March 6, 1964 Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Electronics,
published 1930 - 1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
Half a decade after Texas
Instruments (Jack Kilby, 1958) and Fairchild Semiconductor (Robert Noyce, 1960)
produced the first semiconductor
integrated circuits, General Electric must not have been too confident that
the newfangled technology was going to take hold. This 2-page spread from a 1964
issue of Electronics magazine, promotes their "Compactron"
integrated circuit vacuum tubes. The Compactron is a building block concept
where standardized stages of diodes, triodes, pentodes, etc., are encapsulated
in a single vacuum tube package with necessary input and output pins for
connecting external components. The incentive was smaller volume, lower parts
count, lower power supply current, simpler chassis wiring or circuit board
layout, and greater ruggedness. One source I found showed the availability in
1962 of 24 distinct
Nine of the Latest New Developments from G-E Research
New compactron building block technique
helps designers of electronic equipment
G.E.'s new concept in the design of electron tubes promises to be a boon to large
and small electronics manufacturers. Termed the "building block concept," it involves
the standardizing of basic tube sections - diodes, triodes, pentodes - clipping
them together according to the customers' requirements and sealing them in a single
The building block concept holds these advantages:
1. It exploits the economy of mass production for the benefit of
the small volume user.
2. It enables G.E. to offer designers a wider variety of space-saving
3. Actually speeds circuit design by use of standardized sections,
with which circuit designers are quite familiar.
4. Thereby, it eases circuit and product evaluation by equipment
5. It contributes to reliability by employing time-proven tube designs.
6. Retains flexibility so that G.E. may employ modern materials and
tube construction techniques to make old designs even better.
Thus, with the standardization of basic tube sections, and the resulting manufacturing
economies, the circuit designer and the smaller manufacturer will be freed from
the high cost of less common or "odd-ball" tube types.
Posted March 8, 2019