• FA-110868 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Information & Communication
Data Processing
medien.welten (media.worlds)
1970 - 1979

Minicomputer PDP 11/40 Chip calculator

Digital Equipment Corp., Maynard 1972


Transistor and chip computer


With the use of transistors, the reliability of computers is enhanced and they become increasingly compact. As a result, a growing amount of work processes are automated and rationalised. 

After World War II, the transistor replaces the electronic tube as circuit element for computers. Tubes are delicate glass vacuum containers with a short life cycle. If a tube breaks down during a calculation process, the entire procedure must be repeated. This changes when the transistor, which is made from semiconductors, takes over. The transistor is smaller, more reliable and, first and foremost, much cheaper to produce.

At more or less the same time when the transistor computer called 'Mailüfterl' is built in Vienna for research purposes, American engineers, in 1958, manage to affix several transistors onto a semiconductor wafer (chip). The continuing miniaturisation of the circuit elements causes computers to become more compact and efficient. The digital computer PDP 11 embodies the new size group of computers, which are used especially for controlling certain work procedures. In the 1960s and 1970s, these computers lead to an unparalleled automation boom in the industry.

Inv.Nr. 32925/1
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