Late summer: Jack Murdock, Miles Tippery, Howard Vollum (and later Glenn McDowell) decided to incorporate a company  to produce their first oscilloscope. Because WW2 was over and the government had suddenly no need for electronic parts, the guys were able to buy "tons" of wanted parts for only a fraction of its worth.
November/ December: Miles Tippery suggested the name "Tekrad" as the name of the new company that was founded in December 1945. It appeared that an other company had registered a similar name. To avoid confusion Miles Tippery again suggested the new name Tektronix..

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January 16, 1946: Each of the four founders had to buy 26 shares at $100 to give the company the capital. Jack Murdockīs friend  and lawyer Jim Castles did all the inital "paper work" and organisation and got one share for that.
Feburay 2, 1946: Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon started. The facilities were located in the Foster Rd., Portland. Because of his experience in the Signal Corps in WW2 Howard Vollum realized the idea for a new calibrated and "triggered" time sweep oscilloscope. In that time ocilloscopes were only qualitative (and very huge, heavy) tools.

Milt BaveVollum began work on the 501. The first number "5" stood for the screenīs diameter, "01" stood just for the first model. The early 501 contained advanced circuitry but it was to big and heavy on the bench. That wasnīt enough to compete against the "big" competitors like Dumont, RCA, Varian, General Electric(?). Tek realized these drawbacks and as the answer of that Howard Vollum as the "circuitry wizzard" and Milt Bave as a mechanical genius launched the 511 oscilloscope.


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The 511 was more than a repacked 501. It was more sensitive, more compact and had a wide-band circuitry. The 511 used a delay line to permit watching the "trailing edge" and a distributed amplifier to obtain high bandwidth. The screen had a precise grid (graticule) to perfrom a accurate measurement and had a triggered sweep to view artefacts. Last but not least the entire instrument used regulated power suppies. The 511 oscilloscope was a great success and it was a "cash cow" for Tek .Distributed Amplifer (big)
January, 1947: Tek moved into the "Hawthorne Plant"
May, 1947: Tekīs first customer was the University of Oregon Medical School


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Tekīs first ad - the 511The demand of the 511 increased rapidly. One “key” was the first (!) ad of tektronix in Elektronics magazine in Arpril 1948. The ad showed the 511 but Tek simply called their one-and-only product “Vollumscope”.
September ad of Tek: the 511 with detailed specs  (210KB). Howard Vollum himself read these adīs very carefully and corrected the “marketing” view if the terms were not clear.

Introduction of the 511A oscilloscope: It was the first application of a high frequency power supply. This technique achived advantages in space, weight and efficiency (=less heat) of the entire scope.

Introduction of the 512 oscilloscope: Low-frequency input signal could force the trigger and unblank the beam..




Tek introduced the modular 160-Series. It contained the 160 Power Supply, 161 Pulse Generator, 162 Wave-Form Generator. The basic design was provided by  Ropiequet.

to be continued...

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