Oral history interview with Herman Fialkov

Oral history interview with Herman Fialkov

  • 2009-Sep-24 (First session)
  • 2009-Nov-23 (Second session)
  • 2010-Feb-27 (Third session)
  • 2010-Jun-28 (Fourth session)

Herman Fialkov was born in 1922 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Herman attended City College of New York, studying engineering. He left college to take a job with Emerson Radio Corporation attending night school at New York University, where he took a degree in administrative engineering, the "administrative" part laying the foundation for his entrepreneurship. From there he went to Radio Receptor Corporation. Seeing a market for transistors he founded General Transistor Corporation, whose first major customer was UNIVAC. In 1960 General Transistor Corporation merged with General Instrument Corporation and began making integrated circuits. Then Fialkov started a microelectronics division, which was eventually spun off into Microchip Technology, Inc. He next ventured into cable television, convincing General Instrument to purchase Jerrold Electronics. Jerrold, through several incarnations, has evolved into Comcast.

Fialkov invested in venture capital firm, Rock and Davis, and became intrigued by venture capital. He founded his own venture capital firm, Geiger and Fialkov, with Richard Geiger, and specialized in startup companies. He ended that firm and set up Aleph Null and PolyVentures. In the last fifty years his personal and venture capital investments have financed the startup or early development of many important companies, including Intel; Teledyne; Electroglas, Inc.; Standard Microsystems; General Signal; Globecomm Systems; and several Israeli companies.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 175 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewers

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

Richard Ulrych was the director of institutional grants and strategic projects at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

  • March 23, 1922
  • Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • February 21, 2012
  • Boca Raton, Florida, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1942 City University of New York. City College Power Equipment Maintenance
1943 United States. Army Power Equipment Maintenance Signal Corps
1943 Pratt Institute Fundamentals of Radio United States Army, Signal Corps
1951 New York University BA Administrative Engineering
1952 New York University MS Mechanical Engineering

Professional Experience

Emerson Radio and Phonograph Corporation

  • 1941 to 1942 Assistant Mechanical Engineer
  • 1946 to 1947 Mechanical Engineer

United States. Army

  • 1942 to 1946 Signal Corps and Infantry

Mutual Broadcasting System

  • 1947 to 1949 Engineer

Radio Receptor

  • 1949 to 2016 Mechanical Designer
  • 1951 to 1954 Chief Mechanical Designer

General Transistor Corporation

  • 1954 to 1960 Co-founder and President

General Instruments Corporation

  • 1960 to 1967 Group Vice President
  • 1967 to 1968 Senior Vice President of Development

Geiger & Fialkov Fund

  • 1968 to 1977 Partner

Aleph Null Fund

  • 1978 to 1987 Partner

Poly Ventures

  • 1987 to 1997 Partner

Newlight Associates

  • 1997 to 2004 Partner


Year(s) Award
1945 Bronze Star and two Oak Leaf Clusters, U. S. Army
1947 Conspicuous Service Cross, State of New York
1968 Leadership Award, United Jewish Appeal
1978 Israeli Leadership Award, State of Israel Bonds
1980 Fellow, Polytechnic Institute of New York
1987 Special Recognition Award, National Engineer Week
1988 Builder of Technion, American Society for Technion
1988 Long Island Distinguished Leadership Award
1990 Tech Island Award, Long Island Forum for Technology
1993 Presidential Medal, Polytechnic University
1996 Distinguished Alumni Citation, Polytechnic University
1999 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Lifetime Achievement as a supporter of entrepreneurship
1999 Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Alumnus of the Century,Polytechnic University
2000 Alex Grunwald Award for Enhancing Long Island's Technology, IEEE Long Island Section
2001 Long Island Software Award

Cite as

Herman Fialkov, interviewed by David C. Brock and Richard Ulrych in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 24, 2009. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0667. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/8910jv49c.

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PDF — 979 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

10 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads