The IC made its debut in 1959. It was co-invented by Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce then of Fairchild Semiconductor. Kilby built a rough prototype using thin gold wire and solder for the connections. Noyce used a process developed by Jean Hoerni called the planar process where the connections between components are painted onto the surface of the silicon. Neither inventor was aware of the other at the time.

Jack St. Clair Kilby was born in Jefferson City, MO in 1923. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1947, the same year the transistor was invented. He went to work at Centralab of Milwaukee as an electrical engineer. While attending a symposium at Bell Labs he saw the new technology of the transistor use first hand. In 1958 Kilby went to Texas Instruments which he felt was more on the cutting edge of technology. Shortly after he started nearly everyone went on vacation. Kilby had no vacation time yet so he went to work on the latest challenge, miniaturization of electronics. He came up with the concept of The Monolithic Idea in a couple of weeks and in Feb. 1959 with Texas Instruments filed for a patent on the integrated chip.

In July 1959 Noyce filed his patent application. In 1964 Kilby was awarded a patent for Miniaturized Electronic Components. Noyce was awarded a patent in 1968 for the silicon based IC. There is still controversy today over who deserves full credit but the invention of the microchip has had a powerful influence in the economy of the past fifty years. Among Kilby's sixty patents is the hand held calculator. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1982. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Oct. 10, 2000.


T.R. Reid, The Chip, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984
Texas Instruments "Jack St. Clair Kilby"