The term “Silicon Valley” usually refers to the Santa Clara Valley in California.Silicon Valley became famous as the birthplace of the silicon-based transistor in the 1950s. A man named Don Hoefler later entered the nickname into the public consciousness through a series of articles he wrote for the Electronic News in 1971, having borrowed the term from his friend Ralph Vaerst. By this time, the rapid growth of the tech industry was well underway in California.
One thing most people don’t seem to know is that Santa Clara Valley (aka Silicon Valley) has been a center of innovation in electronics and related areas for 100 years.
Most people tend to think technological innovation in S.V. started with Fairchild and the Traitorous Eight in the 1950s, or Hewlett and Packard in the 1930s. But Lee de Forest was doing pioneering work in vacuum tubes in Palo Alto in the 1910s.
At about the same time, Charles Herrold started the (arguably) first radio station in the world with regular broadcasts, KQW, which broadcast from atop the Fairmont hotel in San Jose. KQW is now KCBS.
Major companies: Below are just a handful of the important companies, in the past or present, to have been founded in or have strong associations with the region of Silicon Valley.