Germanium Hopes in Coal Set Back

“GERMANIUM HOPES IN COAL SET BACK: Research Men Rule Out Fuel as Source Because Yield of Metal Is Too Small GERMANIUM HOPES IN COAL SET BACK”

In this article, the most striking point is that it immediately calls germanium “the rare metal that is used, one tiny speck at a time, to make transistors and electronic components come alive”. This shows that (at least at The New York Times) the writers of the era were writing to the understanding of their readers at the expense of complete truth. Not only is it not a speck of germanium that is used in early transistors, but in 1953 a transistor was still of consequential size to the point where it was something you could hold in your hand and examine. The term “make transistors and electronic components come alive” also makes little sense, and only someone with a complete lack of understanding regarding circuitry would think that this is a valid take on electronics. This was also at a time where the mentality was not “here is my magic box that calls people and surfs the internet, and I have no care in how it does it”, it was a time where people actually paid people to repair things like TV’s and fridges.

Otherwise, the article discusses how people have been hunting for germanium in places like coal mines after discovering that you can extract germanium from coal, and how this mentality has more or less fallen apart. This was an endearing prospect, mostly because coal is so cheap and germanium was one of the most expensive materials after it was discovered what it could be used for. The findings basically state that there is not a significant enough portion of germanium in coal to justify extraction of coal for the sole purpose of germanium manufacturing.


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