Sometimes, singular engineers step forward and revolutionize the world with a bold idea. Other times, individuals coalesce around a singular vision that remakes an industry. The history of Texas Instruments reflects this pattern, and we’re proud to induct founders Cecil H. Green, Patrick E. Haggerty, Jon Erik Jonsson, and Eugene McDermott into our Engineering Hall of Fame.
In 1930, John Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott founded Geophysical Service Inc., using refraction and reflection seismology to search for petroleum deposits. In 1941, McDermott bought the company with Green, Jonsson, and Henry Bates Peacock. The company’s focus shifted from geology to electronics during World War II, forming the Laboratory & Manufacturing Unit in 1946.
GSI became Texas Instruments in 1951, and the company entered the semiconductor business in 1952 by purchasing a patent license to produce germanium transistors from Western Electric Co., the manufacturing arm of AT&T. Other deals and developments followed, such as TI’s release of the first commercial silicon transistor in 1954. But TI truly changed the industry in 1958 when Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit. So who were the men behind the scenes?
Green began his career with GSI in 1930 as chief of one of the company’s seismographic field crews. He later served as vice president, president, and chairman of GSI as well as vice president and director of TI. Yet he’s more significantly known for his philanthropy, contributing more than $200 million to education and medicine before dying in 2003 at the age of 102.
Haggerty signed on at GSI in 1945 as general manager of the Laboratory and Manufacturing Division. As executive vice president, director, president, and chair at TI, he developed the concept of Strategic Management and the objectives, strategies, and tactics (OST) system. This focus on the professional side of engineering also was evident as he was instrumental in merging the Institute of Radio Engineers with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE.
Jonsson joined GSI in 1930, managing the manufacture of seismic instruments at the company’s lab in Newark, N.J. He later served as secretary of geophysical science, secretary-treasurer, vice president, and treasurer of GSI and then president and chair of TI. Also, he served four terms as mayor of Dallas, Texas, focusing on developing the city’s infrastructure.
And finally, McDermott wrote multiple papers and earned five patents as a result of his early work in petroleum exploration. His inventions ranged from geochemical applications to antisubmarine warfare. Like Green, he also saw the value in education and contributed to many universities and foundations before his death in 1973 at the age of 74.