A 1953 Documentary Celebrating the New Transistor

A short documentary made in 1953 celebrates the advent of the new transistor and how its capabilities would benefit the public in just about every facet of life.

Made between the 1947 invention of the transistor at Bell Labs and the 1956 awarding of the Nobel Prize for Physics to its creators, this documentary is less about the discovery itself than its anticipated impact on technology and society.

The film also pays respectful homage to that which came before, the vacuum tube.

Let’s recall the wonders made possible by the high vacuum tube. The common radio tube. …… making possible the first telephone line between New York and San Francisco. …The same year 1915 at Arlington, Virginia telephone engineers hooked together 500 vacuum tubes to generate enough radio power to send the human voice across the Atlantic for the first time in history.

They further add that while the vacuum tube was revolutionary, there were some drawbacks, making the transistor more preferable.

The vacuum tube gets pretty hot. Sometimes a little too hot. That’s why in complex devices the tubes must be spaced far enough apart for proper ventilation. Since transistors remain cool they can be crowded together in a small space. In size, reliability and ruggedness too, the tiny transistor has many advantages. And research goes on to make it still more useful.

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