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Intel: A Look Back on the Early Years

On the 40th Anniversary of the Microprocessor, a Tour of the Company Photo Archive Offers a Glimpse of Intel as It was in the Early 1970s

At top: Intel employees gather outside the new Santa Clara, Calif. facility in 1971. It was here, in a small fab located at the center of the building, that the 4004 was initially manufactured. The building was needed as the company had outgrown the original facility in nearby Mountain View. The so-called “Bowers” campus was located on the site of an old pear orchard and eventually grew to include several buildings. Originally, the address was Coffin Road, but the street was renamed.

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Intel launched its first microprocessor, the 4004, with an ad in the Nov. 15, 1971 issue of Electronic News. Andy Grove often posted many of the early advertisements on the wall in his office as the company was growing and getting more attention for its products (see below).

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An early photo of Andy Grove and his staff circa 1969 which included (back row left to right) Des Fitzgerald, Keith Thomson, Grove and (front row left to right) Skip Fehr, Dick Bohn and Les Vadasz.

1974 ASG's Office at SC2.jpg

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Andy Grove in his office at the Bowers campus in Santa Clara. While Grove himself did not smoke, Robert Noyce and others did and it was a far more common to see ashtrays in the building, according to Keith Thomson, one of the first 110 employees. Grove also liked to post the growing number of Intel ads that he spearheaded as the company was growing.

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In the early days, there were no “bunny suits” or gowns and masks that today’s fab technicians wear in state-of-the-art chip factories. Here, a fab technician in her official Intel smock operates what was known at the time as a Veeco Leak Detector. Semiconductors were placed in water and then a vacuum was drawn on them. If a semiconductor had a leak, the water would destroy the integrated circuit and then it would be identified at testing as a non-functioning unit.

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A quality control inspector reviews product using a microscope.

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A technician operates a furnace in an assembly and test plant. Sealed DIP packages were brought to a certain temperature in a nitrogen atmosphere so that the ceramic was melded and sealed.

This content was originally published on the Intel Free Press website.

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