Kenneth E. Manchester

Born: March 22, 1925 | Winona, MN, US
Died: November 10, 2014 | Metro Manila, PH

Kenneth E. Manchester discusses his service in World War II and his educational experiences, including his A.B. at San Jose State College,his M.S. and Ph.D. at Stanford  University, and postdoctoral fellowship under Eric Hutchinson. Manchester first joined Shell Development Company and later moved to Sprague Electric Company, where he directed a research group that pioneered in the development of ion implantation and later headed semiconductor research and quality assurance. He concludes the interview with his thoughts on the need for chemists in semiconductor development. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0296
No. of pages: 50
Minutes: 315

Interview Sessions

Christophe Lécuyer
13 October 2004
New Hope, Pennsylvania

Abstract of Interview

Kenneth E. Manchester was drafted after high school to serve in World War II and later attended San Jose State University. Manchester then completed a PhD in chemistry at Stanford University under the supervision of George S. Parks and worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Eric Hutchinson for three years. Manchester joined the surface chemistry group at Shell Development Company in 1955 and moved to Sprague Electric Company in 1962. At Sprague, he directed a research group that pioneered in the development of ion implantation, a key process in the manufacture of integrated circuits. Manchester later headed semiconductor research at Sprague before serving as director of quality assurance and reliability. He concludes the interview with thoughts on the need for chemists in semiconductor development. 


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1949 San Jose State University AB Chemistry
1950 Stanford University MS Chemistry
1955 Stanford University PhD Thermochemistry

Professional Experience

Stanford University

1952 to 1955
Fellow in Chemistry

Shell Development Company

1955 to 1962
Surface Chemist

Sprague Electric Company

1962 to 1963
Section Head of Semiconductor Chemistry
1963 to 1969
Department Head of Semiconductor Chemistry
1969 to 1976
Director of Semiconductor Research and Development
1976 to 1979
Chief Scientist
1979 to 1985
Director of Semiconductor Quality Assurance and Reliability
1985 to 1989
Corporate Vice President, Research Development and Engineering

Allegro Microsystems, Inc.

1989 to 1996


Year(s) Award

Scholarship award, top ten highest grade point averages at San Jose State College


Member, Key Club of Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Club, San Jose State College


Member, Optimist Club of Concord, California


Sprague-Worcester Major Achievement Award, Sprague Electric Company


Employee of the Year, Sprague Electric Company


Commendation from Vice President of Integrated Circuits Operation, Sprague Electric Company


Sprague Fellow, Sprague Electric Company


Biographical record, Electronics Buyers News, September edition


Biographical record, Who's Who in the World

Table of Contents

Education and Military Service

Childhood. Influence of early teachers. Military service. Marriage. College education at Santa Clara University. Graduate work at Stanford University. Eric Hutchinson. Innovation in equipment design.

Shell Development Company

Surface chemistry group. Instrumentation.

Sprague Electric Company

Semiconductor development. Ion implantation. Collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ion implantation system. Collaboration with MOSTEK Corporation. Operating through labor strike. Kurt Lehovec. Complementary metal oxide semiconductor. Hall sensor. Relationship between Sprague Electric Company and MOSTEK Corporation. Implanted resistor.

Sprague Electric Company in Worcester, Massachusetts

Quality assurance. Relationship to IBM Corporation. Hall element patent.


Importance of chemical education in semiconductor work.

About the Interviewer

Christophe Lécuyer

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a PhD in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).