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Early radio receivers like the one in the picture look strange and cumbersome to our eyes today. In the 1950s radio was revolutionised by a device made of a wafer of a mineral called germanium and little pellets of another mineral, usually indium, aluminium or gallium. It was called a Transistor. The transistor was no bigger than a fingernail and almost unbreakable. It replaced fragile glass valves and allowed radios to become much smaller. The first "transistor radios" were sold in the 1950s.

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