The Tube Guys - Norman H Pond

Until the transistor was invented in 1947, vacuum tubes, particularly microwave tubes, were at the cutting edge of electronics. Engineers working in this field were viewed accordingly. But when the transistor was invented, all of that began to change rapidly, and solid state technology was clearly the technology of the future. It was quickly understood that this new technology would obsolete low power vacuum tubes and it did within several years. Many engineers began working in this new field, both new graduates and many of those that had previously been working on vacuum tubes.

The popular opinion was that solid state was the future and vacuum tubes were an obsolete technology, all of the inventions had been made, nothing left to do of any importance. Engineers rather quickly were divided into 2 groups, "solid state guys" and "tube guys", viewed by some as second class citizens. It hasn't turned out quite that way. The solid state technology has changed the world in many ways. Integrated circuits are a $200B + industry and are of great importance throughout the world. Comparatively, tubes are less than a $1B business; however they are still of vital importance, and, like solid state, the technology has continued to progress at a fast rate.

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