Texas Instruments SN514 Integrated Circuit  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2008-11-16  



TI's SN51x series of RCTL logic chips, released in 1961, is widely recognized to be the world's first commercially available line of integrated circuits. 'SN' stands for 'Semiconductor Network', TI's nod towards the then-radical idea of combining multiple solid state devices into a single package. The SN51x series chips were manufactured from multiple transistor and diode dies, which were hand-wired together with thread-like interconnect leads inside the package. Constructing chips in this manner was both labor-intensive and expensive: early SN51x series chips sold for over $400 when first released.

These early ICs were primarily targeted towards the military and aerospace industry, and the SN514 (along with the SN510) were the first integrated circuits to orbit the earth. The earliest SN51x series chips were packaged in gold plated flat-packs. This example, a SN514 NOR/NAND gate made in November 1962, abandons the military gold package in favor of a more primitive looking 'block of carbon'-style enclosure.


Texas Instruments SN514 Integrated Circuit
Texas Instruments SN514 NOR/NAND gate, date code 1962.

Texas Instruments SN514 Semiconductor Network IC
This variant of the SN514 comes in a perspex box instead of the plastic carrier used for most TI flat-packs.

Texas Instruments SN514 Flatpack Carrier
Included in the package is a printed circuit board carrier, to break out the SN514's tiny surface mount package into something clumsy humans could handle.

Texas Instruments SN515 Integrated Circuit
The SN514 was also made in gold plated packages for use by the aerospace industry. The examples shown here (along with another SN51 family device, the SN515), were installed in a Blue Streak rocket that was test-fired in 1964. Special thanks to Lance Weeks for providing this image.

Blue Streak missile guidance computer
The Blue Streak was a British made intermediate range ballistic missile that was later re-purposed to be the first stage of a three stage orbital launch vehicle. The Blue Streak guidance computer contained numerous Texas Instruments flat-packs. Special thanks to Lance Weeks for providing this image.

Texas Instruments SN510 Integrated Circuit
The November 1961 cover of Fortune magazine shows one of the earliest known pictures of an SN51x integrated circuit.

Texas Instruments SN514 Litton Guidance Computer
Integrated circuit technology was heavily driven by the needs of the aerospace industry. Shown here is a card for a Litton guidance computer built using SN514 chips, as well as the original (much heavier) transistor-based card it would replace.

Texas Instruments SN514 Solid Circuit
Texas Instruments SN514, at rest.

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