T&M technology company, Tektronix marks 75 years of innovation

22 June 2021


Test & measurement firm's technologies behind major advancements from colour television to 5G to smart vehicles.

Test & measurement firm, Tektronix celebrates a milestone 75 years, as the Oregon, US-founded company reflects upon its legacy as a T&M technology pioneer and status as an industry leader. Credited with being “the seed that grew the Silicon Forest,” Tektronix was established in 1946 by C. Howard Vollum and Melvin J Murdock with the creation of the world’s first time-base triggered oscilloscope. Renowned globally for its contributions to major technology breakthroughs, from the invention of colour television to space exploration, Tektronix is credited as one of the most influential test and measurement companies in history.

For the past 75 years, Tektronix has been at the forefront of the world’s greatest technological achievements, accelerating global advancements by empowering today’s leading engineers and engineering students,” says Tektronix President, Tami Newcombe. “Our company is rooted in the forward-thinking mentality of a 75-year-old start-up, fuelled by the same sense of curiosity and customer focus our founders celebrated.

In conjunction with its milestone anniversary, Tektronix has released several new products to market. An industry-first, the 6 Series B MSO mixed signal oscilloscope extended the company’s award-winning oscilloscope portfolio to 10 GHz and 50 GS/s sample rates enabling engineers to test ever-faster and smaller computing systems powering today’s digital world. With advancements in the 5G and automotive industries, Tektronix also released an industry-first, the TekExpressTM multi-gigabit automotive ethernet compliance test solution, to meet the requirements of complex automotive designs.

Highly in-tune with its customer base of engineers, technicians and scientists, Tektronix is constantly innovating for the engineer, empowering them to create and realise technological advances with ever greater ease, speed and accuracy. With a commitment to instilling a curiosity for experimentation and drive for new knowledge, Tektronix has strengthened its connection with engineering schools, including a renewed effort on diversity and inclusion to attract students of colour and underserved communities to the industry and place leading edge equipment and software in the hands of the next generation of students at the world’s top universities.

We’re engineering for the future by reducing the time between inspiration and realisation,” says Vice President of Engineering, Mehmet Aslan. “By breaking down the walls of complexity for engineers with our test and measurement solutions across the globe, we’re enabling innovators to do more, accelerating global innovation. Our customers rely on us more than ever to solve electrical design challenges, from power efficiency to compute speed, and dramatically reduce their time-to-market.

Tektronix timeline:

1947:     The first Tektronix 511 oscilloscope is sold to the University of Oregon Medical School for about $800.

1948:     International sales begin in Sweden (to LM Ericsson Telephone Company).

1950s:     Tektronix enables the first video tape recorder and the advent of colour TV, going on to win seven Emmy Awards for its contributions to broadcasting and television.

1956:      Tektronix earns its first of more than 3,200 U.S. patents, the first for Richard L Ropiquet and Clifford H Moulton, US2752527 “Method of Magnifying Waveforms on a cathode-ray tube and Circuit Therefor.”

1958:     Tektronix opens its first manufacturing plant in Europe, in Guernsey

1960s-1970s: Helps NASA achieve the Apollo moon landing, IBM design mainframe computers and wireless companies develop the cell phone.

1972:      As part of re-opening diplomatic relations with China, US President Richard Nixon presents Tektronix broadcasting and test and measurement instruments to China.

1973:     Tektronix is involved in computer-to-computer communication testing with IBM and university labs. The ARPANET tests were the forerunner to today’s Internet.

1983:     Tektronix opens its first China office.

1990s:    Tektronix work in memory and power enables ever smaller and more energy efficient data centres and devices, helping drive massive adoption of mobile phone technology.

1995:    Begins China manufacturing operations.

2007:    Danaher Corp. purchases Tektronix for approximately $2.8 billion.

2010:    Tektronix acquires Ohio-based Keithley lnstruments.

2016:    Fortive Corp. spins off from Danaher, uniting industrial and test and measurement companies under the Everett, Washington-based company.

2019:     Releases TekDrive™, the first cloud-based platform that allows engineers to share and collaborate on data directly from their oscilloscope to the cloud.

2020:     Tektronix helps produce emergency ventilators at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and launches a partnership with Germany’s Wuppertal University on research and development of 6G wireless.

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