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Oral-History:Gordon K. Teal

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About Gordon K. Teal

Gordon K. Teal was the recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor and member of the National Academy of Engineering. Gordon Teal's contribution to solid state electronics, the monocrystals of germanium and silicon that opened up the field to practical use and commercial viability, guarantees him a high place in the history of technology. In the interview, he recounts his career from Bell Labs to Texas Instrument and beyond. His story is interesting also for what it shows about science and engineering.

For more information, see Gordon K. Teal’s biography.


About the Interview

GORDON K. TEAL: An Interview Conducted by Andrew Goldstein, IEEE History Center, 17-20 December 1991

Interview # 136 for the IEEE History Center The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey


Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Gordon K. Teal, an oral history conducted in 1991 by Andrew Goldstein, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview

Interview: Gordon K. Teal
Interviewer: Andrew Goldstein
Date: 17-20 December 1991
Place: Dallas, Texas, USA

Family and Childhood

Goldstein:

Can you tell me the day you were born and some of the details of your family?

Teal:

I was born in a house over in South Dallas. At that time, it was a very nice area for people to live. We lived on a street that was called South Boulevard. In more recent years, it has been going more and more towards being a section of Dallas that has acquired probably the largest number of Negroes.

My father was from Georgia, and he came to Texas to go into business with an uncle of his, Mr. Duke. His uncle started a nickel store, so he and his brother, who also was from Georgia, built up this nickel-store. This in about 1897, prior to that my father had gone to college in Georgia.

Goldstein:

To study what subject?

Teal:

He studied Latin and mathematics. My recollection is that he also studied French. He had studied very broadly, too. He was raised on a farm about 50 miles west of Atlanta. There were seven children in this family, and he was born in a log cabin. The mother taught the kids about through high school.

My father told his parents that he wanted to go to college, and they said they would help him. But of course, they did not have a lot of money. He made unusually high grades, and he got his college degree by working mostly as a substitute teacher.

Goldstein:

In the local schools?

Teal:

No, in the college. He got his degree in slightly over two years.

Goldstein:

What University was this?

Teal:

I do not remember right off hand, but it was a fairly well known college. His average was about 96 and that was even though he was taking some hard subjects.

When they came here, why, they built up this business. It was Duke and Teal. Mr. Duke was the uncle. They built the business up until they had a place in many of the towns of Texas. And then would go out to different towns and run the store in this town and that town. Some of the names I have really forgotten, but they had a small store in Waxahachie, Texas, which is about 50 miles away. My father ran that store, and that is where he met my mother. Then he came to Dallas and set up some stores here; my uncle set up some in other towns. They even had one of their sister’s work in one of them for a while.

My mother and father terrifically influenced my education. Both of them were very smart, but my mother did not have a college education. She was about 18 when she married. My father was about nine years older than she was.

Goldstein:

Was he scientifically oriented?

Teal:

Not particularly. But his grades were very high, and my mother encouraged me to make that grade, too.

Goldstein:

Do you remember that from when you were very young or later in life?

Teal:

Later, when I was in high school. Around the age of 14 or 15, she gave me the idea that I could be the best and get the best grades in the class if I wanted to.

As far as why did I go into science? I was just curious about why things worked and why they did not work. I was curious enough to really want to learn how things worked.

Goldstein:

It sounds like you came from a very supportive environment.

Teal:

Very!

Goldstein:

Was there intellectual activity. Did you have discussions about why things worked or the way the world was, for instance, what causes the seasons or the phases of the moon, things of this sort?

Teal:

I do not remember that.

Goldstein:

Did you have brothers and sisters?

Teal:

I had a sister who was about three years older than I am, and a brother who is six years younger than I am. He, incidentally, went into science and engineering also. I encouraged him to come up to Brown University, which is where I got my Ph.D. He came up to New York while we were living and I got him to go to Brown University for a year. But he decided that he wanted to try some other things. Therefore, he went out to Michigan and got a master's degree in some field that had to do with science, but more on the engineering side.

Goldstein:

Was your family unusual in your South Dallas community? You said that your father had a college degree. Was that typical of the other families?

Teal:

I do not really know. I think he probably was better educated than most of the people that he saw.

Goldstein:

You say that the area has changed over the years. Was it rural then, more suburban, or even city-like?

Teal:

It was a much smaller place, and my father decided to get out of the five-and-dime store business around 1910. He became attracted to the real estate business. So, he worked in the real estate business for the rest of his life.

Goldstein:

Was your family comfortable in terms of wealth?

Teal:

He did very well in the real estate business for many years, but then the Depression came along, and that really put a crimp in their good fortune. My mother had to get a job there for a while.

Goldstein:

During the ‘30s?

Teal:

Yes. I think she held this job for about eight or ten years. She ran a place for families who were having trouble providing for their children. It was a city-run home for the unfortunate. My mother was head of it, and my father was without a job at that time for a number of years. He really played a very important role in the home for children even though he was unemployed.

Goldstein:

Were you religious, and what denomination?

Teal:

We were Baptist. My father and mother were very much into the church. My father became a deacon at a very early stage of the biggest Baptist church in Dallas, the First Baptist Church. He became a deacon in 1905, and he was still the deacon in the 'sixties.

Goldstein:

It was important to the whole family — you also?

Teal:

The whole family.

Goldstein:

You have that devout faith today?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Did the church define the community or did you have play friends who lived near you or friends from school?

Teal:

We lived a good distance from the church because my father needed to be close to where he was selling and building houses. I had a cousin whom he attracted into the company that he was in, who did a very good job of building houses.

Goldstein:

He was the actual contractor, your cousin?

Teal:

Yes, he knew how to build. He just got well acquainted and did a good job of that kind. He just recently died.

Goldstein:

Did you go to public schools in Dallas?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Were you and exceptional student before your mother’s encouragement?

Teal:

It was my mother who encouraged me in the idea that I could be the best.

Goldstein:

What was the first thing in your secondary school education that stands out in your mind as being special?

Teal:

What do you mean by "special"?

Goldstein:

I mean, if you had in high school a course that you recall as being particularly interesting or challenging or some teacher who was?

Teal:

I can remember Miss DeCampry was probably one of the best teachers that I had, and she was an English teacher. I felt I really learned an awful lot in her class, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Goldstein:

Now that is English. Was the curriculum balanced between humanities and sciences? Was there any instruction in art or music or in other fine arts?

Teal:

I did not go into the fine arts until I was through with college and lived in places like New York where they had outstanding museums. And also, we had had certain friends that my wife and I associated with who were artistically inclined.

One in particular that I was thinking about was from Baylor University. She and her husband both were from Texas. She painted, and she kept going to museums in New York. Alice Gray was talented. We have a painting right behind that door in the kitchen that she painted.

World War One

Goldstein:

How did World War I affect your family? Do you remember?

Teal:

I had an uncle who was in World War I that had quite a dreadful time.

Goldstein:

You would have been ten at the time, correct?

Teal:

I do not remember too much about World War I. But I was about 30 years old when the World War II came along. And we were living in New York City. It was pretty horrible.

Baylor University

Goldstein:

You graduated high school, I guess, sometime in the mid-'twenties, maybe 1924 or '25, and elected to go to Baylor.

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Why Baylor?

Teal:

Because it was a Baptist school and a very outstanding one. I actually planned to go to M.I.T. in Boston because it caught my attention but my mother wanted me to be closer to home, and also she wanted me to go to a Baptist school. Therefore, I agreed to go to Baylor for a year, which I did. And after a year, I liked it so much I stayed. Also, I met my wife in that time.

Goldstein:

She was at Baylor?

Teal:

She did not become my wife until later, after I had gotten my Ph.D. at Brown.

Goldstein:

But she was another student at Baylor?

Teal:

Yes. She was a very outstanding student. She attracted quite a lot of attention as a student.

Goldstein:

I will come back to that, but I am curious still about the compromise that you and your mother reached about college. Was that a difficult compromise or fairly peaceful? Was there any bitterness or resentment when you agreed to spend a year at Baylor?

Teal:

Yes and no.

Goldstein:

No?

Teal:

I mean, I thought it would be interesting to see what it was like at MIT.

Goldstein:

Did you have any apprehension about going as far away as Boston? Or did that seem exciting to you?

Teal:

I thought it was exciting. But it was also pretty far away and was fairly expensive in contrast to the amount that it would cost to go to a closer school.

Goldstein:

Did you come back home frequently while you were there that first year?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

When you entered Baylor did you know what you were going to major in?

Teal:

Yes, I guess I wanted to study mathematics. I got interested in studying chemistry, and I liked both of them. I found that they were interesting, and I usually made good grades.

Goldstein:

Was there a fairly standard curriculum? I mean, you were interested in math, but then did you also have to take chemistry and physics and perhaps engineering?

Teal:

I did not really take physics; it was just a matter that you cannot like everything. So, you have to concentrate on one. I concentrated on chemistry and mathematics.

Goldstein:

You took no courses in engineering or electricity then?

Teal:

They did not have engineering at Baylor at that time. They have some engineering now.

Goldstein:

What was your living arrangement when you were there?

Teal:

I lived in the dormitory.

Goldstein:

Was that enjoyable?

Teal:

Yes, I enjoyed it. It was interesting to me.

Goldstein:

Were there many options to live, perhaps, in a fraternity house or off-campus? Did most of the students live in the dorms?

Teal:

Yes, but a lot of their students were from nearby towns and Waco.

Goldstein:

I noticed in the biographical notes that you ran on the track team. Was that your principal extracurricular activity?

Teal:

Yes, I enjoyed track very much.

Goldstein:

It was also interesting to me to see that you were on the Chamber of Commerce.

Teal:

I got a big kick out of belonging to the Chamber of Commerce there in the school.

Goldstein:

What would the Chamber of Commerce do, and what was your position there?

Teal:

At the time I got to know people and hear about some of their interests. We had people with a variety of interests and backgrounds, and it helped me to just enjoy life more. It also gave me a different perspective on life. And we frequently had projects that we thought would be good for Baylor and good for the students.

Goldstein:

Your degree was in math, is that right? Math and chemistry?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Were these two separate degrees that you double-majored in?

Teal:

It was a double major.

Goldstein:

Did you have a clear preference for one or the other?

Teal:

I liked both of them. And I liked the teachers that I had. I felt I was really learning something that was worthwhile and that was interesting. I felt that I probably would need it later to have trained in that way. When I actually got into work after graduating from college, I felt it had been very worthwhile.

Goldstein:

When you were an undergraduate, did you know that you would go on to pursue graduate studies? Had you been planning for that the whole time?

Teal:

I am not sure just exactly when I started planning in order to get into something that I could make a living at and which seemed really worthwhile.

Goldstein:

That is interesting because I do not think of mathematics as a particularly lucrative field. Was it different? Did you have an idea how you could make a living at it?

Brown University and Germanium

Teal:

You needed mathematics in a good many types of work if you went on to things that would be of interest to, say like MIT. So guess I did plan to go to MIT when I finished undergraduate training.

As it turned out, when I graduated I had a professor who wanted me to go to Brown University. Brown gave me a scholarship. I mean, each year Brown gave a scholarship to a student from Baylor, the University of Texas, and I think Simmons University in West Texas. This was done to attract Texas students.

Goldstein:

Did you have to apply? Which scholarship is this? Does it have a name? Is it a named scholarship?

Teal:

Yes. I think it was a Marston Scholarship.

Goldstein:

Was the competition fairly keen?

Teal:

Apparently my grades were sufficiently good that when they heard about my grades they awarded me the scholarship.

Goldstein:

Now the professor who wanted you to go to Brown, did he know the faculty and the program there, and he thought it was well suited for your interests?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Now can you recall what laboratory work you had done at college? How sophisticated was it?

Teal:

At the time I went into it, it was certainly something that required a certain amount of effort on my part. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship simply because we did not have much money for further education. And with three children in the family and each one of them expected to go somewhere for additional study it was good to be able to pay part of your way at least. And it gave you an opportunity to get acquainted with people, too.

Goldstein:

Can you tell me what year that was when you first came to Brown?

Teal:

It was the fall of 1927.

Goldstein:

While you were there, I know that you worked with Professor Krause.

Teal:

Yes. In view of the fact that I had already studied chemistry and wanted to study it some more, he was the natural choice. He was the head of the Chemical Department at that time and was for many years afterwards. He died in 1967. I think he was about 90 years old.

Goldstein:

Did you and he talk before you decided to go to Brown? Did he describe the program to you, and did you know that you would be working with him?

Teal:

Yes, and then I read about the kind of attention he had gotten from other people. Having a certain amount of outstanding accomplishments of his own helped my decision.

Goldstein:

Did you begin working on a research project with him immediately?

Teal:

Yes, although I am reasonably sure that it was not solely under him. Some of the younger members of the staff also were involved, like: Larry Foster who a good chemist. He did well under Dr. Krause, and I did well under Krause and Foster.

Goldstein:

Now when you graduated from Baylor with your degrees in math and chemistry, might you have gone on to study math? Why did you choose to study chemistry? Was it because the Brown scholarship was there?

Teal:

I guess it reduced to working with visible things.

Goldstein:

Did you like that? Did you like the tangible?

Teal:

The tangible things made it more worthwhile in a way.

Goldstein:

It is funny that you should say that because in an article that you wrote, I guess in the 1950s, you described your work in graduate school with germanium as interesting to you because it was an exotic element that did not appear to have any uses.

Teal:

Yes, that appeared very interesting to me. We were studying it and studying it, but there was no use that could be made of germanium at that time.

Goldstein:

When you say "we were...studying it and studying it," do you mean you and Krause, or was there a lot of activity?

Teal:

Yes, there was quite a lot of activity.

Goldstein:

Really? Why were people interested in it? What made people think it was worth looking at?

Teal:

I do not know whether they were impressed with the way I was, but I guess you can only hope that everything has some value. And it was always possibilities that somebody would eventually come up something, but nothing had been done. We, on the other hand, had a lot of students working on germanium.

Goldstein:

Now when you were at Brown, were your classes only in chemistry, or did you keep up studies in math or take some courses in physics?

Teal:

I do not remember doing a lot of physics.

Goldstein:

Yes. I think of the late 'twenties as being an especially dynamic time in physics particularly with the introduction of quantum mechanics, but these things had implications in chemistry—different models of the atom. Were you conscious of all that activity?

Teal:

Yes, I was aware. I think a good many people had reason to be interested in other things and the things that I was interested in.

Goldstein:

Well, I guess what I am asking is not for you to defend your choice of research topics, but I want to know what the material that you were responsible for. If in the late 'twenties chemists were following developments in atomic models.

Teal:

You had to study the periodic table anyway and try to understand just why we have the periodic table, what it was and what was the periodicity. What did it mean?

Goldstein:

So in your work with germanium were you trying to understand that element and its place in the table of elements, or was there something fundamental that you were considering?

Teal:

I was interested also in silicon but not as much involved with it as with germanium. Of course the fact that they were both similar, but just a little bit further along in the periodic table, so I learned something about silicon too. I did some work on it, but not nearly as much as I did on germanium.

Goldstein:

Yes. While you were in Providence, did your now wife — and I realize she was not your wife then — did she come up to Providence with you?

Teal:

Yes, she came up to visit me, and I took her up to Boston and gave her a good view of a lot of the things Boston is famous for. I guess it was along about that time that we decided that we would get married.

Goldstein:

Was she still in school then? Is that why she was still in Texas?

Teal:

No, actually she was not in school, but she was a teacher in school. She taught in West, Texas. It was a little town about 50 miles from—it might not be that far—from Waco, on the road to Dallas. She enjoyed that. Then she taught further out in West Texas at a couple of places. She taught history and English, and then she came back to Mart, which is 18 miles south and slightly east of Waco.

Goldstein:

Did you have to work while you were at Brown? Did the scholarship cover all your expenses or was it necessary for you to find a job?

Teal:

My father was able to help me out. He gave me a certain amount of money.

Goldstein:

So between the scholarship and this other, you were able to live?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

You said at the beginning of your undergraduate career, your parents were anxious to have you stay near home. Why was that so?

Teal:

Because I think it was mainly what most parents feel: they like to see their children fairly frequently.

Goldstein:

So this was simply a matter of you aging a little bit and leaving the nest, which you were able to travel so far away?

Teal:

Of course I did not travel back and forth as much as I would like to have, but I did managed once in a while go back home.

Goldstein:

On holidays? Maybe twice a year?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

You got your master's degree and your Ph.D., were they separate efforts? Or were you working toward a Ph.D. and then they just give you the master's as a matter of course?

Teal:

No, I had to write it in such a way that it indicated that I was learning a few things.

Goldstein:

Right. And when did you get the master's degree?

Teal:

In the spring of 1928.

Bell Laboratories

Early Days

Goldstein:

And your doctorate?

Teal:

I got my doctorate in 1931, but that was about a year after I had left Brown and taken a job at Bell Telephone Laboratories. I had not expected to have any interest in living in New York, but I did. And so, the Christmas before I was to finish up my degree it went to Bell.

Goldstein:

That was the Christmas of 1930?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Are you saying then at Christmas there was an opportunity for you to go see what was being done?

Teal:

What was being done there and the things they did? That is all. And Dr. Krause knew somebody. He had a fellow who had previously been at Brown who had gone to Bell Telephone Laboratories. He called him up and told him that I would like to visit Bell Laboratories. So, they made an agreement with me. R.R. Williams was head of the Chemistry Department, and Burns was the assistant head.

When I went down there, they spent a lot of time showing me what was going on and did a very good job of it. Apparently, they liked what they saw in me and said when as I was leaving when you get a job, do not forget us. Do not go anywhere else before you talk with us.

And, this was along about February that R.R. Williams was in Providence, and when he came there, he visited me in my laboratory.

Goldstein:

What interested you in the Labs in the first place? Did all the students know about Bell Labs? Let me ask first; were you interested from a scientific standpoint or thinking in terms of your career?

Teal:

I just wanted to see what was going on. It had a reputation for being a very outstanding research laboratory, a place where they had lots of people doing hard jobs that required good background training. I just thought I ought to look around a bit.

Because I had heard so many remarks about what a wonderful place it was, I just thought I would like to go down and see what it was like. So, I did have an opportunity to see a lot down there, but I was not really going down there to ask for a job. I just went down there to find out more about what you do when you go to work after finishing college?

Goldstein:

Were you concerned about that?

Teal:

I was thinking that maybe I would want to go to the place like DuPont.

Goldstein:

During these early years of the Depression, was there anxiety among the students about finding jobs? Was there much money in research?

Teal:

Yes, you wondered just what salaries they paid and what do they do for it? What are they expected to do? And what are some of the best examples. They showed me a lot.

Goldstein:

What things? Like, was their equipment especially good quality or were their research projects exciting?

Teal:

I do not know whether I understood just exactly what their projects were, but I was very impressed with R.R. Williams because of the life that he lived. He had a son who was planning to attend Brown, so William stopped in dropped by and talked about the University.

The Great Depression

Goldstein:

While you were still at Brown, how much of your time did the chemistry work demand? Were you in the lab 12 hours a day, eight, or 20?

Teal:

There were plenty of hours in the day that I was required to be in the lab. I do not remember just exactly how much, but more than an eight-hour day. Then because of the fact that we were in the Depression, a lot of people lost their jobs there.

Goldstein:

At Brown?

Teal:

At Bell. A lot of people had been working there for 15 years lost their jobs. Then Williams came around to me about a month after I was there, and he warned me that there was going to be a lot of people laid off. He knew that I was planning to get married soon, and we got married almost on March 7th.

Goldstein:

Of 1932?

Teal:

Of 1931.

Goldstein:

So then that means that you began at Bell in November of 1930, is that right?

Teal:

It was 1931. So he came, and he just did not want me to really do something that I should not do. And he wanted me to know that I did not have to worry about losing my job even though a lot of people that had been with the company for 15 years were losing their jobs.

Goldstein:

Why was that? Why did you have this job security?

Teal:

He had chosen me, and he wanted me to be there.

Goldstein:

When you say a lot of people lost their jobs, in all of Bell Labs or in just the Chemistry Department? Or equally among a lot?

Teal:

I probably knew at one time just what degree and how it varied from one part of the Labs to the other. But a lot of them lost their jobs. It was a bad time. We lived in a place in New York City initially. Where I lived was a YMCA before Lana came up. We saw a lot of people standing in bread lines in New York City right there in a big square.

Goldstein:

I guess you had spoken to Williams at Bell before, in 1930, but it sounds like you were not too worried about not finding a job. It sounds like you were fairly confident that you would be able to find something, despite the Depression. Is that true?

Teal:

Yes. Of course, I was surprised that the Depression hit when it did. A lot of other people were surprised, too.

Goldstein:

You were promised that your job would be preserved, but did the tight times affect your work anyway? For instance, did the equipment available to you change?

Teal:

No, I got what I needed.

Goldstein:

The people they kept were well supplied then?

Teal:

Yes, reasonably well.

Goldstein:

Do you remember what your starting salary was?

Teal:

I think it was $60 a week. It rather rapidly increased to about $45 a week (sic).

Goldstein:

Over what period of time?

Teal:

It happened fairly fast.

Goldstein:

You mean like just a few months?

Teal:

I think so.

Goldstein:

And you say at this time you were at Bell Labs in New York at the Laboratory they had on 34th Street?

Teal:

Bell Labs was at about 12th Street, and about six years later it was moved out to Summit.

Goldstein:

You were telling the story of coming to Bell Labs. You toured it in November of 1930.

Speech: American Academy of Achievement

Teal:

Yes, by the way I found the speech. It was given to 350 outstanding high school students from 48 states that came to this meeting of the American Academy of Achievement that met here in Dallas. Here is what it said:

"You young people are so well trained, so well read, and are so well informed, that we who have been invited here are hard-pressed to present you with something new. In spite of this, I feel that we have much in common with you, particularly with respect to habits of thought and attitudes. For example, I have always had considerable curiosity with particular interest in new things and new ideas. This has led me over the years to a closer look at some of the basic phenomena in science and stimulated a strong desire to exploit discoveries for practical use. I also share the delight in the aesthetic that many of you have. Like you, I enjoy adventure. In particular, I am interested in pioneering; that is, the kind of pioneering demanded by our rapidly changing and highly technical society. These interests have greatly influenced my decisions and were often crucial in the directions my career has taken. For example, these interests in the new, the aesthetic and in the pioneering influenced my choice of graduate studies.

"I remember particularly two pictures in a brochure from Brown University and one, which I still see clearly in my mind: Professor Charles A. Krause, with his hand on a large Dewar flask was standing in a laboratory literally filled with fascinating and beautiful networks of glass tubing and stop-cocks. Today such laboratories are commonplace. Then they were a novelty. Added to the fascination of the complex apparatus was the title of the other photograph, indicating that it was for germanium hydride gas. As I, attracted at first as a math major from Baylor, enrolled in Brown University, little did I or anyone else I knew 40 years ago dream that I — a boy from the north central plains of Texas — would inherit this intriguing laboratory and become involved in research on germanium under the guidance of Professor Krause, then one of the two experts on germanium and silicon chemistry in the United States.

"In the course of my early studies under Professor Krause, I acquired an intimate knowledge of many of the properties of germanium and found its complete uselessness a challenge. To me, this bright silver-colored element was — and still is — an exotic and beautiful material. My intense curiosity about it and its sister element silicon, two elements which have since become the basis of the transistor industry, influenced my decisions and shaped my professional destiny much more and over a much longer period than I would have guessed at the time. It was often what I did not know about them, as much as what I did know, that led me on. My purely academic pursuits at Brown turned out to be one of the most practical and worthwhile experiences of my career since the interest and background led, many years later, to my most important technical contribution, the growth of high-purity, and high-perfection single crystals of germanium.

"Thanks to this early start and to a broad interest in things scientific and electrical, I grew crystals at a time when they were an urgent but only dimly-perceived need in the early days of the transistor research at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Curiosity led me to the Bell Telephone Laboratories. During my graduate studies, I had decided that New York City was the one location where I definitely would not work. However, my fellow students aroused my curiosity about the reportedly ideal environment for research that existed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories then located in New York City.

"Motivated by curiosity rather than job seeking, I visited the Bell Labs during my Christmas vacation in graduate school. Much to my surprise, Drs. R.R. Williams and R.M. Burns, then heads of Chemical Research at BTL, suggested that I not accept employment elsewhere until I heard from them. Dr. Williams was the well-known scientist who not only administered Bell's chemical research, but who for years did vitamin B1 research in his garage and finally synthesized it and used it to enrich rice and to cure beri-beri in the Orient. Dr. Burns is well known as a science administrator and for his electrochemical contributions. I was impressed by them and accepted their advice.

"As a result, I spent 22 exciting and stimulating years trying to acquire a scientific understanding and to use it to develop useful electronic materials and devices for the Bell Telephone System and for society.

"Perhaps I should mention for the benefit of those entering your creative careers, that even at a laboratory as enlightened, contribution-oriented and well-managed as Bell Telephone Laboratories, the opportunity to work on germanium single crystals did not just fall in my lap but was the result, not only of a long and intense interest in germanium, but also of much persistence in trying to find a relevant, important application, and to find justification for me personally to work on it instead of leaving it to others already assigned a germanium materials responsibility. The opportunity to grow germanium in silicon single crystals was, of course, crucial to whatever contributions I have made to the development of the transistor and, therefore, to the most exciting aspects of my career—first at Bell Telephone Laboratories and then at Texas Instruments. The easily recognizable, enormous industrial potential of the transistor and the rapid advances in science that its development encouraged, provided exciting days for all of us who participated in its development.

"Interest in modern-day industrial pioneering and the enlarged opportunity to exploit my understanding of science and technology brought me to Dallas in 1953. Mr. P. E. Haggerty, then Executive Vice President of TI and now Chairman of the Board, offered me the opportunity to start an advanced electronics research laboratory, then something new in the Southwest. I had already felt at Bell Labs some of the excitement of participating in starting a new industry, and this offer gave me a chance not only to use my background, experience and knowledge of science and technology to direct innovation in the world of things, but to find out whether I could be successful in selecting people and programs of research to create new business. The intensity of effort and total involvement which followed quickly after my joining TI helped to alleviate my concern about leaving good friends in the Bell Telephone Laboratories, which I had found to be indeed a center of research excellence.

"As director of this new laboratory of Texas Instruments, I felt proud and highly rewarded when the first commercial silicon transistor was developed within the first two years."

Goldstein:

This was on the 25th anniversary?

Teal:

It is 1980, March 17th.

Goldstein:

Yes, St. Patrick's Day.

Teal:

Yes. Here’s what the award I received stated: "On the 25th anniversary of the first commercial silicon transistor, this award is given to recognize the personal contribution of Gordon K. Teal in a technical achievement that not only gave Texas Instruments a position of prominence in the electronics industry, but also accelerated the entire cycle of semiconductor device utilization in the whole world." Signed, Mark Shephard, President, I'm sure. And this is Honorary Chairman, Texas Instruments, Inc.

Goldstein:

And also Haggerty.

Teal:

Yes, Haggerty. Patrick Haggerty.

Goldstein:

It says "Texas Instruments Honorary," why is that so?

Teal:

He was Honorary Chairman by that time.

Goldstein:

Shephard, therefore, was the Chairman, and Haggerty was the Honorary Chairman.

Teal:

Hope I am not boring you to take this time.... I am not sure just how far I have read any of these things. Let us continue with the speech:

"...the intensity of effort and total involvement which followed quickly after joining TI helped alleviate my concern about leaving good friends in the Bell Telephone Laboratories, which I found to indeed be a center of research excellence.

"Then as director of this new laboratory at Texas Instruments, I felt quite highly rewarded when the first commercial silicon transistor was developed within the first two years. However, this illusion of quick success is a bit misleading since some of the crucial decisions as to the technology to use were based on many years of interest and experience. It has been a rewarding experience to have helped TI build a thriving business in the semiconductor industry and to have created an outstandingly productive research laboratory where none had existed before. Many services and products that have had tremendous impact on society and, in turn, on TI were spawned directly or indirectly from these new research laboratories. Some of these outstanding examples which have long since proved their worth are the germanium and silicon transistors, high-purity silicon material, digital-size technology and infrared technology, to name a few of the more prominent. In addition to the personal satisfaction that I obtained in connection with the productivity of the laboratory in producing new business, I have found it very rewarding to select people and then observe them grow in their understanding and their abilities and in their contributions.

"About a year ago—that is, about 1963, about four years ago—I began another adventure that I'd never anticipated in my most imaginative moments. I moved with my family to Europe to study the European scientific and technical community. TI was concerned about the philosophy and practice of research in support of its subsidiaries in England, France, Italy, Germany and Holland. Although there were already a considerable number of American companies engaged in business in Europe and a number of common practices already developed, the alternatives involving the operation of supporting research in Europe were so numerous and so great that this must be considered an activity open to pioneering and innovation. For over two years my family enjoyed the beauty and culture of such places as London, Paris and Rome while I visited the offices of government laboratories, industries and universities, gaining new ideas and impressions through discussions with officials, managers, scientists and professors. This was exciting research in behalf of my company, but much different from any that I had ever attempted before or in which I had become involved. Factors such as changing international relations and situations, mores and habits of people, availability of international transportation, the attractiveness of different locations to scientists, international business practices and product acceptance became important.

"I am now in the process of concluding still another adventure which was totally unanticipated. A little over two years ago while living in Rome, I was awakened at midnight by a transatlantic telephone call from my friend, Pat Haggerty, President of TI at the time. He said Dr. Ashton, Director of the National Bureau of Standards, had written to him requesting that I be loaned to the Bureau to be the first appointed Director of its newly formed Institute of Materials Research in the nation's capital.

"At the time of my going to Washington, it had in it over 600 people actively engaged in very basic science in areas such as analytical chemistry, inorganic materials, polymers, metallurgy, reactor radiation and cryogenics. In many respects, it is a scientist's paradise. In my case the challenge was not only to assist the Institute to be a center of excellence for good basic research, but to help discover new directions to go in order that the Institute's programs have maximum impact on important national goals. Besides contributing new knowledge to the basic concepts of matter, the Institute provides the precision data on materials needed by science and industry in making the preliminary calculations necessary for major decisions in industry and government.

"These decisions may relate to the super-speed airplane, the desalinization of water, the development of atomic propulsion systems and many other problems of national importance. This tour of duty in the world's largest laboratory devoted to physical measurements has given me the opportunity not only to become aware of much of the research in other laboratories of the U.S. government, but also to visit in the major laboratories of India, Pakistan, Israel and Russia. And to help set up a sizeable international research program on foreign currencies in the first three countries—that is, India, Pakistan and Israel. This program will contribute primarily to the Bureau's mission but will have side benefits to the country's own development.

"Since we are saluting excellence today, I would be remiss were I not to salute these centers of excellence and the friends associated with them that have furnished me so much stimulation, new knowledge and so many exciting opportunities and experiences. You, a very select group, will, I am sure, find your own centers of excellence that will greatly influence your careers. I look forward to hearing of the contributions that I am confident you will make as new opportunities come your way."

Goldstein:

You wrote that while you were at NBS?

Teal:

Yes. And I gave it to this large group. I do not remember whether we had all 350 there, but I think we did.

Goldstein:

It stimulates a lot of questions for me. I think we may have started to talk about this yesterday. You said that you were attracted to germanium because of its apparent utter uselessness. Was it in an effort to make germanium worthwhile?

Teal:

Sure.

Bell Laboratories Cont'd.

Work on Heavy Hydrogen

Goldstein:

You said Krause was one of the two experts in germanium. So, he was already working on it, and he got you interested in that particular thing? And then you tried to find something worthwhile in it? Also, sometime during the 'thirties, I know, germanium was put to use in rectifiers. Was it during the 'thirties or was it before then that this lack of application existed?

Teal:

As a matter of fact, I worked on it back in the early days of being at Bell.

Goldstein:

I know one of the first things you did at Bell Labs was work with Dr. Urey. He was at Columbia. You were working with Urey on heavy hydrogen. Could you talk about that assignment? Was that all you were doing, or were there other projects?

Teal:

I was doing that plus my job at Bell Labs. But what I mean by this spare time, it may not be the best way to describe it. I was actually a research associate for Urey. I went up to see Urey in 1932. I got well acquainted with him, and I asked him if I could come up there and work on some things I wanted to work on—spectra for one. And then I wanted to work on some problems that he had an interest in. So, I was the one who suggested that we might write such a paper.

He was enthusiastic about it. I told him I would just like to learn as much as I could about his field. We were in the depths of the Depression at that time and I had more time on my hands because Bell Labs was having people come to work only three and a half days a week instead of the normal hours. When I first started there, why, we were working on Saturday as well as Friday and the rest of the week. So, I had a lot of spare time when I was not working for Bell Labs. And I thought it would be interesting to work with him. We lived very near to Columbia University at the time, and so that is one reason I knew as much about the Physics Department there. I guess I lived about three blocks from Columbia University.

Goldstein:

So you didn't go as an employee of Bell?

Teal:

No. It was completely my idea. It was a choice between going up and spending my time with him, or just not working and not doing anything.

Goldstein:

That is interesting that Bell had you on reduced work schedules. When did that start?

Teal:

I think it started just about the time that I went up there because I did not want to waste my time. I wanted to be a research man, and if I were a research man, I would like to work on important problems. I knew that I could get suggestions from Urey about problems that would be worth working on. Therefore, he greeted my suggestion with enthusiasm. But then I was the one who suggested that we write this paper, and he agreed to it.

Goldstein:

Critical review of the literature?

Teal:

Yes. See, this came out in 1935 — January 1935. It came out exactly at the time he got the Nobel Prize. In the same month.

Goldstein:

And what did he receive the prize for?

Teal:

For his discovery of heavy hydrogen.

Goldstein:

That was before you began working with him that he discovered it?

Teal:

Yes, he discovered it in maybe 1930 or '31. I do not remember actually.

Goldstein:

Let us see now, what stimulated an interest in heavy hydrogen?

Teal:

I could show you that.

Goldstein:

Yes, you showed me the paper that you wrote with Urey. And you were telling me that you were sensitive to Nobel Prize winners.

Teal:

I found them interesting people. You learned a lot by talking with them.

Goldstein:

Let me ask you, you approached Urey about spectra and worked on heavy hydrogen. But this is not different then your interest in semiconductors, in germanium?

Teal:

I did not abandon my interest in other things, but this for the moment seemed about the most exciting thing that I had come in contact with. Additionally there was the prestige of working with a man of Urey's abilities, who had already discovered these things, but he had not been given the Nobel Prize until several years later.

I was just trying to make use of spare time I had on my hands. I took a course and studied spectra and did laboratory work on spectra in the Physics Department also.

Goldstein:

After you published the paper with Urey in January of '35, did you continue to work with him or did you start at Bell full time?

Teal:

I knew that he had already been recommended for the Nobel Prize, but he had not won it.

Goldstein:

During that period, do you remember what projects you were working on at Bell? Looking at your lab notebooks, I saw that you were doing some work on laying down films. It was chemistry in putting down films of oxides. And I know that you went on to work on television tubes, on an iconoscope. Was your original chemistry work directed towards imaging tubes?

Teal:

I think I would have to look up my notes on that to be sure.

Goldstein:

Did Bell have any research activity in heavy hydrogen or in spectra? Could you have unified the two?

Teal:

No. This idea was solely my own idea. I told Williams about it but nothing became of the conversation.

Goldstein:

How did they decide at Bell what to research? You said you told Williams about it. If he had gotten excited about the idea, might Bell Labs have begun a project on heavy hydrogen?

Teal:

I am sure I told Williams what I was doing. I do not think they would work on heavy hydrogen just because somebody else thought it was interesting — not at that time.

Goldstein:

See, what I am getting at is later on, I know that you suggested a number of times that work is done on pulling germanium — single crystals of germanium — and that you indicated that you had trouble generating any excitement.

Teal:

Yes, definitely!

Goldstein:

So, I am trying to understand how you got through it.

Teal:

I mean, Shockley didn't get enthusiastic about it at all. I do not know whether you have read that or not, but I thought I would give you that.

Goldstein:

Yes, I have this article. So that's what I'm trying to understand, what the procedure was for the suggestion of different research projects or how ideas flowed from the research scientist up or down.

Teal:

It flowed up, and it flowed down. I think the people who did the best type of research originated in individuals. They did not have to be told what to do. That's what they wanted to become, as somebody who could think well enough ahead about the importance of this and that in order to push the envelop on research. Naturally, they wanted to produce papers as well as things and encourage their bosses. From the boss's point of view, then—he would keep putting them on projects where they could work on their own ideas as well as the boss himself.

Goldstein:

Did Bell encourage that kind of initiative?

Teal:

Sure. Did not always mean that it would have turned out that way because maybe they judged what they were working on or what they might be working on differently in importance.

Goldstein:

How was that done? Would Williams come over and ask somebody what he wanted to work on?

Teal:

Yes.

Early Work on Television

Goldstein:

You were working throughout the 'thirties primarily on television, right?

Teal:

I worked on television, yes. And I was transferred from the Chemistry Department about my second year, I think. I was transferred over to work with Herbert Ives on television, in his department.

Goldstein:

Which department was that?

Teal:

The Television Department.

Goldstein:

They had their own department?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

This happened in your second year. So, that might have been in '32 or '33?

Teal:

Yes, I think so.

Goldstein:

Can you recall if Ives's department was run differently than Williams's department?

Teal:

Yes. It was completely different because the work was completely different. They produced pictures, and they produced television by various means. I worked on television tubes. It also had a whole different group of people with different talents. I got to working in that department because I helped to purify mercuric iodide for one of the men who had a project that had involved him in working with mercuric iodide.

Goldstein:

Somebody working in television that had a need for mercuric iodide approached you, a chemist, and asked you to produce it and then brought you into the television project?

Teal:

It was a matter of purifying it for him, so I purified it.

Goldstein:

You began working on television then. And this is interesting because in your lab notebooks I can see that you became very involved in the design of the tubes, in the placement of the tubes in circuits, things that I wouldn't call chemistry. I was wondering how you gained expertise in electrical engineering. Was that just through experience?

Teal:

Yes, I guess that was the case.

Goldstein:

Did you take courses in engineering, or did you just pick it up as you worked?

Teal:

I picked it up. I didn't really get involved in studying engineering. I worked on so many engineering problems that I picked up important points about it and gradually became more and more proficient.

Goldstein:

How did you find engineering in comparison with chemistry? Did you have a preference?

Teal:

I wanted to have expertise in whatever I was working with, and I picked it up in connection with certain problems and gradually did develop some aptitude.

Goldstein:

Were you excited about being in the competition to develop a TV system? In competition, say, with RCA or the other laboratories working on it?

Teal:

Yes. We were very interested in doing things that RCA didn't seem to be able to do.

Goldstein:

While working on TV, you had a lot of patents. And I noticed that you filed for patents for electron multipliers, for mosaics. How did that work? I notice in your lab notebooks that occasionally you would write that you would have a meeting with somebody — a Mr. Wiley, something like that — from the Patent Department.

Teal:

I'm sure that I've got the people in the Patent Department — their names — written down in various places.

Bell Patent Department

Goldstein:

I don't even know much about the Patent Department. How would it work?

Teal:

Sure. If I thought it was new, then I'd discuss it with the Patent people. That’s pretty much how it worked.

Goldstein:

Were the scientists encouraged to take out patents when they got it?

Teal:

Well, I got 64 patents all told in the U.S. and a number of other countries.

Goldstein:

Were you encouraged to patent everything you could? What was the feeling of the Lab?

Teal:

If they thought it was likely to be used and opened up a whole new area of development, they definitely would feel it was worthwhile to patent it. Because if you didn't patent it other people would.

Goldstein:

The patents, I noticed, for you are made out for Gordon Teal, and then there's the signer, Bell Labs. What did that mean?

Teal:

Well, you mean "the signer"?

Goldstein:

Was the patent yours, or was it Bell Labs'?

Teal:

It was Bell Labs', and they didn't pay you for patents because you were there working in the Laboratories and that's why you were there working. They did try to make it worthwhile in a salary however, even though ours were modest compared to other places.

Goldstein:

Like RCA?

Teal:

Perhaps RCA. I don't know specifically whether RCA would be one, but they may have. And it varied with the particular thing that you were patenting as to how much interest they would have in it.

Goldstein:

Looking at your lab notebooks, it seems that you were working on TV systems until 1942, up until the war began. And then shortly after the war began in February of '42, you were reassigned. Do you remember much about that, that time? How Bell Labs reacted to the war?

Teal:

That's a hard question to answer because it's such a complex thing to say how Bell Labs acted. I mean, you've got several thousand people there.

Attenuators

Goldstein:

I think that you started working on attenuators.

Teal:

Yes. That was a useful project that I worked on. I could give you a paper that I wrote on attenuators.

Goldstein:

Did people would come to you like the military might have come to you and ask for a particular component?

Teal:

They had certain projects where they needed attenuators. I knew about materials to be able to help them and tackle certain projects that just came to me as being something that I could do in that attenuator business.

Purifying Germanium

Goldstein:

Yes. Well, after the war you continued to work on semiconductors and rectifiers. And then afterwards you started to work on varistors, also made of semiconductors. Did this lead to your work on purifying germanium?

Teal:

I got a good deal of encouragement in the possibilities of high-purity by having worked on the vacuum tubes prior to working on semiconductors. And of course they went to a high vacuum. Going to high vacuum developed a lot of improvements.

Here is what I wrote concerning the subject: "With the previously discussed materials and devices background and detailed knowledge from extensive reading of earlier research papers, as well as more recent ones—that is, 1925 to 1933, Irving Langmuir, G.E. Company, and Harold D. Arnold, Bell Telephone Laboratories—and of articles concerning the long court fight waged between G.E. and Bell over G.E. patenting of a ultra-high vacuum in a vacuum tube, I was impressed by the tremendous impact of ultra-high vacuum. [Not only was I impressed] with the beneficial operating characteristics and practicality of vacuum tubes, but also by its ability to simplify the interaction of the functioning of a design, thereby enhancing the designability of vacuum tubes to perform specific functions.

"Personal experience with gassy photo tubes, electron multipliers and pick-up devices made me especially conscious of the difficulties of relating theoretically-expected and actual electron ballistics in a vacuum tube device. [Ones] in which there might be present an unspecified number of unknown and unexpected electrical carriers in addition to the anticipated electrons. Such a situation could easily thwart the development of the science of a solid-state electronic device and realization of its maximum potentialities.

"The transistor invention at Bell Labs in late '47 convinced me that this was definitely the time to get back on germanium work, in spite of my important, challenging assignment of handling the chemical development of a silicon carbide varistor for a new telephone handset. My most enthusiastic thoughts were on the potential of germanium and what I might do about it. I reasoned that removing the crystal boundaries and other undesirable defects from the germanium would probably be as important to the transistor as removing the last traces of gasses from the vacuum tube. While I continued my assigned work on silicon carbide varistors for the telephone handset, I was determined also to get back into germanium research. Nothing that occurred to me seemed to have the potentialities as important as those of high-purity, high-perfection, single crystals of germanium."

Well, that's the gist of why it was so damned important to me. I've just said this: "Nothing that occurred to me seemed to have the potentialities as important as those of high-purity, high-perfection, single-crystal germanium." A number of times over the years after I had had as one of my early jobs making single crystals for mercuric iodide solutions, I had thought that it would be interesting to pull a single crystal of germanium, but I had never had an adequate reason to do so. This gave me the chance. The method intrigued me not only because I thought it would be interesting to pull a single crystal of germanium, but because it was not a method in use at the time — nor one tagged as a metallurgical method that I would have to yield to someone else as their method.

Goldstein:

You say that now you had a reason to do it, was that because you were talking with Little, that work that he was doing?

Teal:

Yes. I wrote on the issue: "Late one afternoon around quitting time, I encountered John Little, and we got to talking about our work. He started by telling me how he needed a germanium rod small enough in diameter to be cut by a very small wheel in order to minimize waste. I could see that here was an opportunity to make a rod for someone who had a real job to do.

As we were getting on the bus for Summit, New Jersey, I said, "Sure, I can make you a rod by pulling one out of a germanium melt. And, incidentally, it will be a single crystal, too." As soon as we got on the bus, we started sketching. All we needed was something that would pull the rod out smoothly and would withstand the heat.

A graphite crucible seemed a suitable vessel in which to melt some germanium, and a clock mechanism would serve to smoothly lift the rod from the surface of the melt. John made a bell jar about 30 inches high, which was part of a large high-frequency heater he used for testing experimental vacuum tube parts. The high-frequency heater coil was well up inside the bell jar. This was filled with hydrogen introduced at the top and the excess flowed out the bottom and into the ventilating system of the room. The flow of excess was adjusted sufficiently high to keep oxygen or other contaminating gas away from the heated crucible and rod above the crucible. This would suffice for growing crystals within a hydrogen atmosphere.

By the end of the three-mile ride into Summit, we had sketched the equipment, and two days later, on October 1, 1948 we completed our crude machine in John's New York City lab. There we pulled our first single crystals of germanium. We did this without getting anyone's permission or approval and acted only on our own personal ideas. Most of the simple handling and measurement on these crystals were made by two college men who were moving through the various parts of the Bell Lab to learn about the Labs as a whole before settling down to a specific job in a specific department. These two men were electrical engineers. I couldn't afford to spend much of my regular time on the single crystals since I was expected by my department to devote the major part of my time to my officially-assigned job on chemical aspects of silicon carbide varistors for new telephone handsets.

"About two months after John Little and I made our first germanium crystals, in December 1948, I went to Jack Morton and suggested that a single-crystal program on germanium and silicon be set up. I spelled out the various details of the program and asked him to supply some funds for John Little and me to get the program started by first building a small duplicate bell jar-type of puller equipment that could be set up in my laboratory on the third floor of Building 1 in Murray Hill. My main justification for the program that I was suggesting was to supply a more uniform semiconducting material for large-scale manufacture. Jack, in agreeing to pay for the construction of the equipment, said, "Gordon, you will get the scientific credit for this." I interpreted this as his acknowledgment at that time that I was providing by my recent growth of germanium single crystals and my personal suggestions, a likely solution to one of his major problems — lack of a uniform semiconducting material for large-scale manufacture of devices."

Goldstein:

What devices were they manufacturing?

Teal:

I guess one thing it would be rectifiers, point-contact rectifiers, and things of that nature.

Goldstein:

For use in telephones in what sort of systems? Telephones, radar, or radios?

Teal:

Probably, let's see: "However, my interest in single crystals of germanium and silicon was much broader than meeting needs of manufactured devices, important as that is. I was enthusiastic about single crystals of germanium and silicon, both for research and development, as well, and the possibility that they might influence fundamentally the design of new and experimental devices and enlarge the science surrounding new devices. When it was found by measurement of injected minority carriers by Haynes that our materials with large single-crystal volumes in them have minority carrier lifetimes 20 to 100 times greater than for polycrystal germanium materials, interest in the single-crystal material picked up. While some of the scientists were interested in these crystals in connection with transistor studies, most of my associates continued to believe that single crystals were of only limited scientific importance and would never be of any major use in devices that had to be produced on a large scale."

Goldstein:

Now who is Haynes? How did he get involved with this?

Shockley

Teal:

Haynes was an experimental man who worked for Shockley; he reported to Shockley.

Goldstein:

What was Shockley's position then?

Teal:

He was head of his group. He and Stanley Morgan were head of the Solid-State Group, and the Solid-State Group was set up by M.J. Kelley who was the Director of the Laboratory.

Goldstein:

So you wanted to produce the pure crystals of germanium to serve as better rectifiers?

Teal:

When they discovered the transistor it looked to me as if they were going to have problems with things happening between grain boundaries, and this was uncontrolled.

Goldstein:

Did you have some idea of the solid-state physics?

Teal:

I wasn't an expert on it, but I knew what was happening.

Goldstein:

Was this an analogy to gas in the vacuum tubes? Is that what you were saying?

Teal:

Yes. Better vacuums in the tubes enabled them to do things that you couldn't do when you didn't control the vacuum.

Goldstein:

Likewise, grain boundaries would cause trouble?

Teal:

Yes, and Shockley dismissed the idea. It took quite a while for Bill to accept the importance of doing some of these things.

Goldstein:

Why was he stubborn about it? Did he have different ideas about what was going on?

Teal:

Bill seemed to think you could pick out a crystal to work with, and that was a complete lack of control.

Goldstein:

You mean, in a polycrystal?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Did you just make your junctions thereafter?

Teal:

If you were careless about doing your thinking, you could hope that the single crystal might be large enough to accomplish what you wanted to accomplish with electrons and holes. But the fact that Haynes found that the minority carriers lifetimes were 20 to 100 times greater than polycrystal in germanium materials, caused the interest in single-crystal material to pick up.

Goldstein:

Did Shockley have many people on his side?

Teal:

He was head of that group and a talented guy. I knew Shockley before he came to Bell Labs.

Goldstein:

How did you come to know him?

Teal:

I met him up at MIT.

Goldstein:

It sounds like he wasn't all that open-minded? Is that accurate?

Teal:

He wasn't convinced of what I said to him. He finally did become convinced and said things that indicate the importance of his position.

I'm trying to remember exactly where. I think I have it here: "Shockley in November 1952 in the transistor issue of the Proceedings of IRE, ‘Transistor Electronics: Imperfections, Unipolar and Analog Transistors,’ Proceedings of the IRE, Volume 40, said: ‘Teal and Little undertook a program of growing large crystals of germanium. These single crystals, weighing up to several hundred grams, have the same orientation throughout, and no grain boundaries. For the last several years practically all advances at Bell Telephone Laboratories in transistor electronics and transistor physics have been based on the availability of single-crystal material.’" I think that's a pretty important statement. He's finally convinced.

Goldstein:

Do you remember where this is from?

Teal:

This was in the IRE of November 1952 which was several years after we had done that work.

Goldstein:

Was that a hard struggle to convince them?

Teal:

Yes!

Goldstein:

Did Haynes's idea work? Or did it take other results?

Teal:

He didn't jump at it for several years. He kept working and wasting his time on the polycrystalline material. It was amazing that such a brilliant guy would waste so much time, but it was a hard thing for him to realize it.

In December 1955 G.L. Pearson and Walter Brattain wrote of semiconductor research in the Proceedings of IRE, in December 1955: "During this time various improvements were being made in semiconductor materials. A big step forward was taken when G.K. Teal and J.B. Little succeeded in growing single crystals of germanium. Sometime later single crystals of silicon were also obtained by G.K. Teal and E. Buhler. In all of this work, steps were continually being taken to produce even more perfect crystals, both as to lattice perfection and degree of chemical purity. We are getting close to the forefront that the perspective is insufficient to give a good general picture. It can certainly be said, however, that the availability of such pure and perfect single crystals as we have in present-day silicon and germanium amounts to a major revolution in the physics of solids. New phenomena are turning up all around us." That's quite a lot of praise particularly when they both worked for Shockley.

Goldstein:

You said that Shockley wasn't convinced, and he was head of the Solid-State Department. Even though he wasn't convinced, you were still able to gain support from Bell Labs to continue your work? Who did you talk to? How did you manage to — ?

Teal:

That was pretty involved over a long period, and it would be hard to remember all those things that I did or who I talked with that may have influenced the final decision. I think that Shockley finally owned up to being mistaken. He didn’t acknowledge his fault openly, but he did make it known.

Goldstein:

Was that a hard thing for him to do? Was he pretty self-assured?

Teal:

Sure. He had quite an ego.

Goldstein:

Was there any personal tension between the two of you?

Teal:

No.

Goldstein:

It was all just professional?

Teal:

Yes. I knew Shockley pretty well. When he first came to Bell in 1936 we visited from time to time. My wife and I were very fond of Shockley's first wife. My wife took care of their little girl when the girl's mother couldn't be at home to do so. Maybe she had to do some shopping or something like that. We lived in a place on 14th Street, several blocks away from Bell Labs itself. I remember one of the Christmases we had dinner at their home. Nobody else there. We were their guests.

Goldstein:

Two couples?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Yes. You two couples having Christmas dinner?

Teal:

This is another thing that I can quote. In Shockley's Chapter 7, "Transistors," on page 148 of the book, The Age of Electronics: Lincoln Laboratories Decennial Lectures , (McGraw-Hill: New York, 1962) edited by Carl F.J. Overhage, he writes: "There was probably no more important scientific development in the semiconductor field in the early days following the announcement of the transistor, than the development of high-quality, single crystals of germanium at Bell Telephone Laboratories." That's quite an acknowledgment.

Single Crystals of Germanium

Goldstein:

How did your ideas sit with Brattain or Bardeen? Were they more receptive to the idea of single crystals being important?

Teal:

Yes, but it took a long time.

Goldstein:

You were describing your apparatus to pull the single crystals. The way you described it there, it all sounds pretty straightforward. Was it like that? Or were there technical challenges, particular difficulties, you had to overcome? You had the graphite crucible. Did you have to experiment with many different materials?

Teal:

Yes, I thought about it, and it was the best thing we knew of.

Goldstein:

So you got it on the first shot, the first try?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

How did Little contribute in there?

Teal:

He was helping Jack Morton in connection with his production of electronic devices. He wasn't really an expert in solid-state physics or anything like that.

Goldstein:

Now when you first had the idea that single crystals of germanium would be more effective, more like high-vacuum vacuum tubes, that was before the transistor was developed. Were you thinking of a specific application?

Teal:

Single crystals had been made before, but they were the things that been worked on by the guy who did that work. They used for things like sodium chloride.

Goldstein:

Why was it harder to do germanium?

Teal:

I came across it when I was working, trying to make a single crystal of mercuric iodide. I got familiar at the time with things that I didn't normally work on. Problems not like the other problems I had tackled. Then I was in the Television Group at the time that I learned quite a bit about solids during that period. But I worked on not only solids, but vacuum tubes as well.

Electron Multipliers

Goldstein:

In your writings you mentioned electron multipliers, which I noticed you worked with a lot when you where with TV. Could you tell me what the electron multiplier is?

Teal:

You have electron emitters, and if you spew electrons against this in a vacuum tube you get high-speed electrons. Or, you could just shine light in to get this effect. You have these emitters, and you shine light on something, on one of these that gave a photo-electron emitted. Then this would knock secondary electrons out. And at each stage of this process you build up the amount of electricity in the vacuum so you finally get down to here. By that time it would be multiplied a lot, and thus you have the electron multiplier.

Goldstein:

The light is incident on the photosensitive material, and the photons ejected are called the secondary?

Teal:

Yes, secondary electrons.

Goldstein:

Was Bell Labs the only one working on this, or were there other people?

Teal:

No, but I don’t remember what the situation was.

Goldstein:

Was this important in the iconoscope, in the camera tube, as a way of getting the incident light up to adequate signal strength?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Can you recall any of the landmarks in developing these? Any of the particularly tough problems or significant issues you faced?

Teal:

We picked up the knowledge that we had available to us at the time and their difficulties. I got patents on several different types of electron multipliers.

Goldstein:

We were also talking about Bell Labs in the late 'forties and early 'fifties when you were having trouble convincing Shockley what you were doing was important. Were you satisfied working with Bell Labs then? Did it bother you that you didn't have the full support of Shockley, the head of the department?

Teal:

Sure, it bothered me.

Goldstein:

Was there anything you could do about it?

Teal:

I kept on working on it, regardless of what he thought.

New Jersey

Goldstein:

By this time you were working not at Bell Labs in New York but in New Jersey, right?

Teal:

Yes. Texas Instruments.

Goldstein:

No. You come to Texas Instruments in 1953, I mean in 1948 when you were still at Bell Labs. That was the lab in Murray Hill, right? Or, in New Jersey?

Teal:

I was in New York for a number of years. I think it was about six years or something like that. Then we moved to New Jersey in 1936.

Goldstein:

Did that correspond to some change in your responsibilities?

Teal:

We were distributed differently in the buildings, which in some ways made it more difficult to work together. In other ways we went ahead and managed to work on certain things together.

Texas Instruments

Reasons for Going to TI

Goldstein:

You went to Texas Instruments in 1953?

Teal:

The beginning of 1953.

Goldstein:

What's the story there? How did you become aware of Texas Instruments?

Teal:

The Bell System had—at a certain time of the year—a big meeting where they invited people to come in and hear a series of lectures at Bell on Bell properties. These are companies that were interested in making such things and who would pay a certain price for things that were developed, or manufactured. So we had such a meeting.

There were about 35 companies who sent people. Pat Haggerty was one of the men who came. He and one or two other people came from Texas Instruments. We met and they thought that since I had been so involved in all of this work I should join them.

They had a good story to tell of their background. They had started out at about 1930 with people beginning to get together in a seismic operation. Gradually they built it up. During the World War II they got involved in a few electronic projects for the government. It was electrical engineering, but it offered them an opportunity to build up the electronics into a new field that was being developed at Bell and RCA and certain other companies. So I went.

They never had a research laboratory before so I was the founder of the TI Research Laboratory and also the person who got the people there to work in the laboratory. Then after they got there, I did my best to keep them working on something that would be a profitable thing for TI to be involved in.

Goldstein:

You said in the speech that you gave to the National Achievers that you were excited about the idea of running a laboratory. Was it as exciting as you thought it would be?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

First let me ask you whom you worked under? Was it Haggerty directly?

Teal:

No, I worked under Bob Olsen who was one of the main men working under Haggerty. Olsen had a technical background, engineering background. I reported to Bob Olsen for quite a while.

Goldstein:

Texas Instruments made you this offer to come down and start a research laboratory in 1952. Why did you accept?

Teal:

Partly because it was my home. It was where my parents and relatives were. So that was certainly worthwhile.

Goldstein:

I'll just summarize the TI offer, Texas Instruments's offer: This was essentially higher salary, a chance for leadership in a field in which you were interested, a chance to be closer to home.

Teal:

I think I allowed myself to say something about this: "Because of a very critical family need, I left Bell Labs at the end of 1952 and joined Texas Instruments, Inc., at that time a small, aggressive engineering, electronics and geophysical company in Dallas, Texas, with only 1770 employees. It had shortly prior to that time become a licensee of the Western Electric Company with the aim of going into the transistor business.

I went to Texas Instruments to organize and direct its research in the Central Research Laboratory. My job was to assemble a research staff and to establish the environment for and to direct innovation, in contrast to performing personal invention. I gradually recruited a group of researchers and concentrated our efforts on programs calculated to comprehend and extend the forefront technology and to lead as quickly as possible to important products that would extend the valuable impact on the company.

"Shortly after arriving at TI, I set up a program of silicon crystal growing aimed at producing high-perfection silicon single crystals, p-n junctions and structures to facilitate our development of a silicon transistor with useful amplification properties. I persuaded Dr. Willis A. Adcock, an able young scientist, to leave his catalysis studies in one of the oil industry laboratories and join TI to undertake these crystal-growing investigations, which I believed to be the key to the achievement of a silicon transistor. A reason that going the grown-junction route would avoid the differential expansion difficulties between silicon and an alloying electrode inherent in the use of alloyed junctions. Most companies took the alloy route. Another possible approach was to use the then recently discovered 3-5 compounds. Some scientists at that time were advocating leapfrogging silicon and going to the 3-5 compounds to achieve an even higher temperature capability than potentially available in silicon. Certain companies followed this advice and concentrated on 3-5 intermetallics. I argued that this was the wrong approach because of the added complexity of the 3-5s and because of the superior chemical and physical stability of silicon.

"Our program succeeded in 1954, and the first commercially-feasible silicon transistor became a reality. In addition to the contributions of Willis Adcock, I should mention those of Dr. Morton Jones, relating to the solution of electrode attachment and of chemical problems and his transfer of the technology to the Semiconductor Products Division. The excellent performance of the crystal grower designed and constructed by Boyd Corneliuson of the Semiconductor Division was an important factor, too — also. The experimental results of the development were published in The Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers by W.A. Adcock, M.E. Jones, J.W. Thornhill and E.D. Jackson.

"As director of the research, I announced the achievement at an IRE national conference in Dayton, Ohio on May 10, 1954."

Managing the Research Laboratory

Goldstein:

As director of the research, were you actively involved in the research? Were you in the laboratory on a daily basis working with the other scientists?

Teal:

Only to encourage them. Did I give you the proper information at the start?

Goldstein:

Yes, you did. We were just talking about your move to Texas Instruments in 1953. You were telling me why you moved. One thing I'm curious about is, were you confident that Texas Instruments was a serious company? Did you believe that they had sufficient capital to support a research laboratory and sufficient sales? They were still a small company when they propositioned you.

Teal:

I thought they were men who had been successful so far. Erik Jonsson, for instance, and McDermott — Eugene McDermott, and Cecil Greene. They had been involved quite early.

I could be wrong about just the exact year when certain ones of them started, but it went back to about 1930. I think the one who started it was a factor in making money, but there was a significant change in the company's make up when they to get into the electronics business. So I didn't really have any dealings with him. The others had been successful, and they are the ones who really made the money from the TI.

Goldstein:

When TI licensed the transistors from Bell, what were they building with them? What were their products at the time?

Teal:

They were only producing electronic devices. Due to that, they did some electrical engineering type of thing in connection with government needs. I believe that's the way it was.

Goldstein:

So when you got there, you were responsible for setting up a research laboratory. How did you start?

Teal:

I just started thinking what shall we do? And who do we need to do it? Then I started looking for men, which included going to a number of outstanding universities that I had already gotten acquainted with during my years in the electronics game.

Goldstein:

You were telling me the way you began to set up a research lab. You said you'd known some good men at universities.

Teal:

I'd had contacts with certain people out in various universities. So I went out to talk to some of them — University of California and Stanford and other universities up in New England. I think I went to Chicago and then I went down to Cal Tech.

Goldstein:

How about setting up the organizational system? Did you have any models for that?

Teal:

It depended an awful lot on who I hired first. So the first one, in addition to Adcock, was Ross McDonald. I didn't do all the hiring.

Goldstein:

In drawing up these organizational charts, I wonder if you resolved to correct the mistakes that were done at Bell, and that's how you got your ideas about the organization. Was that the case?

Teal:

Bell is such a big organization I don't think that it helped me an awful lot to think about Bell because here we were a completely different place, with people who had worked on something completely different. I just had to think it up. I had to take it gradually enough to be thoughtful about it, but not so gradually that we just wasted a lot of time.

Goldstein:

Did Texas Instruments build a brand new research laboratory, or did you work in some other building?

Teal:

Initially I worked in the building that had been occupied by some of the geophysicists, and that was down on Lemon Avenue. We were down there for several years, part of us at least. Later TI bought property that they later filled up with buildings. A building was then built for us. The building was really for the manufacturing part of the organization.

Goldstein:

When you were first talking with Haggerty about coming, did you let him know what facilities you would need to run a research laboratory? Were there those kinds of negotiations?

Teal:

I didn't lay down any demands for anything. I think it came up gradually so that as we hired people, we needed more space, then we took over some other space. And in certain cases people in other types of work moved out of certain space and got something that would fit them all right but not us.

Goldstein:

So it was a redistribution to improve efficiency?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

And that was going on all throughout the 'fifties?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

The lab has been established now, and you're getting staff and having to make decisions about what to investigate. Did you make those decisions or did they come from above you?

Teal:

I made most of them. Things like, what kind of people we needed, to where we should look for them, and how to get them to Dallas to be interviewed.

Silicon Transistors

Goldstein:

Soon after you got there is when you succeeded in pulling single crystals of silicon, is that right?

Teal:

Within a year and a half, we had a silicon transistor.

Goldstein:

Tell me about how that came to be. What was special about the procedure to create one?

Teal:

It took just the time necessary to get somebody to help turn my suggestions into pieces of pulling equipment. I gave suggestions to Shepard and one of his men. So they built a crystal puller [correct word !!!!] based on my suggestions and also on looking at crystal pullers that I was using in Bell Labs and had already been using for sometime.

Goldstein:

And the work that you'd been doing at Bell Labs as far as germanium—it was only on germanium, correct?

Teal:

No. Buhler and I, pulled single crystals of silicon.

Goldstein:

Had you developed the apparatus to dope them so that you would get grown-junction transistors?

Teal:

We hadn't made a transistor yet, but we were right at the point of doing so.

Goldstein:

When you were doing experiments like that, did you consider how these might be manufactured on a large scale? Or was that something that came later?

Teal:

We didn't manufacture crystal pullers for sale or anything like that.

Goldstein:

I’m talking about the transistors. As you were working on pulling the crystals to make transistors, did you consider the capability of mass production?

Teal:

We worked with the people at TI who had gone ahead and turned out some crystals before I got there, but under very detailed suggestions as to how they do this. Then we got busy on it when I got there and we got others to help him. So it went along pretty fast.

Goldstein:

When you say "it," do you mean the research that went into producing transistors?

Teal:

Yes, we produced transistors.

Goldstein:

The big innovation seems to be the development of a transistor that you were able to mass market for sale, correct? So was the procedure for that different than the research? There's a difference between developing the first prototype and refining the process for mass production. Or, is there?

Teal:

It was pretty much the same thing.

TI Compared to Bell

Goldstein:

You said there were organizational charts for Texas Instruments. As head of the research lab, did you find that a lot of your time was spent preparing such charts and doing other administrative tasks? Or could you devote your time to scientific research?

Teal:

I was too busy to devote all my time to research because I was busy passing on what I knew. That kept me pretty busy.

Goldstein:

How did you pass it on, in conferences?

Teal:

I just went out in the laboratory and said why don't we do this. I would get one of them to start the machine running and see what we could do.

Goldstein:

Did you like that role? How did that role compare to your job at Bell?

Teal:

In a way they were the same.

Goldstein:

You had done that same thing at Bell Labs?

Teal:

I had had a group of people at Bell. But all of the equipment — the crystal-growing equipment — was in one big room. So we had several machines going with several people doing different things with different machines at a certain time.

Goldstein:

Who were some of your people at Bell Labs?

Teal:

I had a group of people — Bill Slichter was one of them. He was a good man.

Goldstein:

What was your position at Bell Labs at the time you left?

Teal:

I had a small group of people.

Goldstein:

I may not have the right idea of the organization there. Were there different levels of responsibility? There was Shockley as head of the Solid-State Department, were you right under him or were there people in between?

Teal:

Part of the time I was just working more or less by myself. But then, I gradually acquired several people.

Silicon Junction Transistor

Goldstein:

Let's go back to Texas Instruments. You succeed in producing a silicon junction transistor. What happened next?

Teal:

I arrived at the beginning of '53. "The program succeeded in 1954, and the first commercially-feasible silicon transistor became a reality. In addition to the contribution of Willis Adcock, I should mention those of Dr. Morton Jones." I had gone out to California and picked him up at — he was graduating with a Ph.D. at Cal Tech. So he reported to Adcock. They did some of the work together, some independent. And then we also had one other man in Shepard's organization to work with Adcock — Boyd Corneliuson (sic). He had been running the equipment that they had when we first arrived because he had been working on it about half a year ahead.

Goldstein:

Did they follow your recommendations pretty closely?

Teal:

Yes. By the time I arrived I think they may have even sold a few transistors that they had made.

Goldstein:

Was that a problem with Bell Laboratories? You developed this technique while at Bell, and then you planned to go to Texas Instruments. And you told them what materials to get, what equipment to get, and what procedures to use. Were you responsible for doing that as far as Bell Labs was concerned?

Teal:

Yes, because they got their license Western Electric to use their knowledge.

Goldstein:

You said that at Bell Labs you had almost succeeded in creating the silicon transistor, and you were successful at Texas Instruments. Why did you want the silicon transistor?

Teal:

Because the germanium transistor would stand certain temperatures and then its efficiency as an amplifier would change when it was used. We wanted one that would continue working effectively as an amplifier. The germanium ran out at about 90 degrees, whereas the silicon transistor we found would operate at something like 150 degrees.

Goldstein:

Were people building equipment using germanium transistors that reached the limit of their effectiveness because of the ambient heat? Was there a demand for transistors that withstood greater levels of heat?

Teal:

Well, germanium would not be an effective amplifier once the temperatures got above 90 degrees. But in the case of silicon, you could run them up until the operating transistor got up to about 150.

Goldstein:

What I was asking was what customers complained about that? I can imagine that if you were building equipment to run in a cold environment, then that wouldn't be an issue.

Teal:

But people began to find some limitations in germanium. When they found them, they wanted to know what we were doing about it? How are we going to get the operation to continue at higher temperatures?

Goldstein:

One thing I happened to note, that the military was a large customer of silicon transistors because in the military applications — say, in rockets — it was quite important that they be able to stand up to terrific heat. Didn't they become one of your principal clients?

Teal:

Yes.

TI Corporate History

Goldstein:

You mentioned GSICL. What does that mean?

Teal:

GSI — Geophysical Service, Incorporated.

Goldstein:

Was that a division of TI?

Teal:

Yes. That was the original company.

Goldstein:

But you said GSICL was in 1951?

Teal:

In 1950, but they go back to 1930 as an organization. That was the company.

Goldstein:

When did it become Texas Instruments?

Teal:

It became the company almost immediately before I got to TI. Let's see.... Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950. "On the day that the war broke out, Johnson superseded Peacock, who was the President of GSI. Two years later, Peacock sold his shares to his partners and others in the company." So he dropped out of the picture.

Goldstein:

It sounds like GSI intended to remake themselves based on transistor technology. Was that the plan of Eric Johnson and others?

Teal:

No, I think the heads of it wanted to get into the electronics business, to make that and develop it as an important part of the group of men involved. Right after the war broke out defense spending became an important part of the business life.

"TI sales doubled in 1951 to $15,400,000. But unlike some other defense-based companies, TI did not intend to remain merely a government supplier. Concerned that they might wake up one morning and find no government contracts, Johnson and Haggerty kept looking for ways to build up their industrial business. And Haggerty also worked out a new program of decentralization designed to enable the company to grow. Meanwhile defense sales kept rising, and in 1952 TI's volume was over $20 million. Johnson sought a public listing for the stock. TI did not, of course, have many shareholders. There were only 28 in early '52, all of them officers or directors. And then Peacock decided to sell out. He had the equivalent of 440,272 shares of the present stock."

Goldstein:

Sounds like you've described a strategic decision that Johnson and Haggerty made. Were you involved in such decisions about what markets they ought to try to serve?

Teal:

No, I wasn't involved really in the sales part of it. I sat in on the Management Committee when I arrived and continued to sit in on it as time went along.

"Trading in Texas Instruments common began on October 1, 1953, and the company made an occasion of it. When the ten o'clock gong signaled the opening of the day's business, Johnson was on the floor, and his colleagues were in the gallery and let out a cheer, as the tape flashed: 'NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE, OCTOBER 1, 1953, MARKET OPEN. TEXAN, 5-1/4 POINTS.' President Johnson bought the first hundred shares and thereby got Certificate No. 1."

"A stock option plan helped, too, after it was introduced in '57 when the price was around $30, since then 142 employees got options on some 162,000 shares at prices ranging from $28.50 to $178.75. Aside from options, Haggerty, Johnson, Greene and McDermott currently owned over one million shares among them. And 15 other officers owned over 100,000 shares. All in all, TI management holds 28.2 percent of the stock."

Goldstein:

The laboratory you were running, would you characterize this work more as materials science or electrical engineering? Is it pure research or applied research?

Teal:

It was partly chemistry, partly physics and partly electrical engineering. So it was a mixture.

Goldstein:

Were you equally successful in each element essential to your final goals?

Association with IEEE

Teal:

Yes. Additionally, my association with the IEEE began about 1956. I was into IRE when I went there. In other words, I had been made a Fellow. And in 1959 I appointed to the Board of Directors of the Institute of Radio Engineers. And then I was elected a member of the Board of Directors of IEEE about a year later.

Recap: Teal’s Role in Inventing Transistor at Bell

Goldstein:

Did you have the lab separated into physics, chemistry and engineering divisions like Bell Labs did?

Teal:

To a certain extent, yes. I had a physics department.

Goldstein:

How were communications between the departments arranged?

Teal:

If they needed to talk, they got together and talked.

Goldstein:

Was it informal?

Teal:

Usually. Or sometimes we would have formal meetings. On this issue I wrote: "In the fall of 1951 Western Electric offered licenses to anyone who'd pay a $25,000 advance on royalties. TI sent its check in the next day. The following spring Bell held an eight-day symposium to teach transistor technology to the licensees. Haggerty, Olsen, Mark Shepard and Boyd Corneliuson, a young electrical engineer who had recently gone on the payroll, went up for the symposium.

When they returned, Shepard set up a small group fabricating transistors and started building an organization which, a year and a half later, became the Semiconductor Components Division. Shepard, an Assistant Vice President at 30, was its manager. Like other scientist-managers then exploring the new universe of solid-state physics, he had a special kind of organization problem: getting chemists, physicists and electrical and mechanical engineers to apply their different disciplines in concert. Shepard's organization got a lot more from Bell Labs than know-how and license. He got a scientist named Gordon Teal."

"Teal was one of the men who had provided Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain and others at Bell Labs with the grown single-crystal germanium materials they needed for their experimental work. He had been one of the inventors of the single-crystal grown-junction technique of making transistors."

The grown-junction, I was the inventor of that. But the junction transistor is something that Shockley and Sparks and I all shared in the responsibility for achieving. I wrote: "He had a highly advanced knowledge of solid-state physics and a specialized knowledge of materials used in semiconductors. At Brown University he had written both his master's and his Ph.D. theses on one of these materials, germanium. Years later at Bell, Teal and a mechanical engineer, John Little, were asked to figure out a way to grow some single-crystal germanium." We weren't asked to figure it out — this is not absolutely correct here — because we weren't told to grow some. That was my own idea.

Goldstein:

Did Bell discourage you from working on that?

Teal:

Yes. Also John Little was not asked to figure out a way to grow single crystals. He was just trying to make a rod that they needed in the production side there at Bell.

Goldstein:

Do you know why they needed a rod of germanium?

Teal:

I don't know exactly what, but I don't think there was anything inventive about it. They certainly had no desire to make single crystals. They resisted making single crystals all they could, without leaving themselves open to criticism later.

Goldstein:

How did that position change in the bureaucracy? What was their strategy when they did go after it?

Teal:

It's hard to say. People weren't too sure of just what their strategy should be. On the issue I wrote: "Within a few months Teal and his colleagues had grown the first germanium single crystal and had also grown the first silicon single crystal with p-n junctions; that is, positive and negative junctions so that a current can be controlled. Shepard's organization acquired this valuable — "

Goldstein:

That confuses me. Isn't a p-n junction simply a diode? That wouldn't be a transistor, would it?

Teal:

It has to be a p-n-p or an n-p-n.

Goldstein:

Right. There's the three.

Teal:

Right.

Goldstein:

Was that harder than just a p-n junction?

Teal:

Yes. It is a little more complicated. You need equipment to drop a pellet in — one was a p-type pellet, and the other one was the negative — and do it at just the right amount.

Goldstein:

Was that the hard part?

Teal:

It is hard to say, but you had to have a puller.

Goldstein:

You were saying, it's hard to say which was the more challenging part.

Teal:

Yes, but it is written here: "Shepard and Boyd Corneliuson had designed and built a machine that grew germanium crystals." Yes, that's true, except it doesn't say that before they built the machine, I told them how to build it. That was about a half a year before I got there.

Texas Instrument Cont'd.

Initial Reluctance to Join TI

Goldstein:

So you knew for half a year that you were going to TI. Is that right?

Teal:

Not immediately. I think the first time I considered going, I turned it down.

Goldstein:

Really!?

Teal:

Pat Haggerty made quite an effort to get me down there.

Goldstein:

Why were you resistant at first?

Teal:

I don't remember exactly what I was thinking at the time, but it was a big decision, and it was a pretty complicated decision for my family. Anyway, Haggerty persisted, and then I agreed.

Going back to the preceding issue, they had built a machine that grew single crystals. That was no surprise because I went down and spent a lot of time telling them exactly what to do. It wasn’t done absolutely like I told them, but I am certain I was partly responsible for it turning out successfully.

Goldstein:

What did you think they were doing wrong?

Teal:

They needed the background knowledge that I already had because I had already designed the damned machine. I designed it with the help of the people who were in my group at Bell Labs. I think we had four machines working before I left there and we'd done a lot of experimenting in building those machines in different ways.

Goldstein:

This is materials science experimenting, finding out properties of the germanium and the silicon?

Teal:

Yes. Just learning how we had to pull it out and giving that process consistency was challenging.

Epitaxial Making

Goldstein:

Somewhere I read that there is another way of doing this. For instance, there is the epitaxial technique. Could you describe what that is?

Teal:

I have a patent on epitaxial making.

Goldstein:

What does that mean? What does the epitaxial describe?

Teal:

Christianson and I had a patent on epitaxial. Here it is! "The Method of Fabricating Germanium Bodies."

I write: "The method of forming a layer of germanium — a body of germanium — which compromises mounting said body in a chamber passing over said body in a mixture of hydrogen germanium halide and an impurity determining a conductivity type opposite to that of the said body in gas form, and heating said chamber to thermally decompose said halide."

Goldstein:

What were some of the alternative techniques that you were working on [besides] epitaxial? Were there other approaches? If you were working on epitaxial pulling, were there other approaches that other people were doing?

Teal:

I believe it was the first time. I believe that this is the patent. "In accordance with one broad feature of this invention, a film or layer of the semiconductor material of one conductivity type is formed on a body or substratum of a material of a different conductivity, of the opposite conductivity."

The Transistor Radio

Goldstein:

This was in the mid-nineteen fifties. Can you recall what you were doing in the late 'fifties. After the successful production of the silicon grown-junction transistor, what research did you promote in the lab?

Teal:

Texas Instruments, this other was done in '54. As you can see, I've got quite a few patents here listed. I mean the actual patents.

Goldstein:

You had a lot of ideas for the different electron amplifiers and iconoscopes that you were working on at Bell Labs in the 'thirties. What Texas Instruments was researching in the late 'fifties?

Teal:

We got into some other developments. I wasn't really the inventor of the particular things.

Goldstein:

What was your role as head of the laboratory then if you weren't the inventor? What were you doing?

Teal:

The variety of jobs that a boss usually has to do just to keep things together and meet certain deadlines.

Goldstein:

Well, you said in '54 and '55 you would go into the lab and say to somebody, "Let's try this." Were you still doing that?

Teal:

Not as much. At this point I write: "Shepard's organization made a major commercial breakthrough in the use of germanium transistors. His Semiconductor Division had been producing germanium transistors in commercial quantities, but they sold for $10 to $16 a piece, and the market was still small — mostly in the hearing aids. Haggerty figured that if they could get the price down to about two dollars and a half, they could open up a big market in portable radios. TI designed a transistor and a process for mass-producing it that would enable the company to meet this price goal. Then Haggerty and Harris went to an independent radio manufacturer, the producer of the Regency line, and helped it to bring out the first transistor radio."

Goldstein:

Let me ask you about that. It says that Haggerty set a price goal and then decided that if TI could manufacture transistors at that price, then portable radios would be feasible. After that did they then talk to you about how to develop the process at cost per unit? Did the goal to produce the radios come before the technology to produce the transistors? When you started working on it, did you know that Haggerty had this $2.50 per transistor objective?

Teal:

No.

Goldstein:

Did he only formulate those plans once you developed your procedure?

Teal:

I was in favor of Shepard trying to learn the mass manufacturing technique. I would tend to be working on jobs that would be harder than that.

Goldstein:

What do you mean by that?

Teal:

I mean there was more research-type of things.

Goldstein:

Was it Shepard's influence that brought emphasize production goals?

Teal:

Mass production was something more important for him and his people to work on rather than for me.

Goldstein:

Who were his people? Was he in charge of production?

Teal:

The expert on growing crystals was Corneliuson. We had taught Corneliuson a lot of what he knew. He asked some machinist to make things that he needed as well, so they had more people. No use using research people to do jobs that other people probably could do.

Organization of Research Lab in Late 1950s

Goldstein:

You were saying that by the late 'fifties and early 'sixties, you were spending less time in the lab. Where did the direction for the laboratory come from? Who was in charge of the projects that they were working on?

Teal:

No one. As the people that I brought in got experience, they were capable of having good ideas themselves and not have to be directed in everything they did.

Goldstein:

They would launch their own research projects?

Teal:

Yes, and I depended on the group heads to give them instructions rather than me.

Goldstein:

Were the group heads a part of the project from the very beginning? Or did you create the positions as the lab grew larger?

Teal:

It was something that developed as the lab grew larger because I had to depend on the group heads.

Goldstein:

Right. Were there group heads from day one?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Was the research very product-oriented? Did they have to have an application in mind?

Teal:

I thought it would be a good idea if it brought out new and better ways of doing some things, so yes.

Goldstein:

Can we go over some of those then?

Teal:

I wanted to go ahead and read this, "The Crystal With a Future": "Meanwhile Research and Development — that is, Teal and his assistant, Dr. Willis Adcock — had been plugging away at silicon as a transistor material. Silicon was known to have one large advantage over germanium. It could withstand much higher temperatures. This difference did not matter much in radios, but it could be decisive in a wide variety of military applications; that is, in the transistors in missiles. However, the electronics industry did not then view the silicon transistor as a commercially feasible proposition. Teal combed the country for men to help in his project and added a select few of them to his staff. Corneliuson managed to build a ingenious silicon crystal-growing machine for TI.

"One day early in 1954 — ." I bet I gave them good ideas on how to build a crucible at least half a year before that. But how can you know about all the things when so many things were going on at one time? "Teal and Adcock, Haggerty and Shepard and a few others knew that that crystal was going to alter the look of the transistor industry. They knew they could now go ahead with a product that the industry regarded as several years away commercially. Controlling their excitement over this development, Haggerty and his team set about making the most of it. Within a few weeks TI had silicon transistors in production. The industry was still in the dark."

The Silicon-Grown Transistor

Goldstein:

Why were people so skeptical about the possibility of a silicon-grown transistor?

Teal:

Most of them didn't know anything about silicon, except sand. Pure silicon—they didn't know beans about pure silicon.

Goldstein:

Was it that people thought you could never get sufficient purity or did people think it was too brittle?

Teal:

Well, most people did not know enough to have any brilliant thoughts about the subject. Why should you make something out of silicon when you already have germanium?

Goldstein:

But weren't you doing silicon carbide rectifiers as early as the 1940s?

Teal:

Silicon carbide is not comparable with silicon or germanium, except for one of the atoms of silicon carbide.

Goldstein:

Why then did you think silicon would make a good material for transistors?

Teal:

I just thought we could make one. I had had an interest in silicon at the time that I was working getting a degree primarily on germanium.

Goldstein:

Did you have any theoretical foundation for that belief? What about your awareness of silicon made you think that it was plausible to make transistors out of it?

Teal:

Silicon and germanium should be compared. They were very much alike; they were in the same periodic table.

Goldstein:

Other chemists knew that, so did they know there were germanium transistors?

Teal:

They didn't know enough about the periodic table, and they hadn't done a lot of work on silicon-germanium type of problems. I was there for three years working on things that were just like silicon and germanium.

Goldstein:

So you are saying it is not that they ruled out silicon; it's just that it never occurred to them.

Teal:

They didn't know enough about chemistry in most cases. So it wouldn't have occurred to them. I write on this subject: "Sometime earlier, as it happened, Teal had agreed to be one of the speakers before the National Conference on Airborne Electronics in Dayton, Ohio, on May 10, 1954, to speak on 'Some New and Recent Developments in Silicon and Germanium.' Haggerty and Teal decided not to alter this tedious title after the silicon breakthrough, but instead to retain it as a perfect cloak for the big news they had to impart. They decided to work the news into Teal's speech, and Buddy Harris began asking for copies to pass around at Dayton. 'The meeting was on Monday,' Teal recalled recently, 'and we didn't finish working on that paper until five in the morning.' The TI group stuffed copies of the paper in their briefcases, took along a little record player and made a dash for the plane."

Also I address it in this paragraph entitled, "I Just Happen to Have Some Here": "The auditorium of the Dayton Engineering Club was packed with representatives of the electronics industry, the military and the press. The first speeches droned on. Someone asked one speaker in the audience: 'When are you going to have the silicon transistor?' He replied that it was a long way off, adding in a reproving tone, 'You're not paying attention to your good germanium transistor.'"

Goldstein:

A comment like that suggests that people did want the silicon transistor, that people were aware that silicon had the higher melting point, and it was only a problem of technique, not awareness. Is that inaccurate?

Teal:

Let us see, I haven't read it for a long time. "The auditorium of the Dayton Engineering Club was packed with representatives of the electronics industry, the military and the press. The first speeches droned on. One speaker was asked by someone in the audience, 'When are you going to have the silicon transistor?' He replied that it was a long way off, adding in a reproving tone, 'You are not paying attention to our good germanium transistor.'"

"The next to the last speaker explained that although his company was working on the silicon transistor, it could not possibly be produced for at least two years. The last speaker was Teal. He plodded through most of his 'Recent Developments in Silicon and Germanium' without inspiring any excitement. Then, towards the end of his speech, he read these words: 'Many laboratories have been very active in the study of silicon and investigating its possibilities as a transistor material. Substantial progress has been made at Texas Instruments. The work to be reported is the result of collaborative investigation by W.A. Adcock, Morton E. Jones, J.W. Thornhill and Edmund D. Jackson. They have successfully constructed n-p-n silicon grown-junction transistors and have developed the process to a point such that our company now has two types of silicon transistors in production. They forecast an exciting future for silicon materials and devices, and one which will strongly affect circuits and apparatus designs in the years to come.' Out front there was silence and stupefaction as these words sank in."

"Then somebody jumped up and stammered, 'Do you mean that you have this in production?' 'Yes,' replied Teal blandly, 'I just happen to have some here in my coat pocket.' He walked backstage, brought out a little record player, and gave the audience a demonstration. While a germanium transistor did not make any sound after having been dipped in oil at 150, the silicon transistor with the same treatment came through loud and clear. Then Teal concluded by announcing that a few copies of this prepared speech were available ‘in case some of you are interested.' There was a stampede for copies and for the phone booth. One man from Raytheon put in a call to his executive vice president and was heard in the booth croaking hoarsely, 'They got the silicon transistors down in Texas!'

"The silicon transistor was a turning point in TI's history. For with this advance, it gained a big head start over the competition in a critical electronic product. There was no effective competition in silicon transistors until 1958. TI's sales rose almost vertically. The company was suddenly in the big leagues, but there it ran into a new and larger order of problems."

Integrated Circuits

Goldstein:

Can you tell me about the introduction of integrated circuits at TI? Were you involved with that research?

Teal:

I was.

Goldstein:

Can you tell me something about the development effort of printed circuits at TI?

Teal:

Yes. I think it was definitely helped because at TI we knew how to grow single crystals. So I think it grew out of that.

Goldstein:

When you described the entire research effort of Texas Instruments, were you the head of all research or just that particular laboratory?

Teal:

I was head of Research.

Goldstein:

There's one thing that I had a specific question about. You write here, "Probably the most significant product since the transistor, was announced for sale in 1959. This was the Texas Instruments solid circuit. This exciting new area of electronic technology was started at the CRL by Willie Adcock several years earlier with his research on a line of diodes on a silicon wafer and in which an outside group later expressed considerable interest. The solid-circuit project was later transferred out of the Central Research Laboratory to the Semiconductor Components Division at such an early stage that many people do not recognize it had its birth in CRL." What was the Semiconductor Components Division? You said that the project was transferred out of CRL to the Semiconductor Components Division, and I don't know of that division.

Teal:

That was a division of Shepard's operation—the production part.

Goldstein:

Was there a development laboratory that Shepard ran?

Teal:

Yes. Shepard, I guess, and I suppose Haggerty, too, wanted to get it into production as soon as possible. At the time I would have preferred that I remained in Research, but it was done anyway.

Goldstein:

Whose decision was that?

Teal:

It's hard to say whether Shepard put up a fight for it or whether the boss was the one who made the decision.

Goldstein:

By boss you mean Haggerty?

Teal:

Yes. Haggerty.

Goldstein:

Well, then we can just talk about it in general, about the table of organization at TI or the procedure for developing any product. Did they tend to start at the Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL) and then move to development?

Teal:

Shepard was given, gradually, more responsibility in some of these fast-moving things. I would have preferred that it be handled in CRL at least another year.

Goldstein:

Do you remember why that is? Did it seem undeveloped to you?

Teal:

Yes. Because we knew that there was a great deal that we could do and that's where the thing started.

Goldstein:

What more could you have done?

Teal:

The whole job.

Goldstein:

So there was competition between CRL and Shepard's group? Texas Instrument the company still developed it. But it sounds like you would have liked to hold onto that project?

Teal:

Yes, I would have. But Adcock was moved out.

Goldstein:

I'm not sure I understand what benefit you would have gotten had it stayed in CRL. Would they have gained a sounder scientific understanding?

Teal:

It is a pretty touchy subject for me after all these years to start trying to do something about it. I think we could have done the job very well if it was kept in CRL, and that is my personal opinion. But there were powers that be that decided to move it elsewhere.

Growth of the CRL

Goldstein:

You say that in 1959 CRL was provided with a new building. Do you remember that, the move to a new laboratory?

Teal:

Yes. We were glad to have that new building.

Goldstein:

Was Texas Instruments' Research Division booming? Would the addition of a lot of new staff have made a new building necessary? Do you recall what the motivation was for a new laboratory?

Teal:

The group was getting sufficiently big and we just didn't have room for new people to come in to have a place to work. Also, the quarters were not as convenient as they needed to be.

Goldstein:

There is something else that you write here that's intriguing. You wrote: "The tantalum capacitor development story is too long and involved so I won't go into it now. While the demand for the product was great, the technological problems also seemed harder to solve than we anticipated. It's possible that we went too far too fast without first having the fundamental technical understanding needed for rapid progress. This demonstrates the need in some instances for a parallel basic research program to run simultaneously with a high-technology development project." Was that a frequent tension in research at Texas Instruments?

I'm not necessarily interested in the tantalum transistor, necessarily, but the concept of basic research as distinct from high-technology development. It seems like what we were saying before suggests that your laboratory, the CRL, was responsible for basic research, whereas, Shepard was responsible for development? Is that accurate?

Teal:

More or less. But, it took a number of years for him be able to handle things having as much basic type of work as he was able to handle later.

Goldstein:

You mean it took him a while to set up his division?

Teal:

He just didn't know how to do research.

Goldstein:

I see. But tell me, did you feel that in your research lab were you doing pure science?

Teal:

No, it wasn't pure science, but it at least had enough pure science in it and people who had enough knowledge of pure science to do a pretty good job.

Honors

Goldstein:

In 1962 for IEEE's—it was the IRE at that time—for the IRE's 50th anniversary, you wrote just a page forecasting what technology would be like in 2012.

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

It's remarkably prescient. Did you feel then the same caution and apprehension that you feel now about prognosticating?

Teal:

Well, it was a very different situation, I think. I'm very firm in my belief that I did a really good job at TI, and Bell too. But, some other people have done good jobs at those places as well. I don't want to take the point of view that I have to be a know-it-all with respect to other people.

Goldstein:

You say that you feel as though you've done a really good job for Bell Labs and TI, and that is beyond dispute. The walls are just cluttered with plaques and testimonials. What accomplishments are you proudest of?

Teal:

I address that in "Honors and Professional Recognitions" on page 3. Well, of course 1926 goes back to Baylor University and Kappa Epsilon Alpha was a good scholarship society. So I at that time was doing pretty good work. And that was the year before I graduated.

Goldstein:

Was it an actual organization or club? Or simply a distinction that you earned?

Teal:

It was a distinction, but it generally meant that you were doing good work. As for Sigma Chi Xi, I've got it written down as 1929, but I've recently realized that I actually got that in 1928 which was my second year at Brown University. This was an honorary research society that indicated that my ability to do research-type of jobs and studies had come up to what the people regarded as forecasting an indication that I would be able to do research adequately.

Goldstein:

You proved yourself "promising."

Teal:

Yes that was it.

Goldstein:

Was that based on a paper that you did or your professors' observations of your work or your grades?

Teal:

This was the professors' observation of my whole way of working and studying and learning the things I was being taught. Then going on beyond things learned to make conclusions a good researcher should be able to make, although that can be different for every man.

Goldstein:

Did you do a much independent study while at Brown? Is that what you mean by going beyond?

Teal:

Yes, but I came out with the ability to see new possibilities in the research. Then in 1952, I went on tour as speaker for American Chemical Society. I spoke on the subject of chemistry of semiconductors and transistors, single crystals of germanium and silicon. I went through the State of New York, a number of different cities all over New York State, and then several universities in the Midwest in several different states—like Kansas and Missouri, Illinois. Then the southwestern United States.

These are just things that come out of all of this: Honorary Life Fellow. A group in the Texas Academy of Science made this conclusion of giving me an Honorary Life Fellowship.

Goldstein:

These are the awards that others have bestowed on you. But how about the work that you yourself have done in terms of feeling proud of the work?

Teal:

I felt pretty good about getting elected a member of the F&M [correct word ???] in England.

Goldstein:

I don't necessarily mean which award you're proudest of, but the work that you did that earned the awards. Which of those are you most proud of?

National Bureau of Standards

Teal:

I think the job that I did at the National Bureau of Standards was very interesting to me. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Goldstein:

You were saying that the work at the National Bureau of Standards was very interesting.

Teal:

Yes, it was very interesting to me. I liked the people, and I was interested in the various kinds of jobs, the kinds of work that they did. I thought it was nice that they gave me when I left a Certificate of Appreciation honor scroll, from National Bureau of Standards and the U.S. Department of Commerce. And the citation says: "For personal leadership, furtherance of government-industrial relations and outstanding stewardship of major programs in physical data, standard reference materials, measurement methodology and conceptual understanding as first Director of the NBS Institute for Materials Research." That is signed by Ashton [sic].

Goldstein:

How did you become involved in the National Bureau of Standards?

Teal:

I think that the man who was my assistant at TI, Howard Sorda, probably talked to the people at the Bureau of Standards about me and highly recommended me for the way I approach problems. He felt that I had the knowledge about the subject materials and that would benefit the Bureau of Standards.

Goldstein: Do you know what the National Bureau of Standards was trying to do?

Teal:

They had a whole bunch of people that had been working on a variety of things in other parts of the Bureau of Standards, and they wanted to set up a first-class materials laboratory.

Goldstein:

So it was a reorganization?

Teal:

They had all the people, but some of them were working on other things than they were after I went there. I had to do a lot of deciding: which man to run this or do that. So I named all of those people up there. Howard Sorda was one of the people. He was my Assistant Director.

Goldstein:

You said that you pulled men from other divisions, working on other things. How did that work?

Teal:

These people were already at the Bureau, but it hadn't been decided what they would be doing. It was up to me to get acquainted with them and place them according to their best abilities were. I had to persuade them that we ought to create group heads that was matched to their abilities.

Goldstein:

Why did the job seem attractive to you? Why did you want to do it?

Teal:

I thought I was good at materials problems, and I had done an outstanding job at TI. Howard had worked for me there, and thought that the Bureau would like me and that I could speak with enough authority to persuade them to do certain things a certain way.

Goldstein:

But taking the job meant leaving Texas.

Teal:

Yes, it did. But it opened up a new future in a way.

Goldstein:

So you were looking forward to the change?

Teal:

Yes, I thought it would be a new venture that had the possibilities of being a big thing.

Goldstein:

Why? You mean, for you personally?

Teal:

Yes. I was in Europe, and I had left TI in Dallas, the headquarters, and was trying to help TI learn something about what to do about R&D in Europe because they had various product centers in a number of different countries. National Bureau was something to come back to, and I think that's why Howard suggested me to the people there.

Goldstein:

You were still in Europe when the National Bureau of Standards contacted you?

Teal:

Yes, they didn't contact me. They contacted Haggerty; they wrote him a letter. Then they talked to him over the phone, and he called me at midnight so that's the way it went.

Goldstein:

Did Haggerty recommend that you take the job, or did he not offer an opinion? You didn't get any sense of his preference?

Teal:

I don't really recall whether I did or not. Regardless of what his preference might be, it was up to me to decide what to do. I had two opportunities: One was to go back to Dallas and continue doing things much the same way that I had been doing them. Or go to Washington and try a completely new set-up and decide who's going to do what.

Goldstein:

What decisions did you have to make? What system did you put in place there?

Teal:

I just set up the guys to do certain types of work, after studying what they had previously done, and convince them that that would be a good thing for them.

Goldstein:

Did the National Bureau of Standards give you carte blanche to set up the Materials Research Institute however you wanted?

Teal:

I don't know. They seemed to like what I did and suggested, and the men themselves seemed to be looking forward to it, thinking it was going to be interesting to them. Apparently they did like it.

Goldstein:

Once you were assigned how long did you stay?

Teal:

I stayed for half of a year longer than I had promised, which was two years. And they asked me to stay, and the men wanted me to stay. I decided I thought it would be interesting, but I thought the best thing for me to do was to go back to Dallas.

Goldstein:

Once you were finished assigning men to the different positions, what were your responsibilities? What did you have to do then once the lab was set up and operating?

Teal:

We had regular meetings in which we talked about what needed to be done and the way to handle it, who's going to handle this part and that part. I talked to them a lot about the way we did things in the industry, and I think that was of interest to them. And I think it actually gave me ideas of what we could do and what they could learn about how you do work in the industry.

Goldstein:

You say that you showed them how things were done in industry.

Teal:

Yes. I mean, I gave them certain instances. I called up certain companies such as G.E. and R.C.A. They were interested in making a trip to these places and getting them to tell how they run their laboratories.

Goldstein:

You mean the companies were interested in sending a representative?

Teal:

No, we took our men to different types of companies.

Goldstein:

Then you toured their research facilities?

Teal:

Yes, and listened to them talk about how they worked and what did they expect from the Bureau of Standards and what could the Bureau achieve and help them to do better than they were doing at the time we arrived. I think they found it very rewarding.

Goldstein:

Did you learn anything at any of these different companies?

Teal:

In a number of cases I visited other companies while with TI. We had meetings on some subject of interest to them, where they thought they might do something for us that would be beneficial to them. It was pretty interesting.

Goldstein:

How many people were in this traveling entourage? If you said there were 600 staff members.

Teal:

Only these men.

Goldstein:

When did you meet Leland Ruben?

Teal:

He was my boss.

Goldstein:

Was he was on the same level as you at any time?

Teal:

Initially he was. E.H. White—Edison White—he reported to Leland, so this was the department I got into.

Goldstein:

Now in 1948 and '49 when you wanted to do the experiments with germanium crystals and you weren't getting permission, who did you speak to? Who on this chart did you have to confer with?

Teal:

Edison White and Leland ran the department. I did most of my talking to Edison White. He made things easier for me to get things done.

Goldstein:

Why did you stay the extra half-year?

Teal:

I think I because they wanted me to, and of course they wanted me to stay permanently, but as I've already told you I decided that there were too many things that would involve judging the men.

Goldstein:

You had to do performance evaluations?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Had you already decided to leave before you knew you needed to go back to Texas?

Teal:

No, I didn't have to leave. I just decided that I had been in private business operation for my whole career up to that point, I decided I’d rather stay in private industry.

Goldstein:

Why did you go back to Texas the moment you did?

Teal:

I didn't think it was fair to keep putting them off.

Goldstein:

I'm thinking of that last half year. They wanted you to stay, and you agreed to stay on a temporary basis?

Teal:

I'd thought it over, and thought Ambler, he's one smart guy, should replace me at the National Bureau.

Goldstein:

What was the condition of the lab when you left?

Teal:

It was operating fine.

Goldstein:

Tell me why working for the NBS was so rewarding?

Teal:

They seemed to be so set on the things that I encouraged them to do.

Goldstein:

They were supportive and appreciative, and you liked that?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Did the Materials Research Institute write technical memoranda and promulgate standards? That was their normal function?

Teal:

They could tackle almost anything. This is what I was looking for : "Dr. Teal is Director of the Institute for Materials Research at the National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C. This paper was presented on October 11, 1966, before the members of the Industrial Research Institute for their meeting in the Statler-Hilton Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. It was one of the five papers presented to discuss the various aspects of the work of the National Bureau of Standards."

I was in the Institute for Materials—I mean, in the IRI (Industrial Research Institute). I represented TI in that for years. And I still go to that occasionally. My idea was to get them involved with IRI.

Goldstein:

TI or the NBS?

Teal:

NBS, and thereby have a means of their having future contacts with industry through IRI because there are a large number of people in the IRI, and they represent a lot of companies in the U.S. It went over terrifically with IRI and also with the Bureau.

Goldstein:

What resulted? Conferences?

Teal:

I got them to set up a meeting right there at the Bureau one time. And then they started having periodic meetings with them every now and then.

Goldstein:

What issues would they discuss at the meetings?

Teal:

Almost anything that anybody had. They talk about practically anything that has to do with the efficiency of the industrial research effort and so forth.

Goldstein:

What results did these meetings? Did the National Bureau of Standards get a better idea of what industry was?

Teal:

What industry wanted, and what they were dissatisfied with.

TI Manufacturing in Europe

Goldstein:

We skipped over your experiences in Europe. Can we talk about that for a little while?

Teal:

Yes. That's even harder to talk about because I went to so many places.

Goldstein:

What was going on at Texas Instruments that they wanted you to go to Europe?

Teal:

They were thinking about setting up a research operation in Europe. The question was, where should it be set up? What would happen if you set it up at a certain place? And how would it affect the interests of the public in other nations? That is, if we set up in Switzerland, or somewhere in France near Switzerland or down near Rome or down in Naples, which is close to one of their plants over there (production plants, I mean), where would you set it up? And what would the people in other parts of Europe do? How would they feel about going one place or another, depending on where it was set up?

Goldstein:

Well, why did Texas Instruments want a research lab in Europe? What was the thought?

Teal:

They were not sure that one located in Dallas could handle all of the needs easily enough. They might feel, the people in Europe, and the peoples of the different nations in Europe, would feel that they are cut off from research because of the distance.

Goldstein:

You mean that the products that Texas Instruments were developing didn't meet the needs of the European market?

Teal:

They were so far away that they couldn't talk with the laboratory in Dallas. The European operation did have people who wanted to see research people, so they thought maybe they needed to set a plant up in Europe.

Goldstein:

And your job was to collect the reactions of Texas Instruments manufacturing facilities?

Teal:

No, People. Also I visited people in other companies, schools, and universities, to find out as much as I could about their ideas of how it should be done.

Goldstein:

And why did you want to do this? Why did that job appeal to you?

Teal:

We never lived abroad before, and it was a great opportunity to talk to so many people about company problems and research people's problems in such a scattered way. So, it involved making an important decision. In other words, whether to do all the research in Dallas or whether just scatter it out like the plants were scattered out. Do you put it near a plant? Would every country think they had to have a plant of their own or what?

Goldstein:

Do you mean a research lab?

Teal:

That was one of the issues, yes.

Goldstein:

What did you find when you talked to all the people?

Teal:

We decided that we wouldn't set up research in Europe. We'd keep it in Dallas.

Goldstein:

For what reasons?

Teal:

We had a good group, and I just thought it was too complicated to have people working at all our plants or squabbling with each other.

Goldstein:

Do you mean they wanted to have a single European plant that was responsible for that whole operation?

Teal:

Yes. But I felt that Dallas could do a better job.

Goldstein:

Were you alone in this mission, or were there other TI employees traveling with you?

Teal:

There was another guy, Jay Reese. He was head of the International Division, but he wasn’t my boss. I was running my own show, more or less.

Goldstein:

So you decided that a plant in another country was too involved?

Teal:

It would be too involved and also too expensive.

Goldstein:

You decided to keep all the research in Dallas?

Teal:

WE did give them technical help at the plants.

Goldstein:

How did you solve the problem, then, of answering the needs of these foreign markets? The original motivation for the trip was to be more sensitive to your — to the overseas manufacturing plants. But then you decided not to have a research lab overseas. Then you're stuck with the same problem.

Teal:

We thought that we could deal overseas more easily than we could among research people trying to do it across the seas. It was something that we decided would work better.

Goldstein:

Did you then at your research facility in Dallas consult frequently with the plants overseas? I'm trying to figure out now how you addressed the need that motivated the trip in the first place. When you got the word from Haggerty that the National Bureau of Standards wanted to recruit you. Was your trip winding down at that point? And that's why you felt you could cease your survey?

Teal:

I had been working up to that point trying to get to a place where I could make a set of recommendations.

Goldstein:

So then when you decided to go to the NBS, you wrote up the recommendations about Europe?

Teal:

Yes, I did.

Goldstein:

And you were telling me that the cities that you visited were London, Paris and Rome?

Teal:

Yes. We not only visited them, we lived there.

Goldstein:

You were just now saying that you were involved in U.S.-India science work. You were involved in science in India as a result of your involvement at the National Bureau of Standards because you were in a position to allocate research funds to India?

Teal:

Yes, I seem to remember that we could put out certain funds to help certain countries out.

Goldstein:

Was it in terms of developing their own standards?

Teal:

Yes. We made suggestions about how funds would be used based on the notion that it would give India entrance to the complexity of the field and us entrance to India. Most USA groups had an interest in developing the region.

Goldstein:

Do you know French and Italian?

Teal:

I did study a little bit of French, but mostly I spent more time on German. I don't, however speak any of them now, and at least I haven't done so in quite some time. When I went to Europe my knowledge of German helped me out occasionally. But we really didn't visit Germany enough for it to matter very much.

Goldstein:

What was the primary language used when interacting.

Teal:

English.

Goldstein:

Can you characterize what the service for the government was like? What your different roles were? Can you draw some conclusions about why you do it or what you've gotten from it? What motivated you to accept the positions, to seek out that work and how it affected you.

Teal:

I like to be on panels. I found out that the more panels you served on, the more useful information inside the government you picked up.

Goldstein:

You mean from other people serving on the panels, as a way of interacting with colleagues?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

You worked as a consultant for NASA, apparently, under the subcommittee of the first space shuttle payload?

Teal:

Yes.

Involvement with IRE

Goldstein:

Let me turn to a different topic. I want to talk about your involvement with the IRE. Now in your biographical notes you indicate that you became a member of the IRE in 1953?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Does that correspond to when you left Bell Labs and joined Texas Instruments?

Teal:

In '53. Yes, I think it was just about that time.

Goldstein:

W hat motivated you to join? I could imagine that in 1953 you began with the new company. You had just successfully developed these semiconductor devices. So perhaps your association with electronics engineering was closer than it had been before. And for that reason you felt you wanted a membership.

Teal:

Where did you find that?

Goldstein:

This is on page 8, at the very bottom of page 8. But it really just gives the dates.

Teal:

The American Chemical Society goes way back. And that was because my training was really primarily in chemistry.

Goldstein:

Right, but as you began to work more in electronics engineering, did you seek membership in the IRE.

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

And the year that you chose to enroll was 1953, and I was wondering what happened in that year that made you finally decide to join? Because you'd been working in electrical engineering really since the 'thirties with the work on television. And what's more, once you joined IRE, you took a number of positions in the local IRE structure.

Teal:

Yes, I did.

Goldstein:

I see here right away you became the Secretary-Treasurer in the Dallas-Forth Worth Section, and quite soon you became the Vice-Chairman of the Dallas-Fort Worth Section. It seems like you rushed in and set to work organizing.

Teal:

I got very much involved with the local meetings. I found this box in the closet right outside our bedroom, and it has three items in it. At the head is written the word "Historical," and then there are three lines, "Topics Treated: Nineteen-fifties." This box is full of magazines from Texas Academy of Science, and this is the first one. It indicates that these particular magazines are the copies I had in the 1950s and '61 to '63.

Then next is Council of Scientific and Engineering Societies in Dallas-Fort Worth. The dates on those range from 1957 to 1963. The third topic magazines are from the American Chemical Society; much of it relates to my speaking tours in the South and Middle West. In front is an indication that those groups are from 1953 to 1957.

Goldstein:

Do you have a similar box for your IRE involvement?

Teal:

Apparently they're not magazines, they are letters, the minutes of the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science.

Helping the Education System in Dallas

Goldstein:

You were about to say something about coming to Dallas in 1953.

Teal:

It's the fact that I have these indicates that when I came to Dallas, when I worked for Bell Labs, much of my readings were magazines and topics that I read in the literature of the Bell System. Reading those could take an awful lot of time, much of my time.

But in 1953 when I left Bell, I was leaving my close ties with a lot of things I read, and I no longer had Bell literature to read. Consequently, I became more interested in the magazines that I could get here in Dallas. I got so involved with magazines that I purchased the items instead of having them sent to me because I asked for them to be sent to me by the Bell System people before buying them.

When I became a boss instead of a scientist working mostly by himself, I became interested in what everybody else was doing, not just the Bell System. So that got me involved with working in the Dallas area scientific organizations. I got to talking to people in other companies in Dallas and in Fort Worth, and we began getting together. I became one of the officers of the American chemical literature or the various other literatures of the Texas Academy of Science. The local IRE sections were meeting, and I became a member. Later, I was asked to be a leader in the meetings.

Then became interested in getting in the schools. I had had contact with a few teachers at local schools and learned that some of them were interested working with a company like Texas Instruments. After we had some of these meetings, we began to start thinking about how can we help the education system here in Dallas.

Goldstein:

By schools do you mean the colleges and universities?

Teal:

Yes. And even in just the local schools.

Goldstein:

The high schools?

Teal:

Yes, and some of us began meeting with certain schools that similar interests to their work. They began disseminating advice to the schools. Those of us who were here doing important jobs in science or engineering would try to come up with ideas to help them. And they were often only too glad to be helped and accepted the suggestions out of respect for our training and expertise.

Therefore several of us set up the Council of Scientific and Engineering Societies. I was the one who did most of the setting up, so I had a lot of contacts with people who wanted to help the local education system. I have a lot of things that I've stored up like this over a period of time.

I got to know all of the highly trained people in the area and began doing things to help them. I also encouraged them to ask us for help.

Goldstein:

What kind of help did you provide?

Teal:

We gave teaching materials and explained how use them. That sort of thing. As a consequence, I have a significant amount of literature that was sent out.

Goldstein:

Did the Council take on this function to assist teachers after they got together? Did they meet for other purposes?

Teal:

Yes. I mean, it was really to try to keep a group of people working together who so had similar interests.

Goldstein: It gave you an opportunity to trade ideas with these people?

Teal:

Yes. Most of that came out of not being in a big organization. It was outstanding and was kept inside the framework of the organization itself.

Goldstein:

You mean, you were no longer in Bell?

Teal:

I was no longer in the Bell System.

Goldstein:

So your needs for interaction were no longer met by AT&T.

Teal:

That's right.

IRE Dallas-Fort Worth Section

Goldstein:

Is that part of the reason why you joined the IRE then?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

You said magazines were available to you at Bell. Were the Proceedings of the IRE available at Bell but not at TI?

Teal:

Not in quantities and across the board.

Goldstein:

But it wasn't simply enough for you to just join. You actually became a local leader?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

What decisions did you make and changes did you bring to the Dallas-Fort Worth Section?

Teal:

When we got to having regular meetings, and had a local magazine.

Goldstein:

So you began the publication of this magazine?

Teal:

Yes. My recollection is that John Greene, Mark Bullock and Gordon Teal and Derwood Tucker, Regional Director of WRR—that's the radio station—for Dallas, we set up this magazine in Dallas that came out monthly. Here is George W. Bailey's article. He was head of this whole thing.

Then we turned out this magazine, put various articles that applied to people who came to a meeting here, and here's Ryder and some of the other people. Here's George W. Bailey. It is written in this magazine: "'A plant tour of Magnolia Petroleum Field Research Laboratories in Dallas will be held May 3rd at seven-thirty p.m. in the plant,' Dr. Dayton H. Clewell, Director of the Laboratories, has announced."

Goldstein:

Had there been a Dallas-Fort Worth Section and you simply revitalized it, or did you guys found the section?

Teal:

There were several of us already in the thing, but we set it up and started this magazine, which pulled us together. It had a lot to do with pulling the organization together and passing on information. We began to find out what various people in the city and various people outside of the city, as well as certain other cities in Texas, were doing interesting things.

Goldstein:

As director of TI's research lab, would you have been up front in publishing news about Texas Instruments' breakthroughs or their research direction? Or were there reasons to be more cautious?

Teal:

At times we were only too glad to have people know what some of our accomplishments were.

Goldstein:

Sure, past accomplishments. But then if you were sitting on some breakthrough or some new procedure?

Teal:

You wouldn't necessarily want to spread the news too fast. But at the same time it did bring in a lot of news that enough people who were interested in that thing began to have a place to go to find other people who were interested in talking and doing things together. Of course they had certain awards and so forth.

James O. Weldon who lives right across the street from me now—and didn't at this time—was head of Continental Electronics Manufacturing here in Dallas. He had a very interesting background. I believe he came from California and set up this company. He was head of the Awards Committee. It just happened that James Weldon was one of the people who got, and became a Fellow instead of just a member.

Goldstein:

I'm not clear if it served a purely social function or also a professional function?

Teal:

It served both. As we began having meetings that some of our wives went to, too. So that it just made it a more friendly and also stimulating to be around people who had similar sorts of training in many aspects to yourself. So we set this up, and everybody began keeping track of good men who were coming in and where did he come from.

Goldstein:

So this began in 1955?

Teal:

Yes. Here's [Woody] Gannett up in Washington. I saw him at this meeting I went to October 10th.

Goldstein:

For the History Committee?

Teal:

Yes. I hadn't seen him for a long time. Well, let me see if I can find a few pictures that might indicate what sorts of things went on. Yes, here's another one of Alfred Goldsmith. I used to know him. Here's Ed Jackson capturing use of sun's energy as a technical topic. He developed a photocell.

Goldstein:

Did you have a lot of influence with the other engineers in the area because of your accomplishments at Bell and then later at Texas Instruments?

Teal:

Yes. It made it easier to talk about scientific and technical things that were going on, and to have somebody who really wanted to listen to it.

Goldstein:

And tell me something about your involvement with the national organization. You launched this magazine and organized engineers regionally. But you also became involved with the national IRE organization, isn't that right?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

What prompted you to take positions on the national level?

Teal:

The IRE journals kept us in touch with people in other parts of the country so that we knew what was going on. Since I knew the people and liked them, and felt I was benefited professionally by their company, it made life more interesting.

Here's a picture that tells a story of first annual Dallas dinner, the first one. Here's John Greene right here, and this one is Mark Bullock. Here is James Weldon who lives across the street.

Goldstein:

Let me ask you: when you interacted with these other engineers in advisory panels and government service, did you draw guidance for your administration of the lab from talking to these people? Or was the exchange mostly scientific?

Teal:

Most of the talk at the meetings was social.

Goldstein:

But of the professional communication, did you tend to focus on scientific matters or matters of administering a research lab or developing a technology?

Teal:

It all depended whether you had something ready to talk about that you thought the other guy might be interested in. But I wouldn't say that we had our meetings for social activity. But it was an important part of bringing the family in and really getting to know people.

If something new had been developed in the area, why, we all wanted to know about it. Let me see if I can find something else that might be of interest to show you. "Big Doings in Houston: Camera Tells the Story." Well, here I am with Ken Newton who is working with IRE in its organization up in Kansas City. There is Derwood Tucker, who was head of the first radio station here.

Top leader, John Henderson is right over here. Here are some of the other top leaders: Lohegrin, George W. Bailey and Haradan Pratt. It was a historic meeting. It is written here: "For the first time in the history of the IRE, the National Board of Directors meet in Texas in April. Front row from left: Professor John G. Brainerd, H.R. Hegbar, Arthur B. Lohegrin, Donald G. Fink, John T. Henderson, President."

Goldstein:

The National Board of Directors met in Houston? Houston had its own section? Was there a distinction between the Dallas-Fort Worth Section and the Houston Section?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

How many people were in the Dallas-Fort Worth Section?

Teal:

It was a pretty good size. Teal reviews successful, 1956, '57, IRE Section Program in Dallas. Warren Johnson, he was an atomic energy advisor. He was one of the high-up men having to do with nuclear power and was a good friend of mine.

Goldstein:

Can you describe a function that the Dallas-Fort Worth Section of the IRE served for you? It doesn't seem to me that the national IRE organization could serve the same function. So what was your motivation to become involved on the national level, when you, for instance, were Director-at-Large? You were the Vice Chairman of the Southwest IRE. I'm not sure what the CO stands for.

Teal:

SWIRECO represented various places in Texas, and I believe we included some other states. So it was called SWIRECO. I was the chairman of SWIRECO for a year or two.

Goldstein:

What did being the chairman of SWIRECO entail?

Teal:

You had to keep in touch with the other local sections and go to some of their meetings and invite people from way off places like New York or Boston. You had to come and talk to several sections in SWIRECO. If you were a good speaker who knows what you were talking about, there were many opportunities to speak to the various branches, which was good for both the national organization and also the local organizations.

Here's Warren Johnson, honored as the Chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission and Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at the University of Chicago. I remember this dinner for him it was very important.

It brought in somebody who people in the IRE rarely had a change to hear, and he was one of the high-ups. Additionally, he belonged to a lot of organizations, but he was particularly important in this matter of atomic energy.

IRE-AIEE Merger

Goldstein:

I'd like to talk about the IRE's relation to the AIEE. You were a leader in this period. How did you feel about the AIEE and talk of merger?

Teal:

Haggerty became involved and became President of the IRE in 1959. Then Ernst Weber took over. I was very much involved with the getting together of AIEE and IRE because of being so close to both Ernst Weber and Haggerty.

Goldstein:

What did you think about the merger that made you think it was a good idea?

Teal:

It cut down the competition between them and broadened some of the interests that IRE. So we held a lot of meetings to try to get this thing put together, and I think it worked out fine. Instead of fighting each other, they helped each other.

Goldstein:

Do you remember at all why you wanted to be on a committee for the merger? Did you feel that you had a special vision of how the merger ought to go?

Teal:

I had ideas of how to do this and how to facilitate the job of getting them put together, as opposed to acting against each other.

Goldstein:

What is a Director-at-Large?

Teal:

I was the first member from the Southwest ever to be nominated for this post. "And he's also been recently appointed chairman of the IRE Section Publications."

Goldstein:

Now why is it that you were interested in the section's Publication Committee?

Teal:

I just thought that somebody ought to take an interest in it, so why not me?

Goldstein:

Was it really that light-hearted and frivolous?

Teal:

Honestly, somebody probably thought, why don't we get Teal?

Goldstein:

What work did the Section's Publication Committee do? Was it a magazine or something else?

Teal:

Yes, it was a magazine. We had a pretty active section. These guys were really good.

This is what I was looking for before. Ernst Weber. "Institute of Radio Engineers names Dr. Ernst Weber. (Donald B. Sinclair succeeds Granqvist as IRE Vice President. He will assume the reins of office as President of the Institute of Radio Engineers for 1959." Then Haggerty succeeded a year later.

Goldstein:

Now was that very good for Texas Instruments, to have one of their employees as the President of IRE?

Announcement of n-p-n Silicon Grown-Junction Transistor

Teal:

I thought it was good. I mean, it made the employees who were technically inclined feel that he was considered of importance to be at the meetings like this.

"The work to be reported is the result of a collaborative investigation by W. A. Adcock, Morton E. Jones, J.W. Thornhill, and Edmund B. Jackson. They have successfully constructed n-p-n silicon grown-junction transistors and have developed the process to a point such that our company now has two types of silicon transistors in production. A construction, which has been found to be superior, is shown in Figure 15, in which a single-crystal silicon bar has been cut from a suitably grown single-crystal high-purity silicon.

In a representative unit the end-type emitter section of the bar has a resistivity of the order of 100 ohm centimeters, and the two end-type regions are separated by p-type layer having a thickness of the order of 1,000th of an inch or less. The single-crystal silicon bar is given a suitable surface treatment and connection is made to the p-layer by alloying to it a suitable acceptor-type material such as aluminum. The collector and emitter leads are firmly attached to the two ends of the bar, and the unit is hermetically sealed into a standard metal transistor case with metal-to-ceramic sealing."

"Measurement of power-handling capabilities show that silicon triodes out-performed germanium triodes of similar design by more than a factor of 3 in an ambient of 25oC. these silicon-junction transistors in conventional low-power designs will dissipate 250 milliwatts. This is decreased to half this on raising the ambient to 100o. Attaching conventional low-power units in conventional cases to the chassis, these typical silicon transistors exhibit power-handling capabilities of 1 to 1-1/2 watt at an ambient of 25o. These results demonstrate effectively some of the very important rewards obtainable in silicon. They forecast an exciting future for silicon materials in devices, which will strongly affect circuit and apparatus designs in the years to come."

Goldstein:

Why did you decide to announce the discovery of the silicon transistor at this talk in that way?

Teal:

We didn't want to bore the people by having a lot of men who were involved talk about it, and I was the one who directed their research. So this was the way the company could have a big audience, and we had a big crowd of people there.

Let's see now, what is this? This is an article that I gave when I was retiring from the Vice-Presidency of the AAAS. A dinner at Chicago on December 28, 1970 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in connection with its Industrial Science Section.

Goldstein:

Now you gave this in December of 1970. Where were you in 1970? You'd returned from Washington in '67? Is that right?

Teal:

Yes, I was still with TI, and I hadn't retired. I retired in '72. And so I was working in Dallas, but I went to Chicago to give this talk.

Vice President and Chief Scientist for Corporate Development

Goldstein:

Your position at TI, it was the Vice President and Chief Scientist for Corporate Development. That was between 1968 and 1972. Who was your immediate boss?

Teal:

I was reporting to Grant Dunn.

Goldstein:

What was Grant Dunn's position? Was he a president of the company?

Teal:

No, he wasn't the president, but he had a high-up position and watched developments all over the company.

Goldstein:

I remember you said that your early responsibilities at TI were to collect good scientists and guide them in their research. And how did that compare with your responsibilities at TI in 1970?

Teal:

I wasn't so intimately involved in research. It was more like thinking of the company in a more overall sense.

Goldstein:

In terms of its position in the market?

Teal:

Yes, I’ve written that it purpose was to, "Assist planning for corporate business growth, participate in determining techno-economic alternatives and make clear recommendations on. First, examine company objectives and strategies, and achieve better focus and clear-cut priorities. Take second look at TI exploratory and tactical research with outside opinions and advice. Make ten-year forecast. Make intensive techno-economic studies. Undertake other Chief Scientist functions discussed in memo as needed and as time permits. The benefits: Major impact on TI growth plans and activities."

Goldstein:

Are these items an accurate description of your job? Is that what you actually were doing?

Teal:

I believe so.

Goldstein:

What were some of the company objectives and strategies in the late 'sixties and early 'seventies? How did those differ from the early days?

Teal:

I note: "Separate decision package on a broad technical, intelligence activity," and I was the manager of a certain cost center. "Coordinate and use all intelligence that comes to TI people through legitimate channels. Statement of program: Collect, screen, interpret, disseminate technical intelligence on research product and business development to selected management and scientist and engineer groups to aid in review of adequacy of TI programs. Benefits: More dynamic, timely and informed decisions by TI top management." And my travel expenses were expected to be $15,000. I had four people and one secretary was reporting to me.

Goldstein:

I'm trying to understand what this document is. Did you write this yourself, or was this prepared for you by your boss to outline the responsibilities of your job?

Teal:

My recollection is that it was done partly by myself and partly by discussing it with him.

Goldstein:

How did you feel about doing that job as opposed to a more hands-on scientific involvement?

Teal:

I really enjoy the scientific aspects more, but it was an important job at the time.

Goldstein:

If that job was more administrative and you missed the science, when did you stop working in the laboratory so much?

Teal:

Yes, that would go back quite a bit.

Goldstein:

Before you left for Europe?

Teal:

Incidentally, Grant Dunn, was named to the MCC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. That was down at Austin, Texas. I forget just what the MCC — Microelectronic and Computer Technology Corporation — elected Grant Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.

Goldstein:

When was that, in 1987?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Was Haggerty still President of TI at this time? In the early 1970s?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

Now from your position as Vice President of the company and Chief Scientist for Corporate Development, it seems like you'd be in a position to influence the technologies that were developed. This paper, "Technology and Human Potential" indicates that you were thinking about those subjects in 1970. Was it satisfying or exciting to be in that position?

1970s: Consultant

Teal:

Yes. I enjoyed it enormously. In 1972, I was a consultant for TI for five years, until '77. That was an interesting time because I had a lot of free time on my hands to look into certain things that related to the work that I had done. But things that were of special interest to me, I was able to take enough time to get around to see certain people and make a suggestion about this and that.

Goldstein:

When you say, "returned to things that you'd worked on," did you mean go into a laboratory and do scientific work, following up other things you'd done?

Teal:

No. Things that occurred to me. Go around and tell people about some of the work that had been done and find that either they had done a lot more on it or they hadn't done a lot more and needed to have somebody come around and tell them about some work. Certain kinds of work that we had done at a certain time and that needed additional attention to it.

Goldstein:

Would you visit people at TI or in other places?

Teal:

I met with them at TI.

Goldstein:

Other places also?

Teal:

Other places? What do you mean?

Goldstein:

I don't know if you mean that you talked to scientists at Texas Instruments only or perhaps in other some other organization.

Teal:

No. I was likely to have certain meetings with people who were interested in what I might have to say. And we did talk over some of the things that had happened and that some additional attention might be very productive in the way of new results. That I could tell them just where we left off and what they could do if they put somebody on it.

Goldstein:

How would these meetings be arranged? Would Texas Instruments call you and ask you to discuss a particular subject? Or what?

Teal:

We arranged to see each other in a meeting, certain fairly small group, not a big group, of people who were bosses of various jobs. There we'd talk about various things that were happening now in the laboratories or that they were thinking ought to be worked on. We would talk back and forth about what they thought the possibilities might be and I would say what I thought. I often just reviewed for the group what I'd been doing.

Goldstein:

What had been done before?

Teal:

What I had been doing while I had much more free time. I gave them a little review of some of the things that I'd been thinking about. I also made a trip to Washington to talk to somebody in one of the government offices, and things of that sort.

Goldstein:

And your assignment was to review work that had been done at TI previously?

Teal:

Yes. Comment on what we had done previously that related to some of their present interests.

Goldstein:

What did you think of the direction TI took after you left?

Teal:

Of the direction? Well, I think that's pretty hard to say.

Goldstein:

Was it not much different than when you were there?

Teal:

There were certain things tackled but this was, then, the middle 'eighties. I was concerned about certain things they did. Pleased about other things. I had a fair amount of stock in the company, and it meant really something to me money-wise for them to continue doing good things for the company and ones that they were wise in undertaking. Sometimes they weren't always wise. Sometimes they were very wise.

Goldstein:

What do you think of Texas Instrument’s role in microelectronics revolution of the 'seventies? Were you involved with that?

Teal:

No, I didn't get involved in that very much. I was interested in what they were doing, but I decided to focus on what I was doing..

Goldstein:

What was your area of expertise in the work that they'd ask you about? What were the boundaries of that area?

Teal:

It isn't something that you can outline. It's just something that occurs to you. When you hear about them going in a certain direction and putting a lot of money into it, you worry when you think that they made a mistake and didn't get the value of what they paid for.

Goldstein:

So those were production questions, but not necessarily questions about research?

Teal:

They didn't expect me to tell them what to do, and I didn't feel that they would particularly welcome my looking over their shoulders all the time.

Goldstein:

Also, while you were a consultant for Texas Instruments, you indicate here that you were a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences, the National Bureau of Standards, the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Science Foundation—I don't know what ERDA is.

Teal:

Yes, I used to know. I've forgotten.

Goldstein:

And then the NAE?

Teal:

National Academy of Engineering.

Goldstein:

What consulting might you do for some of these groups?

Teal:

When something came along that somebody wanted to ask me about, I often was pleased to meet with them.

Goldstein:

Might it mean writing a report or preparing a talk?

Teal:

Yes, occasionally I did some reports occasionally. Usually it was involved attending a certain meeting and making comments on what the interest of this group happened to be at the time.

Goldstein:

In your career you've worked as a chemist, a materials scientist and as an electrical engineer. What do you consider yourself?

Teal:

I think of myself as being a chemical physicist. But I have some knowledge of some things that wouldn't necessarily fit that title of "chemical physicist." Just depends on the situation.

Goldstein:

By that you mean the electrical engineering work you've done?

Teal:

Yes.

Post-1970s: IEEE, Baylor, Brown

Goldstein:

What have you done since the 1970s? What has occupied your energies?

Teal:

I have been involved in a few things, but I guess the thing that gives me a fair amount of satisfaction is being honored by a certain group. In 1980 I received that award right there. Then I received in '84 the IEEE Centennial Award.

Goldstein:

During the 'sixties and 'seventies, and even into the 'eighties, did you remain involved in IEEE activities?

Teal:

Not so much, but I spent a lot of time as I went along. In [nineteen-eight-five], I started going down to University of Texas. I was a member of the Council of the Arts and Sciences College. They had two meetings each year, which I attended and Lana attended with me. The wives went.

They were a very, interesting group to associate with, but we would be at a meeting that would last maybe two days. Usually the night before was a dinner and a social gathering. As time went on, when I was going down in the earliest days of the Arts and Sciences, I was involved with what later turned out to be the College of Natural Sciences. I've been on that council for quite a number of years that spans from 1972 until the present.

At the College of Natural Sciences, I've been made an Honorary Life Member of the Advisory Council of the College of Natural Sciences. I didn't go to college at the University of Texas, but I've been going to these meetings twice a year. Not only in relation to the sciences, but also the School of Education. Also I have been on the college’s Advisory Council since about 1978 and am still on it. It takes a considerable amount of my time.

Goldstein:

Your activities, when you say it takes a considerable amount of time, what do you do at the College of Arts and Sciences?

Teal:

We have presentations, and we listen to what they are doing, and comment on it.

Goldstein:

It's an advisory function?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

How did you get involved with a school that you did not attend, especially the University of Texas?

Teal:

I got involved while in the last years at TI. I went to certain departments and got acquainted with quite a few of the professors. I guess I added something to their departmental meetings and discussing of certain subjects. I get a big kick out of that.

Goldstein:

You've also worked with Brown University?

Teal:

I'm an Emeritus Trustee of Brown University, and I have been in that position since 1976. I was also a Trustee for Baylor. They don't have trustees emeritus, but I was a trustee for them. Not only Baylor University in Waco, but also the Baylor Medical Center here in Dallas.

Goldstein:

How did you get these positions?

Teal:

They have a number of meetings each year on the trustees, and I enjoyed them. Of course I'd give money to them, and still do.

Goldstein:

Did they approach you to serve on the Board of Trustees?

Teal:

Who?

Goldstein:

Either Baylor or Brown?

Teal:

Sure.

Goldstein:

Why did you want to be involved? Did you want to influence education? Or was it loyalty to your schools?

Teal:

With Brown University I'm still on and will continue. I just find it a very interesting university and it has great ambitions to do an outstanding job in many ways.

Goldstein:

So you want to contribute to that outstanding effort?

Teal:

I think I owe them quite a bit because at the time I needed it, I got a good education. They gave me a good start.

Goldstein:

Could you elaborate what changes exactly took place at Brown?

Teal:

They've had several presidents at Brown University. One of them just recently died. One of them, Dr. Hornick, he's still alive, but he was the first one in my recollection. He was there when I first started. We had some people ahead of him. It is very, very interesting to see how they approach their problems of handling things for the universities. Interesting to see to what extent they have problems and, in some cases solve them satisfactorily and in other cases has difficulty.

Goldstein:

So in addition to your positions on boards of trustees in universities, you've also been active in the Dallas area in. I know that you have a position at the Art Museum. What was that all about?

Teal:

Yes. We are not artists, but we have an interest in what they do.

Goldstein:

You have an appreciation of art and you wanted to be involved in governing the museum?

Teal:

Yes, to a degree.

Goldstein:

It is interesting to me because many people regard the scientific mind as different than the artistic mind. Do you feel there's any truth to this?

Teal:

I'm not an artist, but my wife and I, associated for many years with Alice and Albert Gray. We have a painting of hers right in the kitchen. So we looked at art a lot when we lived in New York, and they had museums where they had outstanding paintings and lots of different kinds of art. We did this over a period of years. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and we picked up a certain amount of knowledge of art.

The Scientific Mind?

Goldstein:

I'm curious if you believe in such a thing as a scientific mind. In one of the papers that you showed me, you wrote about what makes people scientific. Is creativity in science and in art alike?

Teal:

To a certain degree, but I think they're really fairly different.

Goldstein:

And how would you describe yourself? You're creative scientifically, correct?

Teal:

Yes, I think I am.

Goldstein:

How do you account for that?

Teal:

As I was growing up I had a strong curiosity about why some things work and some things don't. I had a feeling that I wanted to get in there and understand about why the thing was working.

I was curious about mechanical devices, light bulbs, or whatever gadget was around me. Then I thought that I would like to make something completely new. I just felt that I needed to produce something that operates better and different and leads on to other things. I have always felt that I ought to be able to leave the world a little better than it was when I started.

Goldstein:

You clearly were able to produce some things that worked a little bit better with your work on transistors. After that, when you were given more administrative responsibility at TI, did you feel that you were contributing in the same way?

Teal:

Yes, I think so.

Goldstein:

By overseeing research?

Teal:

Yes, and helping people work out their ideas in such a way that they could produce something new and exciting.

Goldstein:

What do you think some of the most important contributions have been from TI?

Teal:

My silicon transistor I guess it was one of the most important.

Goldstein:

And that was crucial in launching Texas Instruments.

Teal:

It sure was.

Religion

Goldstein:

I was wondering how your religious upbringing affected your life and career. Has it had much of an impact?

Teal:

I think it probably has because I went to Baylor University, which is a Baptist school. Though In recent years, why, they've been having troubles with the conservatives who have been really jumping on them.

Goldstein:

By that you mean Fundamentalists?

Teal:

Yes.

Goldstein:

You would not describe yourself as a Fundamentalist?

Teal:

No, and so they were going to really come in and probably take over Baylor University. It's had a closer relationship with the Texas Baptists. But the thing is that these Fundamentalists they're trying to tell people exactly what they can believe and what you can't believe. Also they've closed down a couple of universities in the Southeast. I think it was South Carolina.

They throw the teachers out, or insist on your getting rid of some of the teachers that you have. Actually they don't allow you to carry your church work on and be able to talk with God in the way that we were brought up to. In other words, they don’t allow you to pray your way. So Baylor has decided to get rid of them.

Goldstein:

Your own faith holds that you can practice it in your own way?

Teal:

Yes. But this has been a very disturbing thing here in Texas because it's an outstanding Baptist university. But the President has decided that they just have to get rid of them to be able to be an outstanding university.

Goldstein:

Religion can offer spiritual guidance and can also provide a framework for understanding the world, the universe, much in the way that science can. And you say that in your life you tried to understand the way things work, and some people find the answers to the way things work in religion. I was inviting you to comment on how religious answers—spiritual answers—have mixed with scientific answers in your quest for understanding.

Teal:

It is hard to know to what extent one's religion, my religion, affects the things I work on.

Technology and Society

Goldstein:

That's a perfectly legitimate answer, that there hasn't been much interplay, that your religious life is independent of your scientific work.

Let me ask you to tell me about how you feel society has changed due to technology. Now you've been instrumental in developing the technology that has revolutionized living — solid-state technologies. Are you satisfied with some of the results, with the way the world has changed? Do you think that the world is better off through your contributions?

Teal:

I think so. I guess I don't normally try to analyze exactly how things have improved. I think society has benefited appreciably.

Goldstein:

Now has it increased people's happiness? Surely things have become more convenient in terms of technological appliances, with calculation, especially Texas Instruments. Has that answered the needs of people?

Teal:

Yes, some of these things I think probably have satisfied certain needs of people.

Goldstein:

Did you have that sense when you were working at Texas Instruments? Did you have the sense that you were, in a manner of speaking, changing the world? Or were you more focused on the development, the specific product?

Teal:

I think I was more involved in trying to get specific products that would serve the needs of people, as indicated by how many dollars they were willing to spend to get them. And how many devices would they be willing to pay for.

Self-Confidence

Goldstein:

I notice on the book shelves there that you've got a book called The Spark of Genius, and I was wondering if your experience with inventiveness, with innovation could be described as a "spark of genius" or flash of insight. How would you describe that?

Teal:

Well, I mentioned my talks with my mother. And she apparently thought I was a good student and thought if I gave more—and if I had enough belief in myself—that I'd put a lot of energy into it and that the possibilities were very, very good that I could be the top man. At least in this high school. It's not very far along, but it's where you start.

Goldstein:

And did that lesson stay with you your whole life?

Teal:

It's stayed with me my whole life. The fact that she believed in me enough, it made it easier for me to believe in myself.

Goldstein:

But you mentioned that in the early 1940s you were discouraged from working on the semiconductors at Bell Labs. Do you remember that?

Teal:

The thing was that the metallurgist during World War II had made a lot of diodes by their process. So that allowed them to ignore other people's methods.

Goldstein:

I'm asking about your confidence in yourself. Despite your mother's lesson, did your confidence in the correctness of your ideas falter in the early 'forties?

Teal:

No, my confidence in myself didn't falter. But I knew that the situation was an almost impossible because one of the boss-men who had helped the metallurgists gets to where they were, he certainly wouldn't help me. He'd do all the favors for them.

Goldstein:

Because you had to put aside that work during the mid-'forties, it seems that when you returned to growing germanium crystals in 1948 and '49 that you weren't going to be deterred at that time. What was the difference?

Teal:

The work on the transistor, of course, was done. I think it was in 1945 when Shockley and Bardeen and Brattain started their work. That was 1945, not early 'forties.

Goldstein:

Right, right. I'm talking about your work, actually, on germanium crystals. Did the success of the transistor convinced you not to bow out?

Teal:

It was a tremendous success, and I thought it was so wonderful that it'd be a damned shame not to get in there and work like a madman to improve the material. I had worked on vacuum tubes for a couple of years and gas in vacuum tubes was a messy material. Therefore it just made me feel very certain that I ought to get back at the job of improving the material. Make it a more perfect material.

Goldstein:

Do you think that this invention was accomplished when it occurred to you that the impurities in the material were analogous to imperfections in the vacuum? Or was this invention accomplished when you succeeded in pulling the single crystal? I'm asking now for your understanding of invention. You might identify the crucial moment when either the idea occurred to you or when you physically did it.

Teal:

I felt that the transistor was much more important than the silicon carbide varistor for handsets. I had had a restrictive and rather small output effect on the total system because they'd be able to use this in so many ways.

Goldstein:

Which stage do you think is more significant in the process of invention? The conception of your objective or the physical realization of it?

Teal:

It's pretty hard to say just what seems more important, but I think both are an important part of the process of getting going.

Goldstein:

Were there any occasions where you did have an idea and weren't able to achieve it physically, any invention that you weren't able to put together? What about lab frustrations?

Teal:

Yes, I had frustrations in the lab.

Goldstein:

You have that book called The Flash of Genius. Do you believe in such a thing?

Teal:

In a way. Sometimes you think of something, and I guess you can call that a flash of genius, although it would be hard to prove it. Perhaps one way of proving it is by the thing doing much more than you thought it would do.

Goldstein:

I notice that you kept a diary while in Europe. Are you in the habit of keeping a diary, or was that something special for your assignment in Europe?

Teal:

I always keep a diary. It is very personal.

Harold Urey and C.J. Davisson

Goldstein:

You were telling me that you lived in Harold Urey's house?

Teal:

For about a year.

Goldstein:

When they were in Europe?

Teal:

Yes. When he got back he got the Nobel Prize.

Goldstein:

You were still fairly young when you were working with Urey and also Davisson.

Teal:

Yes. This was the early 'thirties.

Goldstein:

Was that thrilling for you to be working with so many notable people?

Teal:

Yes. I enjoyed it.

Goldstein:

How did that affect your work, to be in such heady company?

Teal:

It made me very interested in fundamental work.

Goldstein:

Before you said that you were talking about theorists. I was wondering how much attention you paid to theory? How hard was it to have you work follow the theory?

Teal:

I tried to understand as much of the theory as I could.

Goldstein:

Was that important to your success? Like, would you have been as successful working only experimentally?

Teal:

No, I think it had an important influence on my desire to work on fairly fundamental topics.

Goldstein:

When you say "fundamental," can you give me an example? For instance, is pulling a pure crystal, is that fundamental?

Teal:

No, I wouldn't say that is fundamental. It's being interested in theoretical topics.

Goldstein:

What of the work that you have done what has been Fundamental?

Teal:

I needed to understand some fundamental things to understand the nature of C.J. Davisson's work.

Goldstein:

In order to do what?

Teal:

Well, to associate with him at all.

Goldstein:

Tell me what you and Davisson [sic] collaborated on?

Teal:

I write: "When I was in the Electro-optics Department, I suggested a project of collaboration to Dr. C.J. Davisson, which appealed to him. It absorbed much of our mutual energies for a period of about four years. Davey and I carried on a research program involving very low energy electron optical systems and determination of low energy electron reflection from platinum. This began in a short time before he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1937."

He did the Nobel Prize work in 1927, but he got the Prize in 1937 when I was working with him for his earlier demonstration in 1927 with the wave particle aspect of electrons. "It was also during this early period from '32 to '35 when due to the Depression Bell Labs adopted a three-and-a-half-day work week, that I had another valuable experience as a researcher in my spare time in the Nobel Laureate Harold C. Urey's laboratory at Columbia."

Goldstein:

When you needed to understand Davisson's work to work with him, where did you turn? Did you talk to him, or did you turn to other sources?

Teal:

I talked to him, and I talked to people who were working for him, like Germer. They were the ones who wrote the paper that got Davey the Nobel Prize.

Goldstein:

Was it similar to your work on the transistor? In order to develop the silicon transistor, did you need to talk to Shockley? Did you need to find out the theory behind transistor action?

Teal:

No, because it was different. It didn't go into theory very much. It was more associated with my knowledge of conductivity of crystals. If I understood that and what had been done in, let's say, sodium chloride crystals and potassium chloride crystals that helped me to be convinced that a certain type of control of the conductivity of the crystal was needed.

Goldstein:

Do you think that they played the role of mentor to you? Was it that relationship?

Teal:

I don't think they tried to play a mentor. They were very considerate of me. We worked together for several years, Davey and I, and it took a lot of time because I was learning things.

Goldstein:

Did you contribute something in the exchange for them to seek your friendship?

Teal:

A good many years after this all happened, Urey came to Dallas one time back about 1973 or '74, and they visited us in our home. He got an award at that meeting that was the highest award of the American Chemical Society. They came out to our home where we chatted and had some drinks. Talking to him and his wife, Urey said to me, "Well, you're the one who suggested that we write this paper."

After all of those years, he was still proud of it. But he also was very considerate of me to be sure to let me know that he appreciated the fact that I suggested that we write such a paper. That was a pretty wonderful thing to do because he was the expert.

Wife and Children

Goldstein:

It occurs to me that there are some matters of your life that I overlooked. Just to complete the biography, can you tell me the years of the births of your children? And your marriage?

Teal:

My marriage was March 7th, 1931 in New York City, and our oldest son was born in 1937.

Goldstein:

His name is?

Teal:

Robert Carroll Teal. Then came Donald, who was born in 1939, and Steven was '40 or '41, I think.

Goldstein:

In one of these articles you write 1948, when you had to work at night in order to pursue your crystal-pulling experiments, represented a hardship for the family because you weren't home. Do you remember that?

Teal:

Yes. When I was pulling crystals, I had to work at night in the Labs and didn't get home until the middle of the night. I had to set the equipment up in the metallurgists' area, and that is why I had to work at night. When they went home, I was able to go down and use certain parts of their equipment for my work. I thought I ought to be around the house in the evening.

By the way, I have Steve's vital information here in my book. It says the Fiftieth birthday for Steven O'Banyon Teal in 1991. That means that he would have been born in 1941. Donald Frazer Teal; he's 52 years old on the 9th of October, 1991.

Goldstein:

I would just like to round out the rest of my thumbnail sketch of your life. I'd said that you were in Europe in the early 'sixties, and you came back to be in Washington and work with the NBS between '65 and '67. Then you went back to Texas Instruments between '68 and '72. And after '72—after retiring—you served in a consulting capacity to both Texas Instruments and the government.

Let me ask again, what impact do you think technology has had on society?

Teal:

My attitude is that I feel fortunate to have been able to do what I have done—investigate and spend time good technology for important fields.

Goldstein:

You say lucky, but is it only luck?

Teal:

Yes, in a way. It has given me a lot of personal satisfaction to work with so many very competent people. In the process, I have learned so much about other types of work that other people did.