Early British transistor, 1950-1953.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The transistor, invented by William Shockley, Walter Brattain and John Bardeen, was announced by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1948, revolutionising the field of electronics. The transistor was the first solid state device which could act as a switch or an amplifier, replacing the bulky, fragile and unreliable triode valves, first introduced in 1907. Intensive research refined the device, though it was several years before it became commercially available. These examples are early experimental British transistors and include both the point-contact type and the more effective junction type. From the top is a point-contact transistor type GET 2; an early junction transistor; and a device from Pye Radio Research Lab.