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Texas Instruments Incorporated (TXN), Fairchild Semiconductor Intl Inc (FCS), Intel Corporation (INTC): The Chip That Changed the World

Bold visions

President John F. Kennedy delivered a famous speech (click here to read it in its entirety) on the importance of sending a man to the Moon at Rice University in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12, 1962, barely a year after he’d first proposed such a program before Congress:

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. …

But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, reentering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun — almost as hot as it is here today — and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out — then we must be bold. …

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.”

Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.

Apollo 11 landed on the surface of the Moon, and returned safely to the earth, about seven years after Kennedy’s speech. Its guidance computer was the first such machine to use the integrated circuits first demonstrated in a Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN) lab in 1958. Click here to read more about the Apollo program and the technologies it helped push forward.

Chasing after banking dominance

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) has one of the highest pedigrees in American banking history. Much of its prestige derives from J. P. Morgan himself, but the “Chase” half of the name has rather venerable roots as well. Chase National Bank was established in a one-room Manhattan office on Sept. 12, 1877. Its name honored Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln and a friend of the bank’s founder. Despite this connection, Chase himself had no relationship with the bank, as he had died four years earlier.

Chase grew quickly, and by the start of the Roaring ’20s it was already the second-largest bank in the United States, despite having never undergone any mergers or acquisitions. This merger-free existence didn’t last long. By the end of the Roaring ’20s Chase had completed seven major deals to become the largest bank in the world. Other banks eventually eclipsed Chase, and on the eve of its merger with the Bank of the Manhattan Company in 1955, it was only the third-largest bank in the U.S.

Today, Chase is again the largest bank in the country, thanks to a number of deals that followed its 1996 merger with Chemical Bank — including, most notably, the new Chemical-augmented Chase Manhattan’s acquisition of J.P. Morgan in 2000.

The article The Chip That Changed the World originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Alex Planes.

Fool contributor Alex Planes owns shares of Intel. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @TMFBiggles for more insight into markets, history, and technology.The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel and JPMorgan Chase.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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