Texas Instruments (1930)


Geophysical Service Inc or G.S.I.

The Company was founded in 1930 in Texas, by John Clarence “Doc” Karcher and Eugene McDemott under the name of Geophysical Service Inc. The Company begins with 12 exploration crews. The name of the company was later changed to the Coronado Corp, with Geophysical Service Inc. (GSI) as subsidiary of Coronado. On Dec. 6, 1941, McDermott and three other employees purchased GSI from Coronado Corp.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor the company started manufacturing airborne & submarine radar detection for the U.S. Government. In 1952 they changed its name to Texas Instruments, licensed transistor technology from western electric and ventured in the semiconductor business. Until the late 50’s the company remained the major manufacturer of transistors. In 1958 was the year were Texas instruments wrote its name in history with the invention of the Transistor.

Jack Kilby

The idea came to Jack Kilby after months of research. Unknown to Kilby, Jean Hoerni and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Semiconductor were simultaneously working on their own integrated circuit design, and applied for their own patent in 1959. After years of litigation, the two companies eventually settled their differences and cross-licensed each others’ technology.  In 2000, Jack Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in the invention of the integrated circuit. In 1967 the first hand held calculator was introduced weighing over a kilogram despite of its aluminum case. It could only process six-digit calculations and printing the results on a thermal printer which was another TI invention. The miniaturization made possible by the IC allows people to navigate a spacecraft the half-million miles to the moon and back.

Texas Instruments Speak & Spell

1972 saw the introduction of the Data Math, the world’s first scientific calculator at a price of $120. In 1974 TI invents the single-chip microcomputer and receives the patent. Unlike the Intel 8008 that followed a year later, it was not freely programmable but was designed for a specific task like for controlling a microwave oven. TI that year introduced the first single-chip speech synthesizer which later was used in another successful device the Speak and Spell, a computerized toy that helps you spell with a digital voice synth. In Italy it was introduced as Grillo Parlante. In 1979, Texas Instruments introduced its first personal computer code named TI-99/4, using its own 3 MHz TMS9900 processor, with 16Kb of memory, a cartridge slot for loading software, a cassette input and joystick ports.

Texas instruments TI 44/9 model

Two years later the company released an improved version code named TI-99/4a with a full-size keyboard and better graphics. Both machines at that time used 16-bit microprocessors, while others used 8-bit processors in their machines, but in reality although they used 16-bit processors the bus was limited to 8 bit to the processor. The TI-99 series with its price set at $1,150 and poor marketing it was not successful and it nearly ruined the company. Within a couple of years it was selling for about $500, and in 1983 Texas Instruments after releasing further two machines codenamed TI-99/2 and TI-99/8, withdraw the TI-99 series from the market and focused on the PC market. Even into this field Texas Instruments charted its own course, using its hardware which made their PC not fully compatible with the Intel-based IBM clones. The new PC ran a version of MS-Dos called TI-Dos, and popular business titles were ported over. By the beginning of 1984 TI introduces first Multiport Video Random Access Memory and the following year TI produced new technology such as 4-megabit DRAM using fully integrated trench memory cell, and featured the first single-chip gallium arsenide phased array radar module. The Company by the end of the decade expanded in many countries such as Italy, England, Taiwan, and Japan.

In the beginning of the 90’s TI vision was reshaping the company over the next decade and managed to be a World Leadership in Digital Solutions for the Networked Society. TI Deutschland wins first Bavarian Quality Award and Delivered first production units of Javelin, world’s first fire and forget infantry antitank weapon. TI also Implemented The Online DSP Lab™, which consist of an electronic laboratory for testing TI Digital Signal Processing application design, development tools on the World Wide Web, and managed to pack 125 million transistors on a single chip. These semiconductors power most of communication devices, from wireless phones, computers, home entertainment, and digital cameras. Although they stopped producing computers, today, Texas Instruments is one of the largest companies in supplying Microcomputer chips, Ram, DSP in high speed networking and semiconductor devices.