Tektronix, Inc. celebrates a milestone 75 years, as the famed Oregon-grown company reflects upon its legacy as a technology pioneer and status as a current 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 first time-base triggered oscilloscope. Renowned globally for its contributions to major technology breakthroughs, from the invention of color 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,” said Tektronix president Tami Newcombe. “Our company is rooted in the forward-thinking mentality of a 75-year-old start-up, fueled 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. 

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 color 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 realization,” said 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 L.M. Ericsson Telephone Company). 

1950s:    Tektronix enables the first video tape recorder and the advent of color 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 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 centers 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 Instruments.

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.

Tektronix Innovation Forum

As part of its 75th anniversary and continued commitment to driving technological innovation, Tektronix presents its 2021 Tektronix Global Innovation Forum, hosted virtually from June 15 to July 16, 2021.