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The Origin of Semiconductors: The "Fairchild Children" and the Birth of Silicon Valley

The role of the eight engineers who revolutionized the industry and laid the foundations of modern technology

By GBPublished 9 months ago 3 min read
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The origin of semiconductors and the supremacy of the United States in the field of technology have their roots in Silicon Valley, an area located in California that is home to some of the largest technology companies in the world, such as Facebook, Apple and Google. It all started in 1957, when a group of eight employees left the company they worked for, Semiconductor Laboratory, and founded a new company called Fairchild Semiconductor.

These employees, known as the "Fairchild children", left their former company due to the oppressive work environment and the troublesome behavior of their boss, who was one of the co-inventors of the transistor. Despite their skills and achievements in the field of technology, they were treated poorly by their boss and viewed as rivals. This situation led the children of Fairchild to seek new opportunities and freedom to innovate.

With their new project, the Fairchild children partnered with inventor and entrepreneur Sherman Fairchild. Together, they founded Fairchild Semiconductor with the goal of producing revolutionary semiconductors. His focus was on creating silicon transistors, which are semiconductor devices used to control the flow of electrical current.

Despite technical challenges and a lack of business management experience, Fairchild Semiconductor managed to successfully develop and produce its first transistors. These devices found a wide range of applications in both analog and digital circuitry, making them commercially successful.

As Fairchild Semiconductor grew, it became the leader of the semiconductor industry and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley as a concept and physical location. However, due to high financing costs, the company was organized as a division of the New York-based First Camera and Instrument Corporation.

The true key figure in the success of Fairchild Semiconductor and the development of Silicon Valley was Donald Valentine, an entrepreneurial visionary. Valentine joined the company and transformed its profits from $2 million in annual sales to $150 million in just a few years. His business acumen and his passion for technology created a strong demand for semiconductors and stimulated the creation of new companies in the field.

Despite the refusal of Fairchild Semiconductor's parent company to invest in these new start-ups, Valentine found a way to invest on his behalf. His risk-taking approach and his strategic investments in companies like National Semiconductor proved successful and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley's continued growth.

The origin of semiconductors and America's supremacy in technology can be traced back to the creation of Fairchild Semiconductor by a group of eight employees known as the "Fairchild Boys" in 1957. These employees left their former company due to oppressive work environment and partnered with inventor and entrepreneur Sherman Fairchild to found their own company.

Fairchild Semiconductor focused on the production of silicon transistors, which are semiconductor devices used to control the flow of electrical current. Despite technical challenges and a lack of business management experience, the company managed to successfully develop and produce its first transistors, which found a wide range of applications in analog and digital circuitry.

As Fairchild Semiconductor grew, it became the leader of the semiconductor industry and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley as a concept and physical location. However, due to high financing costs, the company was organized as a division of the New York-based First Camera and Instrument Corporation.

One of the key players in the success of Fairchild Semiconductor and the development of Silicon Valley was Donald Valentine, an entrepreneurial visionary. Valentine joined the company and transformed its earnings, increasing annual sales from $2 million to $150 million in just a few years. His business acumen and his passion for technology created a strong demand for semiconductors and stimulated the creation of new companies in the field.

Although Fairchild Semiconductor's parent company refused to invest in these new start-ups, Valentine found a way to invest on his behalf. His risk-taking approach and his strategic investments in companies like National Semiconductor proved successful and laid the foundation for Silicon Valley's continued growth.

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