Sixty Years Ago, the Regency TR-1 Transistor Radio Was the New "It" Gift For the Holiday Season

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tags: WW II, transistor radio



As World War II gripped Europe, Winston Churchill knew that the conflict would be fought on two fronts—on the battlefield and in the scientific lab. The race between the Allies and the Axis powers to achieve technological and innovative advancements was what Churchill called the “Wizard War.” Without science and technology “all the prowess of the fighting airmen. . . would have been in vain,” he wrote.

Among the technologies to develop from this burst of wartime innovation was radar, wizardry that would eventually lead to the the transistor. It was in December 1947 that engineers John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley debuted the transistor effect, the building block for all modern electronic devices, at Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, New Jersey.

While the devices of the time relied primarily on the more delicate, energy-inefficient vacuum tube technology, the transistor, which used semiconductor materials to amplify electronic signals, allowed for products that were smaller, more durable, and more easily produced. For this, all three would be awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.




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