The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994

Notes and Documents
The Breakthrough Breadboard Feasibility Model:
The Development of the First All-Transistor Radio
PAUL D. DAVIS
INTRODUCTION BY DIANA KLEINER*
CONTRARY TO IMAGES THAT ASSOCIATE THE STATE PRIMARILY WITH
cotton, oil, and cattle, Texas has played a major role in the develop-
ment of high technology for four decades. Some of the most technologi-
cally and commercially important advances in transistors, computers,
and microelectronics have been made here, many of them by Texas In-
struments Incorporated (TI). The following essay by former TI engineer
Paul D. Davis provides a personal account of one of these developments:
the creation in May 1954 of an engineering feasibility model for the first
all-transistor radio at the firm's Dallas laboratory and manufacturing di-
vision. Following this design breakthrough, the firm began production
of the first all-transistor portable radio in October of that year.
In May 1954 TI general manager Patrick Haggerty committed two
million dollars to a secret crash research project, asking his engineers to
design and build a prototype of the new technology in time to meet a
potential buyer's deadline. The successful "breadboard model" Davis de-
scribes is an example of the early engineering practice of literally strap-
ping new electronic circuitry to household breadboards to facilitate
* Paul D. Davis is a native of Nevada, Texas. He received a B.S.E.E. from Southern Methodist
University and attended Navy schools at Bowdoin College and the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology for specialized training as a radar officer before being assigned to serve in the
Phihppines during World War II. He spent thirty-six years as a design engineer, project engineer,
and branch manager at Texas Instruments. He wishes to thank Roger Webster for reading and
critiquing the original manuscript, and, along with Jim Nygaard and Ed Jackson, helping to jog
his memory.
Diana Klemer is a research associate on the Handbook of Texas revision project. She holds a
Ph.D. in American civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, where her dissertation fo-
cused on the early managers who followed the founders of major American businesses.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117154/. Accessed August 2, 2015.