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Guide to the Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Processing Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Guide to the Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor
    Dates: 1926-1997
    Bulk Dates: 1962-1979
    Collection number: 4360.2008
    Creator: Allen, Steve
    Collection Size: 2 linear feet 2 record boxes
    Repository: Computer History Museum
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Abstract: The Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor contains photographs of professional photographer Steve Allen, a Fairchild Semiconductor and National Semiconductor Corporation employee from 1966 through about 1997. The collection documents executive employees, sales force, fabrication facilities, and products of Fairchild Semiconductor. The vast majority of the collection is comprised of photographs, negatives, and slides. There is a small amount of textual material.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    The Computer History Museum can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Computer History Museum's collection must be given by the Computer History Museum.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], [Date], Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor, Lot X4360.2008, Box[#], Folder[#], Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California.


    The Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor was donated by Steve Allen to the Computer History Museum in November of 2007. These are the records Steve Allen collected during his career as a photographer for Fairchild Semiconductor and National Semiconductor.

    Processing Information

    While Allen's files were in active use, he kept them arranged chronologically and then by subject within each year. Since this collection contains a portion of Allen's complete files, the original order has been lost and no attempt has been made to reconstruct it.

    Biography / Administrative History

    In 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 group's 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 manufacturing.
    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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Steve Allen photographs of Fairchild Semiconductor contains the professional photographic files of Steve Allen. The collection represents some of the most innovative graphic design that took place in Silicon Valley in the 1960s and 1970s, including photomicrographs, photo macrographs, and life field metallography. After Allen became a contractor for NSC, he was allowed to keep those images that would be most frequently requested, most likely used in projects, or that he would generally need regular access to. The remainder of the files stayed at NSC. The records span 1960 through 1992 with the bulk of the collection being from 1962 through 1988. Topics include Sherman Fairchild, Fairchild Aviation Corporation, Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation and Fairchild Semiconductor, with approximately two thirds of the collection being related to Fairchild Semiconductor products and people. Unless otherwise noted dates are inclusive.


    The collection is arranged in 3 series:
    • Series 1: A Solid State of Progress photographs
    • Series 2: Subject Files
    • Series 3: Collected history files

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Allen, Steve
    Fairchild (Firm)
    Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation
    National Semiconductor Corporation
    Integrated circuits-Pictorial works
    Semiconductor industry-Pictorial works

    Related Material

    Lot X4017.2007 Gift of Henry Mahler
    Lot X4348.2008; X4172.2008; X4359.2008; X4380.2008; X4324.2008 Collection of Fairchild Semiconductor employee papers