Thanks to this makezine video I just discovered that the transistor dates back to around 1925 by an Austrian-Hungarian physicist named Julius Edgar Lilienfeld (see also the PS section in this page). What strikes me is that the transistor effect was discovered around 20 years in advance to the “official” discovered at Bell Labs, but it wasn’t developed because no large company was supporting it. Just a single man, with not enough resources, trying to convince electronic industry (i.e. vacuum tube manufacturers, at those times) that he was on something worth.
I wonder how many pioneers were dismissed to protect industry interests or just for lack of good will by industry managers. Would have they been supported, where the human kind would be today?