This article was included in the May 1953 edition of The Baylor Line.
Written by: Dr. Gordon K. Teal, ’27, of Dallas Invents Gadget for Wrist-Watch Size Portable
Comic Strip Detective Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio may not be as fantastic as some of the detective fans might think.
Dr. Gordon K. Teal, B.A. ’27, and his associates haven’t invented the same identical gadget, but they have perfected an instrument which may put portable radios—the size of a wrist watch—on the market within five years.
Dr. Teal has been working with two other men for the past several years and they have made it practical to replace the vacuum tube in your radio with a pea-sized gadget called a transistor. It does the same job, but takes a lot less space and electricity.
The first transistors were made at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., where Dr. Teal was employed from 1930 until this year. Since the first crude product, many improvements have been made. It is now possible to substitute one transistor for another. Previously if the transistor had to be replaced, the whole radio had to be junked.
To make this possible Dr. Teal and his two assistants had to grow a single-crystal germanium. The period of growth of the single-crystal form is a secret, but the cartridge-shaped crystals grow up to 2.25 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. A grown crystal can be broken up into enough pieces for hundreds of transistors.
Dr. Teal, who is now employed by Texas Instruments Company of Dallas, received his master’s and doctor’s degrees at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
In the near future Texas Instruments is scheduled to go into production of the transistors for civilian use. At the present time the armed services are using all the supply. In addition to Dr. Teal’s work in the transistor field, he has published approximately 45 patents. His papers on various technical matters are well known.
A native of Dallas, he supervised certain work for the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II. He is a member of Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, and Sigma Xi.