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Oregon Historical Photo: Vintage Tektronix


A woman assembles an oscilloscope at Tektronix, ca. 1950s. Many homemakers without job experience were hired and taught a variety of tasks including soldering.

A woman assembles an oscilloscope at Tektronix, ca. 1950s. Many homemakers without job experience were hired and taught a variety of tasks including soldering.

Courtesy of Ed Sinclair, vintageTEK.org

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.

After World War II, four young entrepreneurs led by Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock launched Tektronix, a progressive, family-like electronics company. The product that started it all? A piece of test equipment indispensable to engineers. Soon the freewheeling research factory led the world in state-of-the-art oscilloscopes and related products. Tektronix ballooned into a billion-dollar operation and became Oregon’s largest private employer.

But the company’s size and success eventually slowed innovation. The exodus of top employees would help seed Washington County’s Silicon Forest and shift the state’s economic base from natural resources to high-tech manufacturing.

Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “The Spirit of Tek” to learn how Tektronix expanded and pioneered developments in television and the space race.

The Spirit of Tek

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