One of the early mass uses of the Germanium transistor was in the Touch Tone telephone. The transistor was so expensive that they used a single transistor in the dual-tone keypad oscillator to generate both tones. A very interesting trick to make a one-transistor oscillator oscillate on two different, non-harmonically-related frequencies.
Thanks are due again to Shockley (50%), Brattain and Bardeen (about 25% each). However, the device invented 60 years ago was the the point-contact transistor (no longer used anywhere), not the BJT (invented by Shockley alone a few years later, and which we'll still be using 50 years from now in high-quality audio amplifiers).
I wonder what these guys would think about some of the devices we take for granted today - with specs of 1KV+ Vce, current ratings of 10s of amps, beta above a 1000, etc.
Julius Edgar Lilienfeld invented the FET transistor in 1925 but
no evidence that he actually built it, although some academics
showed a few years ago that it would have been possible using
the materials and tools he had back then.
Hey, he invented the electrolytic capacitor too. Lot of dedicated
people in the past have made modern electronics where it
The photo reminds me of an article in an early '50s issue of Wireless World - unfortunately long lost!!!
The article was a DIY transistor made from 2 point contact diodes ( OA81 IIRC ) carefully broken, one glued to a wood block and clamped in a laboratory stand. The 2 whiskers were then used to make emitter and collector.