I recently picked up a box of old copies of the UK electronics trade publication 'Electronic Engineering' from the early to mid-1950s. These contain lots of historically interesting adverts for components etc. which were the latest technology of the time, giving a different view to the sort of stuff in the more commonly found vintage hobbyist publications.
Germanium semiconductors were just starting to be available around the early fifties, to those that could afford them!
>Oct 1954. The body in the 'Actual Size' picture is about 25mm high.
From another advert by Mullard (March 1954) : Three types of junction
transistor, the Mullard OC10, OC11 and OC12 are now available for circuit experiments. In
the past, the lack of supplies has prevented circuit designers in this country from
gaining direct experience of junction transistors in their own laboratories. Now, however,
the availability of the first junction types invites practical investigation into their
many possible applications. As junction transistors provide no current gain when
connected with grounded base, they are more usually employed in grounded emitter circuits,
where they function well as A.F. amplifiers. In both amplifier and oscillator circuits
these transistors will operate with supply voltages as low as 1.5 V and with current
consumptions of the same remarkably low order. The OC11 is a general-purpose amplifier,
while the OC12 is intended for operation in an output stage, although it can, of course,
be used otherwise. A low-noise version of the OC11 is provided by the OC10, a special
transistor for early stages in high-gain amplifiers. The OC10, OC11 and OC12 are readily
available for experimental purposes at a price comparable with that of mains subminiature
valves. Presumably 'for experimental use' meant they hadn't yet acheived the
consistent yield required for production applications! More early transistor stuff here
Text reads : G.E.C Selenium Rectifiers are ideal for all applications where a D.C. power supply is to be provided from an A.C. source. They are designed and rated for long life and reliable operation, ahve high operating efficiency and are economical in first cost. A comprehensive range is available for output currents from a few milli-amps to thousands of amps.
Before the advent of germanium and silicon rectifiers, the only alternatives to valve
rectifiers were selenium units, usually for medium powers (a few hundred mA), and copper
oxide devices for low-power signal uses like AC-DC conversion for voltmeters.
One of the first commercially available computers.
384 multiplications per second - about a million times slower than today's computers.
75Kbyte Drum storage, 1.25Kbytes of RAM! I wonder what they meant by 'will ultimately hold...' in Version 1.1 perhaps
See the Photocells page for photos of these devices
Centre device reads "G10/241E "Nomotron" Unidirectional Cold-Cathode Gas Tube Decade Counter" Picture here
For lots more info on these devices, see the dekatron page
There are several editorial articles in the E.E. magazines featuring dekatrons in
applications including timers, computing and oscilloscope time-marker generators - it
seems these were the TTL logic of their day!
This advert from a specialist metalworker shows an unusual form of mercury-arc rectifier.
The appearance of adverts for such specialised materials in a general electronics
publication would seem to suggest that there were a large number of companies
involved in valve production.
Although static sensitivity problems with semiconductors were a problem
for the future, it was already an issue in some industries, where static presented a fire
Before the advent of precision semiconductor voltage references, Weston Cells were the standard method of producing a precise voltage, for calibration of voltmeters etc.
A caption generator tube - basically a camera with a single fixed image,
often used for video test-card generation. See also this article on a CRT used as an analogue-to-digital converter.