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The Almighty Buck Hardware

1958 Integrated Circuit Prototypes From Jack Kilby's TI Lab Up For Sale 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the piece-of-history dept.
First time accepted submitter Dharma's Dad writes Christie's New York is auctioning off a 1958 prototype microchip, used by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments in his Nobel Prize-winning invention of putting an integrated circuit onto a single chip. Gifted to one of the lab employees by Kilby, the family has decided to sell it. Estimated at $1,000,000 - $2,000,000, this prototype integrated circuit was built between July 18 and September 12, 1958, of a doubly diffused germanium wafer with flying gold wire and four leads.
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1958 Integrated Circuit Prototypes From Jack Kilby's TI Lab Up For Sale

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  • Are we still annoyed at people who say "Microchip" or have we gotten over it? I remember when it was a suitable target for nerd rage.
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I'd say, if it's from 1958, it's ok to call it a microchip.

    • by crgrace (220738)

      What's wrong with microchip? I've always preferred it to "computer chip" because so many chips aren't entirely digital.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        What's wrong with microchip?

        Two guesses...

        1. Microchip [microchip.com] is a brand name. Calling an IC a Microchip is like calling a moving staircase an Escalator [wikipedia.org].

        2. "Microchip" sounds like a disagreeably small snack. Quite the contrary, they are quite filling.

      • "What's wrong with microchip?"

        How quickly memory fades. It was regarded as a dumb-ass conflation of micro-circuit and chip. An IC should be called a chip. Just chip, no micro- in front. Micro-chip implies that there are much larger full sized chips, which is nonsense. Also a "micro" was a microprocessor, so a micro chip might be an 8085 or Z80, but not all chips were micros.

        Then as now, nerds were sticklers for precision in language.
    • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:17PM (#47268195)

      synonymous for me, with IC and monolithic integrated circuit....but then I'm old

      • by crgrace (220738)

        pretty much no one says "monolithic" any more because hybrids have pretty much gone the way of the buffalo.

        In my experience they are usually called "chips" or "ICs" by people in the industry.

    • Re:Microchip (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JazzHarper (745403) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:06PM (#47268501) Journal

      At Texas Instruments, an integrated circuit was called a "bar", not "chip" or "die", partly because that's what Jack called them. Wafers were called "slices", so your multiprobe yield was expressed in "good bars per slice". They finally dropped the Texas jargon in the mid-'80s when it became obvious that it was a silly affectation in the face of industry-standard terminology and an obstacle to communicating clearly with vendors and customers.

      • Wafers were called "slices", so your multiprobe yield was expressed in "good bars per slice".

        Did they ever refer to the process of wafer testing "Looking for Mr. Goodbar?"

  • Kilby & Noyce (Score:2, Informative)

    by crgrace (220738)

    While Kilby's chip with bondwire interconnect was first, it's interesting that Noyce's concept at Fairchild using Hoerni's planar technology with all interconnect fabricated using the same photolithography as the devices is pretty much how we do it today. Kilby's concept was a technological dead end.

    • Re:Kilby & Noyce (Score:5, Insightful)

      by smaddox (928261) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @08:46PM (#47268379)

      And Newton didn't invent the modern notation for Calculus (the modern form is due to Leibniz). And Maxwell wrote his equations completely differently than we write them now (the modern form is due to Oliver Heaviside). And Einstein didn't discover the special relativity transformations (hence why they are called Lorentz transformations). And Edison wasn't the first to invent the light bulb, let alone the carbon filament light bulb, let alone the tungsten filament light bulb. I could go on...

      • Re:Kilby & Noyce (Score:5, Informative)

        by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:43PM (#47268709)
        I'm not completely sure your analogies are 100 % apt. Newton, Maxwell etc. made breakthroughs in thinking that really didn't get hampered by their original notation to the extent as to be unrecognizable. Kilby's circuit, OTOH, had much more in common with the technologies preceding it, most obviously the fact that they were manually wired. At best, it was halfway between the preceding and following technologies. Maxwell's theory wasn't "half-electromagnetic". Kirby's circuits, however, were "half-monolithic", since the problem of, e.g., insulating the parts and only working with doping was only solved later in Noyce's invention.
      • by gander666 (723553) *
        Crap, and I without mod points. Huge +5 sir...
  • That's a lot of prototypes.

  • I guess money is no object. I have lots of objects but no money, personally.
  • $1,000,000 - $2,000,000 for what is basically a transistor?
    Wow.
    I have some swamp land in Florida you may be interested in.

    • by Etherwalk (681268)

      If you had something that was provably the first wheel, it would go for more than the price of a wheel.

    • It's more than just a transistor. That it is multiple connected components is what gives it significance in the history of technology.

      It's a piece of history. The price tag is determined by those who value history.

  • Is the device still operational after all that time?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Urgh! Stop using that non-word!

  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:01PM (#47268477) Journal

    given to one of the lab employees, not GIFTED.

    Please, let's not let this Farmville jargon take over the net, including Slashdot. Nothing was 'gifted' unless it had certain special qualities. Things are given, not gifted.

    Language changes. But not because fucking Zynga made a game.

    • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @09:53PM (#47268759)
      gift, v.: "To bestow as a gift; to make a present of." It's actually a pretty old usage.
    • Gifted is perfectly cromulent wordage.

    • by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday June 18, 2014 @11:05PM (#47269039) Journal

      From the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of "gift" as a verb:

      2. To bestow as a gift; to make a present of. Const. with to or dative. Also with away. Chiefly Sc.
      1619 J. Sempill Sacrilege Sacredly Handled 31 If they object, that tithes, being gifted to Levi, in official inheritance, can stand no longer than Levi [etc.].
      a1639 J. Spottiswood Hist. Church Scotl. (1677) v. 278 The recovery of a parcel of ground which the Queen had gifted to Mary Levinston.
      1711 in A. McKay Hist. Kilmarnock (1880) 98 This bell was gifted by the Earl of Kilmarnock to the town of Kilmarnock for their Council~house.
      1754 J. Erskine Princ. Law Scotl. (1809) i. 51 Where a fund is gifted for the establishment of a second minister, in a parish where the cure is thought too heavy for one [etc.].
      1801 A. Ranken Hist. France I. 301 Parents were prohibited from selling, gifting, or pledging their children.
      1829 J. Brown New Deeside Guide (1876) 19 College of Blairs..having been gifted to the Church of Rome by its proprietor.
      1836 A. Alison Hist. Europe V. xlii. 697 Thus did Napoleon and D'Oubril..gift away Sicily.
      1878 J. C. Lees Abbey of Paisley xix. 201 The Regent Murray gifted all the Church Property to Lord Sempill.

      I'm not sure when Zynga was founded, but I'm pretty sure it was after 1619.

      • by Camael (1048726)

        The sad thing is that the wrong/erroneous parent post you are replying to is actually modded higher/insightful than your correct/accurate reply.

        So much for moderation. =)

      • Zynga didn't use the OED to rustle up an old word and give it a new life. There's no relationship between the modern usage and the OED usage. The modern usage is the result of marketing idiots endlessly verbing nouns. To pretend that it's some sort of scholarly work is ridiculous, but that's exactly what you just argued.
        • OP complained about use of the word "gifted," claiming it was derived from Farmville jargon. This is factually incorrect and demonstrably false. I have never heard "gifted" in the context of Farmville or any other Zynga game until this Slashdot discussion. I have, however, heard it many times in normal English usage, used in ways similar to the examples given by the OED.

          Just because OP is not familiar with the English word, which predates Zynga by centuries, does not mean that all modern usage derives from

    • by sribe (304414)

      Please, let's not let this Farmville jargon take over the net, including Slashdot. Nothing was 'gifted' unless it had certain special qualities. Things are given, not gifted.

      You know what the funny thing is? YOUR ARE COMPLETELY 100% WRONG!

      I suggest you go and look up "gift" now in your favorite dictionary ;-)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Language changes.

      Yes, and nerds have pushed this set of changes to language. Notably, English is converging on the nerd standard that all verbs can be nouned, and all nouns can be verbed. However, this is not one of the words to which this has happened recently, as sibling comments point out. I only wanted to raise the point that your taking exception here was exceptionally foolish given that language is trending in that direction anyway, and that we the nerds are the ones who have pushed that tendency.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Gifted is more specific; one may be given something that is not a gift. May I suggest a word-of-the-day calendar?

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      given to one of the lab employees, not GIFTED.

      Please, let's not let this Farmville jargon take over the net, including Slashdot. Nothing was 'gifted' unless it had certain special qualities. Things are given, not gifted.

      Language changes. But not because fucking Zynga made a game.

      Depends. "Given" just means something is passed onto someone. "Gifted" means something (an object only) is passed onto to someone as a gift. It's a more specific, more concise word.

      You give gifts (or you gifted someone something). Y

  • Bet it don't work anymore.
  • Nice to see people appreciate the history. Hope it eventually ends up in a museum somewhere alongside the firsts from Noyce, BBS, et al.

    Centuries from now the history of civilization may divided into periods BIC and AD (Before Integrated Circuits and Anno Digital TM)

  • I'm assuming Stan Lee took credit for Jack Kirby's integrated circuit. Excelsior!
  • Putting more than one transistor on a single die was an inevitable result of improvements in semiconductor process technology. There should NEVER have been a patent for that obvious step (or the single-chip microprocessor, or much of anything else in the 75 years).

  • by TheSync (5291)

    So what kind of circuit is it?

    I assume it is BJT based?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Despite the accolades, Kilby's proper place in history is unclear to me. Because of its reliance on wire bonding, his design was not scalable to large numbers of transistors. The "planar" design at Fairchild was the future because its "wires" were produced by the same process that made the transistors. It seems clear that somebody was going to recognize that if you could make one transistor on a piece of germanium by a chemical engineering process, you could make two, and stick them together with little gol

  • Yes, it runs Minux

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