KEMET Corporation, as we know it today, was officially formed on December 21, 1990. However, the history of KEMET actually began a long time ago. Kemet Laboratories was established by Union Carbide Corporation in 1919 to purchase the Cooper Research Company of Cleveland, Ohio, which had invented a promising high-temperature alloy. The name ''KEMET'' is a blend of the words ''chemical'' and ''metallurgy.'' KEMET's first product used this high-temperature alloy for grid wires in vacuum tubes. In 1930, the product line was expanded to include barium-aluminum alloy getters, an essential element in vacuum tubes. KEMET's development of automatic machinery allowed production of high-quality getters in the huge quantities needed to match the rapid expansion of vacuum tube usage. In fact, it is estimated that over 80% of the vacuum tubes used by the Allies during World War II contained KEMET getters. The business continued to grow and prosper until the early 1950s when Bell Telephone Laboratories invented the transistor. As the transistor began to displace vacuum tubes in electronics, the getter business stagnated. Fortunately for KEMET, Bell Laboratories had also invented the solid tantalum capacitor, which complemented the use of low-voltage transistors (semi-conductors) in electrical circuits. Since Union Carbide had experience in the fields of high-temperature metals and alloys, the solid tantalum capacitor was chosen as KEMET's ''new product'' to complement the getter product line and to provide the vehicle for future growth.