A guide to Silicon Valley’s High-Tech Heritage Trail

Over at The Startup on Medium, David Laws, semiconductor curator at the wonderful Computer History Museum, has prepared a fascinating guide to Silicon Valley's "high-tech heritage trail exploring places that housed the early stirrings of the digital revolution." Covering the "30-mile corridor from Stanford University to the former IBM disk-drive campus," Laws visits dozens of historical locations in the area including the spot where in 1908 Cyril Elwell demonstrated wireless telephony, the Stanford Research Park where Russel and Sigurd Varian invented the klystron microwave tube in 1937, and the location of Fairchild Semiconductor, fabricators of the first "monolithic integrated circuit (computer chip)" in 1960. Here are a few other great stops on the tour:

Apple and Steve Jobs, the most famous beneficiaries of Xerox innovations, borrowed the Alto’s GUI, mouse, and other features to differentiate the Macintosh from the rest of the early PC pack. Together with Steve Wozniak, Jobs co-founded Apple Computer and built the Apple 1 in his parents’ suburban tract home... at 2066 Crist Drive, Los Altos. Private residence, do not disturb...

Mountain View

Scientists and engineers fabricated the first silicon devices in the Valley at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in a former apricot packing shed at 391 San Antonio Road, Mountain View in 1956. Razed in 2014 for a multi-use commercial development, the lab site is commemorated with an IEEE Milestone plaque, an interpretive panel, and towering semiconductor device sculptures mounted in the sidewalk. (photo above)...

South Valley

Known as Andy Capp’s Tavern in 1972, Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club at 157 W. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale is famous in video-game lore as the site where Atari engineer Al Alcorn delivered a prototype Pong arcade game for testing in a real-world setting. Summoned several days later by a terse message “The machine is broken,” Al realized they had a winner when he saw its coin-catcher jammed full of quarters.

Exploring Silicon Valley’s High-Tech Heritage Trail (via IEEE SV History List)

Top image: "A sidewalk schematic diagram with component sculptures, in front of the original location of the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory" by Dicklyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Original Pong prototype: courtesy of Computer History Museum