- Tektronix was founded in 1946 by C. Howard Vollum and Melvin J. Murdock and expanded to many countries in 1968.
- The Oregon-based company revolutionized the test and measurement market by introducing the first time-triggered oscilloscope.
Since its inception, Tektronix has continually expanded and renewed its oscilloscope offering by integrating new features into each new generation of instruments: replacement of traditional analog CRT oscilloscopes by digital oscilloscopes that sample signals via analog-to-digital converters, analog inputs combined with digital inputs (MSO), analog inputs combined with an RF input (MDO), versatile inputs capable of acquiring one analog signal or eight digital signals depending on the probe connected to them…
Tektronix, which acquired in 2010 its compatriot Keithley Instruments, offers today a wide range of instruments: oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, signal generators, benchtop multimeters, source meters, programmable power supplies, etc.
“Over the past 75 years, Tektronix has been at the forefront of the world’s greatest technological achievements, from the invention of color television to space exploration, 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, fueled by the same sense of curiosity and customer focus our founders celebrated.”
On the occasion of its anniversary, Tektronix introduced several new products to the market. The MSO 6B series mixed-signal oscilloscope, offering 10 GHz bandwidth and 50 GS/s sampling rate on 4 to 8 analog inputs, rounded out the U.S. company’s oscilloscope lineup. Tektronix also launched the TekExpress multi-gigabit automotive Ethernet compliance test solution this year to meet the testing requirements of automotive electronic designs.
A major player in the oscilloscope market, Tektronix was the first manufacturer to offer oscilloscopes that combine analog and digital MSO (Mixed Signal Oscilloscope) inputs in the same instrument. The company also launched a new generation of MDO (Mixed Domain Oscilloscope) oscilloscopes that combine analog inputs for analyzing signals in the time domain with an RF input for their analysis in the frequency domain. In 2017, it announced the MSO 5 series oscilloscopes, which are singularly different from existing instruments on the market because of their great flexibility in choosing the number of analog and digital channels. These digital oscilloscopes offer 4 to 8 analog inputs, each of which can accommodate a probe of 8 digital channels. This offers the possibility to gather up to 64 digital inputs on the same platform. The MSO 6B Series oscilloscopes, launched in September 2020, offer the same flexibility to connect on 4 to 8 analog inputs that cover frequency bands up to 10 GHz.
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,” 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.”
- 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 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.
- 2021 : On the occasion of its 75th anniversary, Tektronix is organizing its Global Innovation Forum, which will take place virtually on different dates in different regions of the world from June 15 to July 16, 2021.