RELEASE: CHRISTIE’S TO SELL HISTORIC 1958 MICROCHIP—PROTOTYPE USED IN NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING INVENTION DESIGNED BY TEXAS INSTRUMENTS’ JACK KILBY

New York

ESTIMATE: $1,000,000 - $2,000,000


ON VIEW IN CHRISTIE’S LONDON GALLERIES AT SOUTH KENSINGTON MAY 22, 23, 27 & 28;
ON VIEW IN NEW YORK ROCKEFELLER CENTER JUNE 14-18, PRIOR TO JUNE 19 SALE

 

  

A prototype microchip, one of the most important advancements in the history of computing,
made by Tom Yeargan for Jack Kilby, Texas Instruments, (1958), accompanied by a 3-page statement

by Yeargan and another prototype silicon chip. Estimate: $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.

 

New York – A Nobel Prize-winning artifact of computing history goes on sale at Christie’s New York on June 19: A prototype integrated circuit used by Jack Kilby (1923-2005) at Texas Instruments in 1958 to demonstrate his invention of the integrated circuit on a single chip. Virtually the birth certificate of the modern computing era, this prototype helped spawn the microchip revolution. From the clock on a microwave oven, through tablets and laptops, to the Large Hadron Collider, microchips pervade the electronic devices we use on a daily basis. Kilby’s work at Texas Instruments enabled further technological breakthroughs that dramatically reduced the size and cost of computing power.

Estimated at $1,000,000 - $2,000,000, this prototype integrated circuit was built between July 18 and September 12, 1958, of a doubly diffused germanium wafer with flying gold wire and four leads by Tom Yeargan  (1920-2001), a member of the team that executed Kilby’s theories on how to bring miniaturization to the giant computers of the first half of the 20th century. The chip is mounted on glass and enclosed in a plastic case belonging to Yeargan, with a label signed by Jack Kilby, and is accompanied by another prototype, a silicon circuit with five gold and platinum leads, and a three-page statement by Tom Yeargan on the chronology and building of the invention of the integrated circuit, dated March 6, 1964. The lot is part of the Sale of “Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana,” in New York. The lot will be on view in London, May 22, 23, 27 and 28, at Christie’s galleries in South Kensington, before traveling to the U.S. for a viewing at Christie’s New York Rockefeller Center galleries, June 14 – 18.

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