RCA Solid State Division recordsCreation: 1950-2003
The RCA Solid State Division (SSD) was responsible for leading RCA’s research, development, and manufacturing in semiconductors, integrated circuits, and optoelectronics. The records consist of the papers of scientists and administrators from the division’s facilities in Somerville, New Jersey and Findlay, Ohio.
- Creation: 1950-2003
- RCA Corporation. Solid State Division (Organization)
5.25 Linear Feet
General Physical Description (AVD portion only)
(AVD portion only) 1 videocassette (VHS) : 1/2 inch. TRT 00:19:00. 6 videocassettes (SVHS) : 1/2 inch. 34 photographic negatives : color ; 8 x 10 in. and larger. 101 photographic prints : color ; 8 x 10 in. 133 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 2 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 5 in. 4 photographic overheads : color ; 10 x 12 in. 227 photographic prints : color ; 4 x 6 in. and smaller. 5 photographic prints : color ; 5 x 7 in. 5 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 120 photographic prints : b&w ; 4 x 6 in or smaller. paper documents. 2 photographic negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. 65 photographic negatives : b&w ; 2.5 x 2.5 in.
The RCA Solid State Division (SSD) was established under William C. Hittinger in March 1970 from a merger of the solid state units of RCA Electronic Components with the Integrated Circuit Technology Center of Research and Engineering. The division was responsible for leading RCA’s research, development, and manufacturing in semiconductors, integrated circuits, and optoelectronics.
Headquartered in Somerville, New Jersey, the SSD assumed control of existing RCA plants in Findlay, Ohio (established 1954), Mountaintop, Pennsylvania (1960), Taoyuan, Taiwan (1967), and Liege, Belgium (1970), in addition to the Somerville plant (1956). Additional manufacturing facilities were opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1975) and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (1976). A portion of the large Lancaster, Pennsylvania plant was also transferred to the SSD in the early 1970s.
Despite substantial overlap, the RCA Solid State Division was a separate entity from the David Sarnoff Research Center (DSRC)’s Solid State Research Division (the word “Division” was not usually attached to the latter until after the DSRC joined SRI in 1987). To further complicate matters, the Solid State Technology Center, which led the research and engineering functions, was administratively part of the SSD, but took direction from the DSRC. So confusing was this arrangement, that some staff who worked at the Solid State Technology Center (renamed the Microelectronics Center in late 1985) remain uncertain whether they worked for the SSD or the DSRC.
When GE acquired RCA in 1986, it unified its solid state business with RCA’s to create GE-RCA Solid State, later renamed GE Solid State. In November 1988, GE sold GE Solid State to Harris Semiconductor.
This collection is arranged in thirteen series:
I. Billie Joe Call papers
II. Thomas Chesek papers
III. Sidney Cooper photographs
IV. J. Thomas Croasmun papers
V. Pauline D'Andrea retirement scrapbook
VI. Richard Klein photographs
VII. Rob Kleppinger papers
VIII. William R. Linke papers on RCA Findlay dedication
IX. Max Malchow photographs
X. Joel Oberman photographs
XI. Somerville hourly workers collection
XII. C. Frank Wheatley, Jr. papers
Scope and Content
The RCA Solid State Division (SSD) records consist of the papers of scientists and administrators from the division’s facilities in Somerville, New Jersey and Findlay, Ohio. Research records, photographs, and promotional materials provide evidence of SSD’s research, development, and manufacturing of solid state components and devices.
This collection is arranged in thirteen series: Billie Joe Call papers; Thomas Chesek papers; Sidney Cooper photographs; J. Thomas Croasmun papers; Pauline D'Andrea retirement scrapbook; Richard Klein photographs; Rob Kleppinger papers; William R. Linke papers on RCA Findlay dedication; Max Malchow photographs; Joel Oberman photographs; Somerville hourly workers collection; C. Frank Wheatley, Jr. papers; and General.
The Billie Joe Call papers are composed of schematics, notes, correspondence, and user manuals related to the research and development of systems that employed RCA’s COSMAC microprocessor. These included what RCA scientists called “FRED,” or flexible recreational and educational devices, such as Studio II, III, and IV, VIP, and Microtutor.
The Thomas Chesek papers include promotional material for electronic components including linear integrated circuits, transistors, and analog-to-digital converters. Also included are publications from RCA, GE, and Harris Semiconductor including company newsletters and product guides. The papers also include internal correspondence from the RCA Solid State Division in Somerville, New Jersey along with handbooks, manuals, and directories for RCA employees from 1967 to 1981.
The Sidney Cooper photographs contain 47 prints, both color and black and white, as well as a handful of paper documents. These images and documents illustrate work done in the 1960s and 1970s on audio amplifiers, Spectra 70, and the ICBM Minutemen Computer.
The J. Thomas Croasmun papers relate to Croasmun’s position as a human resources employee. Files include new employee information, photographs and stories of plant events, informational blurbs and motivational cartoons that Croasmun used as editor of weekly plant newsletters and its edition of the monthly magazine RCA Family. The papers also include approximately 100 idea files submitted by employees to the plant’s suggestion program in the early 1970s. Of special note is the large collection of clippings, photo cards, and newsletters related to the Voyager programs.
The Pauline D’Andrea retirement scrapbook includes photographs, notes from her co-workers, friends, and family, and her retirement party guest list. Also included in the scrapbook are some of her working tools and a certificate of completion for the Pre-Retirement Planning Program sponsored by RCA Solid State Division.
The Rob Kleppinger papers are composed of articles, notes, photographs, and prototypes related to Kleppinger’s work on transistors for the RCA Solid State Division. Of particular interest are the mounted diode displays and the photograph albums of RCA’s transistor models.
The William R. Linke papers are composed of correspondence, news clippings, memoranda, photographs, and one very flat balloon related to the grand opening ceremonies at RCA’s plant in Findlay, Ohio.
The Max Malchow photographs contain 6 black and white prints and 1 negative. These images depict work done on Semiconductors at RCA Somerville in the 1960s.
The Joel Oberman photographs contain 21 black and white as well as color photographic prints, 1 negative, and a handful of paper documents. These images depict work done on solid state microprocessors in the 1970s.
This collection contains a variety of images and documents that pertain to the hourly workers at RCA Somerville. These images can be broken down into a few categories that include the strike of 1970, years of service and retirement dinners from about 1970-1988, employee trips to Florida and Detroit in the 1970s-1980s, an employee picnic, group photographs, and the Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) group. There are also a few documents from an in-house publication that highlights employee suggestions and achievements.
The C. Frank Wheatley, Jr. papers are composed of reports, articles, correspondence, and patents relating to his work on insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) and semiconductors at RCA. The papers also include instruction manuals and publications on power transistors and microprocessors.
The General series includes selection and product guides from RCA, Harris Semiconductor, and GE. It also contains videos, technical reports, newsletters, and lecture notes.
Of note is the video “RCA's Solid State Technology Center: Where the Future is Happening Today” which shows the materials created by this unit as well as giving a tour of the facilities.
Records subject to 25-year time seal.
This collection contains material from the Manuscripts and Archives Department (M&A) and the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department (AVD). Box prefixes indicate which department holds an individual file or item.
Negatives are housed in cold storage and must reacclimate prior to viewing (Box AVD-NG1). Please contact the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department at least 48 hours in advance of research visit.
Language of Materials
In 2009, along with the rest of the archival collections of the David Sarnoff Library, the RCA Solid State Division records were donated to the Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- RCA Solid State Division records
- Daniel Michelson and Kenneth Cleary
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
- The collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.