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What's with the twisted leads on the first transistor?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Michael, Dec 17, 2007.

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  1. Michael

    Michael Guest

    Hey there - with the recent anniversary of the transistor's invention,
    pictures of the first transistor have been all over the place. It
    brings up a question I've always wondered about: why are the leads
    connected to it so twisted? I mean it looks like they're intentionally
    twisted for some odd reason.

    Anybody know?


  2. J.A. Legris

    J.A. Legris Guest


    There are evidently two kinds of "twisted" lead visible. The big one
    with rectangular loops appears to be a compression spring, which
    maintains pressure on the contact between the flat slab of
    semiconductor at the bottom and the triangle above it. I imagine it
    was made with square bends so it could be tweaked in different
    directions. The thinner coils of wire are probably for strain relief,
    to mechanically isolate the stack of crystals from the plastic frame
    and the external connections.
  3. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    Google "point contact transistor".

    ...Jim Thompson
  4. Guest

    On the Roswell UFO, from which all transistor designs were copied, the
    twisted leads allowed space for the flux capacitors. The Bell
    scientists just copied what they were given by the Air Force.
  5. I have considered posting a copy of this picture in the lab to point
    to when someone remarks about my messy soldering.
  6. gearhead

    gearhead Guest

    Good for a chuckle, thanks.

  7. Why don't you just surprise them, by learning how to solder?

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  8. The one with the Lucite supports is a replica at Bell Labs. The
    original was even more messy. The original did not have the Lucite
    Yep. It's a paper clip "spring" to make it easy to position the point
    contact and to allow locating a suitable "hot spot". The wedge is a
    piece of insulating plastic with gold foil going down the two opposite
    edges, forming a tiny gap for the emitter and collector contacts. Zoom
    in on the image you posted to see the details. The spring supplies
    the necessary pressure to keep the point contacts in place and also
    makes it somewhat easy to position.

    More info on the construction:
    Yep. The square bends are from the width of whatever pliers were
    available to make the bend, thus causing square corners.
    Nope. They're the two contact wires for the emitter and collector.
    The base is the slab of germanium on the base of the unit. Early
    circuit designs were all grounded base.
  9. D from BC

    D from BC Guest

    The Roswell UFO is probably getting outdated..
    It's why home computer cpu clock frequencies seem to be leveling off..
    The Air Force is looking for a 'newer' UFO to crash for the latest in
    A giant space net is also in the planning stages :p

    D from BC
  10. Guest

    Actually, it is a little known fact that the Roswell UFO's computer
    consisted of racks of 12AU7s powered by a blueberry yogurt-to-
    electricity converter.
  11. T

    T Guest

    The first transistor is truly a tip to bad construction. I like your
    solution though, instead of learning how to solder correctly just post
    an example of something worse.
  12. T

    T Guest

    I think that a lot of the speculation that the transistor is alien
    technology comes about when one looks at the technology curve. Up until
    about the 40's things were bumbling along though radio and TV were big
    deals and then wham, the curve shoots straight up right around 1945 or

    Of course that's because a lot of things started happening during WW II.
    The development of centimeter RADAR was one of them. And centimeter
    RADAR spawned the development of the MASER.

    Bell Labs was also a pure research facility. Their primary mission was
    to improve telecommunications but that was so broad that they were able
    to give us things like the LASER and to discover the CBO using the MASER
    that was developed by a labs alum.

    The loss of the labs is going to hurt everyone in the long run.
  13. Guy Macon

    Guy Macon Guest

    That's what they want you to think.

    Here is the TRUTH: [ ]

    I hope this helps...
  14. hath wroth:

    There's some controversy and history over who initially invented the
  15. Guest

    These kinds of jumps happen all the time. Look at Isambard Kingdom
    Brunel, he designed and built a 4000 passenger steamship in 1856,
    considerably larger than anything else at the time, and not equaled
    for another 50 years. The Blackbird/Valkyrie of the time.

  16. Yes. Vibe dampening, as well as thermal expansion relief.

    Since they are not made from spring media, I doubt they are for contact

  17. Didn't any of you see the zoom in on the chip slice on "The Last Mimsy"

    Pretty cool stuff! ;-]
  18. Y'er welcome. The JPG photo of the transistor appears to be 400 x 400
    x 24 bits. That will scale to a larger print but is far from "huge".
    If I expand it 4 times to my screen width (1600 pixels), there is some
    obvious pixelization. Are you doing something different?

    Google image search returns some better photos:
    with higher resolution.

    I found a video clip that explains the construction of the first

    The wiring diagram in that PDF is the only one I could find that
    actually showed the gold foil traces down the side of the wedge and
    the "tiny gap" at the tip.

    This kinda looks like the original:
    Proof positive that the uglier it looks, the better it works.
  19. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    There are NO musical instruments in that file you nitwit.

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