Oldster's View

Fight Against Maturity

On this date in 1959…

Jack Kilby filed for the first patent on an integrated circuit.

In the summer of 1958, Kilby was a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments who did not yet have the right to a summer vacation. He spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the “tyranny of numbers” and finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12 he presented his findings to the management of Texas Instruments: he showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and thus that he solved the problem. A patent for a “Solid Circuit made of Germanium”, the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. In addition to the integrated circuit, Kilby also is noted for patenting the electronic portable calculator and the thermal printer used in data terminals. In total, he held about 60 patents.

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February 6, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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