:
Further afield, germanium transistors were made in:
- The German Democratic Republic (East Germany)
- The USSR
In the early days of the semiconductor industry, in most countries, every manufacturer named devices according to their own convention. However, after a few years standards bodies came into existence and defined standardised naming conventions. In Europe this was (and still is) Pro Electron. I have created a cross-country cross-manufacturer page covering:
The early development of the semiconductor industry outside the USA is a particular interest of mine. Please if you know anything about this subject.