Foundations for the First All-transistor Computer, 1950-1951
Felker, J.H. Catalog of Digital Computer Designs. [No place of publication and no date.] I suspect that this is a Bell Laboratories (Whippany, New Jersey), publication which was printed in 1950/1951. [On dating this item: I’m thinking that this paper was released before his other two papers in late 1951 as they are not referenced in the notes section. Also there is no reference in the paper to an actual delivery date of the transistors, which Bell and Western Electric announced would be available “several months after” the first transistor conference in 1951. Also the transistor pulse amplifier which Felker requires in his conclusions section seems to have been not available until 1953.]
11x8 ½ inches. 18 pages of text, 18 leaves of diagrams and schematics. All text and drawings are printed on one side of the page, only. This seems to be offset-printed. It also seems to be made for restricted circulation. Very Good condition. $3000
This is Felker’s OUTSTANDING orientation on constructing a transistorized computer.* He states in the second paragraph “this computer design philosophy was followed in the design of the National Bureau of Standards Computer SEAC. It is believed that the approach that will result in a vacuum-tubeless computer at the earliest date is to follow the SEAC example in so far as the use of germanium diode logic circuits is concerned, but replacing the vacuum tube amplifiers with transistor amplifiers.” He states further: “Since the transistor itself has voltage and current relationships quite similar to a germanium diode it is expected that the diodes in a transistor computer will operate in a more natural environment…and will exhibit…longer life and more reliable operation.”
As a matter of fact all of the block diagrams in the illustration section are for “an all-semiconductor computer”. Essentially these are among the earliest printed diagrams for a transistorized computer—and Felker would be the leader of the Bell team that constructed the world’s first all-transistor computer, the TRADIC, in 1955.