Artifact Details


Mataré, Herbert F. oral history

Catalog Number





Herbert Mataré was a German physicist who worked on semiconductor research in the German radar program during World War II, specifically on silicon rectifiers and germanium devices he called “duodiodes.” This interview focused on his postwar work in Paris, in which he collaborated with physicist Heinrich Welker to establish a small outfit located in the suburbs of Paris to develop and produce germanium diodes for the Westinghouse Brakes and Signals Division. In early 1948, while examining a phenomenon he called “interference,” he and Welker discovered a way to fabricate a semiconductor amplifier based on germanium with two point-contacts touching its surface. This occurred shortly after John Bardeen and Walter Brattain invented the point-contact transistor at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. When they learned of the Bell Labs invention in July 1948, Mataré and Welker applied for patents on their own device, called the “transistron.” The company subsequently produced and sold some of these devices during the late 1940s, but its primary product was germanium diodes. After that, Mataré returned to Germany in 1950 and cofounded a firm named Intermetall, Inc., to manufacture transistrons and other semiconductor devices, employing them to power what may have been the first transistor radio, demonstrated in 1952–53.

When this interview occurred in 2004, Mataré was dividing his time between Europe and Southern California, where he was consulting with several US firms on their semiconductor research and development projects. The interview took place at his apartment/condominium in Malibu, California.




Mataré, Herbert F., Interviewee
Riordan, Michael, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Malibu, California


28 p.




Mataré, Herbert F.; transistron; French transistor; Westinghouse Electric Corporation; Intermetall; duodiode; Welker, Heinrich; Paris Group; semiconductor history

Collection Title

Oral history collection


Gift of Michael Riordan

Lot Number


Related Records

102743223 Herbert Matare interview