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    Description

    Microchip Prototype

    An Early Microchip Prototype
    Precursor to the Integrated Circuit
    Developed in Dallas, Texas in 1958




    Technological advancements do not just happen, and they can even be the product of some accidents - or, at least, a "trial and error" methodology. In most cases of evolutionary development, there are, and must be, stages of advancement. We all take for granted the "micro technology" that runs our everyday devices - and indirectly dominates our lives - which would not exist today if it were not for the technology behind the Integrated Circuit (IC) microchip. From cell phones to computers, the semiconductor age has made an impact on everything we do and how we do it. In the late 1950s, this cutting-edge technology, at least at the time, was pioneered by industry giant Texas Instruments with the charge being led by the legendary Jack Kilby so associated with the advent of the semiconductor - "the chip that Jack built" has been echoed, likely daily, at least somewhere, since this revolution occurred some nearly 60 years ago...

    In the summer of 1958, Jack Kilby began to work on an alternative to the "largess" problems of circuitry and started writing down thoughts and sketching out ideas until he was ready to show how an IC could be built on semiconductor material and function. The initial iteration of the component was a sliver of Germanium with several projecting wires attached to a glass brick. The first successful demonstration of a phase shift oscillator had occurred, and the foundation of what became future generations of micro technology had been born. The advancement made at that time would ultimately result in the silicon "chip" so associated today with virtually every aspect of technology. Jack Kilby would eventually win a Nobel Prize for his unparalleled breakthrough, which literally changed the entire world as we know it.

    Of course, Jack Kilby did not perform his "magic" in isolation or without the help of others. During that same period of time, Tom Yeargan worked as a technician at Texas Instruments and assisted Jack Kilby with a number of projects that culminated in the working microchip prototype. Tom Yeargan personally retained some materials from the original era of this micro technology development, which has become part of the history of his deservedly proud family. Sadly, Tom Yeargan is no longer here to share stories of just how the creation of the microchip came to fruition, but, fortunately, his family has preserved his legacy and now wish to share his historical treasures with everyone.

    This incredible Lot features both a Germanium wafer complete with leads and wires on the original glass brick as well as a second unit - a prototype of a silicon circuit featuring metallic leads attached to a plastic "petri dish" rounding out this dynamic duo of technological history. In addition to the precursor engineering devices, this offering has related documentation including a formal statement by Tom Yeargan chronicling his role in developing the microchip with Jack Kilby. The Germanium unit is presented in a plastic case that has a label signed by Jack Kilby further authenticating the piece. Jack Kilby even mentioned Tom Yeargan by name in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Both Jack Kilby and Tom Yeargan are gone, but neither will ever be forgotten.
    Measurements: 0.99 x 0.31 x 0.03 inches (2.52 x 0.8 x 0.1 cm)


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    4th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,119

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