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A small fortune for a tiny chip – Christie’s auction a prototype of the Integrated Circuit

Life today is dominated by the microchip – but have you ever thought who and how it was pioneered?

Back in 1958 an unassuming engineer working for Texas Instruments called Jack Kilby started to look at how they could produce the smallest integrated circuit.  The result was the first integrated circuit made from germanium measuring just 11mm in length constructed by one of Kilby’s team, Tom Yeargan.

This tiny slice of history went on sale yesterday at Chrisite’s in New York, but despite initial media interest and expectations of reaching in excess of $2 million, no one was prepared to buy this piece of technology history.  A spokeswoman for Christie’s, Sung Hee Park, said; “Despite much pre-sale interest, bidding did not reach the reserve, so the item did not find a buyer.”

There is a growing demand for Vintage Tech as more collectors realise the latent value in old technology - so maybe keeping your first mobile phone is not such a bad idea after all!

20 June 2014

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