Julius Blank

Born: June 2, 1925 | New York , NY, US
Died: Saturday, September 17, 2011 | Palo Alto, CA, US

Julius Blank graduated high school at the age of fifteen and began taking classes at the City College of New York while working various jobs. When Blank turned eighteen, he enlisted and was sent to Europe to serve until the end of World War II. When he came home he finished college with the aid of the GI Bill and received a degree in mechanical engineering. Blank worked as an engineer at Babcock and Wilcox Company in Ohio, and then moved to Goodyear Aircraft. After two years, he and his wife moved back to New York where Blank got a job at Western Electric. In 1956, Blank was asked to join Shockley Semiconductor in California. Blank met Gordon Moore at Shockley, and eventually joined Moore and six other Shockley colleagues to form Fairchild Semiconductor. Blank first worked on crystal growing and research and development at Fairchild, but later helped set up assembly plants overseas. 

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

			

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0333
No. of pages: 75
Minutes: 201

Interview Sessions

David C. Brock
20 March 2006
Los Altos, California

Abstract of Interview

Julius Blank begins the interview with a look at his childhood and early education. He graduated high school at the age of fifteen and began taking classes at the City College of New York while working various jobs. When Blank turned eighteen, he enlisted and was sent to Europe to serve during the end of World War II. When he came home he finished college with the aid of the GI Bill and received a degree in mechanical engineering. Blank worked as an engineer at Babcock and Wilcox Company in Ohio, and then moved to Goodyear Aircraft. After two years, he and his wife moved back to New York where Blank got a job at Western Electric. In 1956, Blank was asked to join Shockley Semiconductor in California. He and his family moved to Palo Alto, where Blank worked on crystal growing for Shockley. Blank met Gordon Moore at Shockley, and eventually joined Moore and six other Shockley colleagues to form Fairchild Semiconductor. Blank first worked on crystal growing and research and development at Fairchild, but later helped set up assembly plants overseas. In 1969 Blank left Fairchild to become an independent consultant. Blank concludes the interview with some final thoughts on Gordon Moore. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1925 City College of New York BS Mechanical Engineering

Professional Experience

Babcock-Wilcox Company

1950 to 1951
Engineer, steam drums

Goodyear Aircraft

1951 to 1952
Research and Development Engineer

Western Electric

1952 to 1956
Engineering, manufacturing toll crossbar equipment

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

1956 to 1957
Senior Staff Engineer

Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation

1957 to 1969
Co-founder, Facilities, Engineering Services, Division Manager

Xicor Corporation

1978 to 2004
Director and co-founder

Self-employed

1969 to 2007
Consultant, various companies

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Family history. Great Depression era. Relationship with parents. Early interest in technology and engineering. Graduated high school early.

College Education and Enlistment
5

City College of New York. Work in factories, offices, and testing labs while studying. Enlisted in 1945. Served in Europe. Wounded in battle. Sent home in 1946. GI Bill. Mechanical engineering degree.

Early Career
16

Engineer at Babcock and Wilcox Company. Boiler factory. Goodyear Aircraft. Learning on the job. Moving back to New York. Western Electric. Research and development. Kearney plant. Troubleshooting on the job. Assigned to wire wrapping. Dean Knapic. Eugene Kleiner.

Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory
27

Being asked to join Shockley Semiconductor. Moving to Palo Alto. Designing and building crystal growers. Commercial crystal growers. Working with Gordon E. Moore at Shockley. William Shockley after winning Nobel Prize.

Fairchild Semiconductor
50

Build up to the Fairchild 8 leaving Shockley Semiconductor. Discussions with Arnold Beckman. Early days at Fairchild Semiconductor. Crystal growing. Research and development. Working in the Transducer Division. Going overseas to set up assembly plants. Leaving Fairchild Semiconductor.

Conclusion
65

Thoughts on Gordon E. Moore. Life after Fairchild.

Index
70

About the Interviewer

David C. Brock

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.

In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.