Was the first integrated circuit made in 1926? Well, it all depends on what we mean by "integrated circuit." In my previous blog, I mentioned how I'd been introduced to a website called Mike's Electric Stuff. This mega-interesting site provides a treasure-trove of information on early display technologies and other "stuff." Amongst a positive plethora of other topics, there are some amazingly cool photos of things like Jacob's Ladders, Mercury Arc Rectifiers, Nixi Tubes, and Dekatron displays.
The problem is that there is way too much information to absorb on this site in one sitting, so I've been bouncing back and forth sampling different pages whenever I get a free moment. Which is how I came to run across a page on the Loewe 3NF from 1926, which – to my mind – certainly qualifies as an "integrated circuit."
Truth to tell, the Loewe 3NF represents one of the most interesting vacuum tubes one could hope to see (you can see it now by clicking on the link above). This little scamp comprised three triodes, two capacitors, and four resistors in a single glass envelope. (Including the capacitors and resistors in the tube allowed it to be constructed with only six pins. In order to avoid these components contaminating the vacuum, however, each was sealed inside its own glass tube.)
On his site, Mike explains that one of the reasons for the development of this amazing device was that – in Germany – radio receivers were taxed based on the number of vacuum tubes they contained (Governments are little rascals, aren't they?). This is why, in 1926, Loewe Radio A.G introduced the 3NF. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mr. Tax Inspector!"
On a totally unrelated note, I just received an email informing me that had I happened to be awake at 1:02:03 am this morning (Wednesday, April 5, 2006), I might want to reflect on how rare that particular moment was. As this email pointed out, on some digital clocks in the USA, that precise second would have been reflected as 01-02-03-04-05-06 (something that doesn't occur all that often).
I LOVE THIS STUFF! And how about you – do you have any nuggets of trivia to regale us with? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, as usual, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.