TitleFairchild masking film
Biographical NotesIn 1957, New York based Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation made a historic
business decision when they sponsored the formation of Fairchild Semiconductor in
Palo Alto, California. A group of eight scientists and engineers involved in solid-state
electronics had developed a method of mass-producing silicon transistors using a
double diffusion technique and a chemical etching system called the “mesa” process.
Fairchild provided the necessary backing for the groups’ project and the development
and production of silicon diffused transistors and other semiconductor devices began.
The eight scientists and engineers were Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni,
Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Sheldon Roberts.
Fairchild Semiconductor became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fairchild Camera and
Instrument Corporation in 1959 and in 1961 became the Semiconductor Division. In
1959, Fairchild announced the development of the patented Planar process for
semiconductor device manufacturing. The Planar process paved the way for such
technological advances as the integrated circuit. In 1961 Fairchild introduced the world’s
first monolithic integrated circuit and in 1971 the isoplanar process for semiconductor
In 1968 the company’s corporate headquarters were moved from Syosset, New York to
Mountain View, California. In 1979 Schlumberger Limited purchased Fairchild
Semiconductor as a diversification move, but sold the assets to National Semiconductor
Corporation (NSC) in 1987. In 1997 NSC divested a number of former Fairchild mature
product lines in a leveraged buy-out to executives based at Fairchild’s former South
Portland, Maine facility and the “new” Fairchild Semiconductor became a publicly traded
company once again.
In early 1962 Richard Steinheimer was hired to start a photography department at
Fairchild Semiconductor in Mountain View, California. Steinheimer hired Steve Allen
(1938- ) in 1966 as a photographer. Graphic Art and Photography was a division of
Marketing Services, which also included Advertising, Public Relations, and
Reproduction and Distribution. Though the work at Fairchild Semiconductor was
industrial, the photographers were encouraged to be creative and develop themselves
as artists. When NSC bought the company the attitude toward creative staff shifted. The
philosophy of NSC was not to have artists, photographers, and art directors on staff.
About 1990, NSC sold Allen his equipment and made him a contract photographer.
Allen continued in that capacity until about 1997.