Oscilloscopes have been invented in the 1920s. Up to now this instrument encountered many innovations. In the beginning the most important manufacturers have been General Radio, DuMont, General Electric and Radio Corporation of America. Later Cossor and later Solartron dominated the market. Today the main players are Keysight, Tektronix and Teledyne LeCroy. Below we listed some important oscilloscope milestones.
|1897||Karl Ferdinand Braun built the first cathode ray tube (CRT) and the first CRT based oscilloscope for physical experiments.|
|1920s||First cathode ray tubes (CRT) used for measurements.|
|1931||General Radio Company (later renamed to GenRad) develops one of the first oscilloscopes (Electron Oscillograph Type 535-A it was in two parts: tube and power supply).|
|1932||A.C.Cossor Ltd. (UK) developes its first oscilloscope.|
|1933||Rohde & Schwarz was founded by Lothar Rohde and Hermann Schwarz in Munich, Germany.|
|1934||General Radio Company (GenRad) introduces the first commercial one box cathode-ray oscilloscope (Type 687-A). Some years later the company developed the Type 770-A which was never sold. A few years later GR dropped the production of oscilloscopes.|
|1935||Hewlett-Packard was founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard near Palo Alto.|
|1938||First dual beam oscilloscope developed by A.C.Cossor in UK.|
|1939||DuMont introduces the DuMont 164 general purpose Oscillograph. In the 1940s DuMont was the leader in the oscilloscpe market.|
|1943||Allen DuMont invents frequency trigger and sweep, Model 224-A features 3 inch CRT, one channel and 2 MHz bandwidth.|
|1946||Tektronix was founded by Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock.|
|1947||Tektronix introduces its first time base triggered oscilloscope (Model 511) featuring automatic triggering, calibrated readings and high accuracy.|
|1945||DuMont launches 248 featuring 5 MHz bandwidth and 5 inch CRT.|
|1954||Tektronix introduces the Model 535 which includes an own developed and produced CRT. This model was sold over 22 years.|
|1956||Tektronix introduces the Model 545 with 24 MHz bandwith, 2 channels and a modular plug-in concept.|
|1956||Hewlett-Packard (HP) presents its first oscilloscope, the HP 130A with 300 kHz bandwidth.|
|1957||Tektronix introduces time-delayed trigger.|
|1957||HAMEG was founded. First product is a 5 MHz one channel oscilloscope.|
|1959||Hewlett-Packard (HP) enters the European market with sales and support offices in Germany and Switzerland and a factory in Germany.|
Hewlett-Packard (HP) invents the sampling technology. First product was launched in 1960, the HP 185A with a bandwidth of 500 MHz.
|1961||Tektronix introduced Model 321, the first portable oscilloscope (6MHz, one channel, line and battery operation)|
|1962||Hewlett-Packard (HP) increased with the HP 185B the bandwith to 1000 MHz. This was the first GHz oscilloscope.|
Tektronix introduces the Model 564 the first storage oscilloscope and the high performance Model 547.
LeCroy was founded by Walter LeCroy.
Tektronix introduces the Series 400 of portable oscilloscopes and the Model 647 a fully transistorized und ruggedized military version of the Model 547.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) introduces the Series 180, a complete family of oscilloscopes with a choice of mainframes, display sizes, plug-ins and accessories.
Tektronix lauchned the completely redesigned Serie 7000 (e.g. Model 7704 with a bandwidth of 150 MHz).
Hiro Moriyasu (Tektronix) invents the digital oscilloscope.
LeCroy built the first real-time digital oscilloscope (WD 2000).
|1980?||Digital storage oscilloscope invented by Nicolet Test Instrument (1 MHz bandwidth).|
|1982||Hewlett-Packard introduced the first full digital and microprocessor-based oscilloscopes, the HP 1980A/B with two 100 MHz channels. It was also programmable over the HP-IP bus.|
|1983||Hewlett-Packard launched its last analog oscilloscopes, the HP 1745A (extra large screen) and the HP 1746A.|
|1985||LeCroy presented the high speed digital storage oscilloscope Model 9400 (dual 165 MHz, 8 bit). It used a large standard TV CRT with magnetic deflection which shows both the input signal and a computed Fourier spectrum including grid, characters and traces.|
|1980s||First digital sampling oscilloscopes appeared.|
|Hewlett-Packard introduced a digitizing oscilloscope with 500 MHz bandwidth (HP 54xxx)|
|1991||Pico Technology was founded and introduced first PC-based oscilloscope named ADC-10 and pioneered also digital triggering. The ADC-10 featured one channel with 10 kS/s sample rate and was connected via parallel port to a PC.|
|1991||LeCroy introduced a hi-resolution oscilloscope with 10 bit vertical resolution and 100 MHz bandwidth|
|1992||Hewlett-Packard introduced the HP 54600A. For the first time a digital 100 MHz oscilloscope was available for the same price as a 100 MHz analog oscilloscope. The HP 54600A was also the first oscilloscope featuring a FFT analysis (Fast Fourier Transfor) to perfom a frequency domain analysis.|
|1992||Pico Technology launched the first (PC-based) oscilloscope with 12 bit resolution (ADC-12 with parallel port PC interface).|
|1993||LeCroy introduced the first PC-based digital oscilloscope.|
|1996||Hewlett-Packard introduces the first mixed-signal oscilloscope (MSO) with two 100 MHz analog channels and 8 or 16 digital logic channels - the HP 54645.|
|1997||CRT display was more and more replaced by LCD. Tektronix launched the TDS210 with 60MHz bandwidth and backlit monochrome 4,7" LCD (320 x 240 px).|
|1998||Tektronix invented the digital phosphor oscilloscope (DPO).|
|1998||Hewlett-Packard introduced the first members of the Series HP 54800 Infinium oscilloscopes with 5 models featuring a bandwidth of 500 MHz to 1.5 GHz and sample rates of up to 8 GS/s. This was the first Windows based oscilloscope.|
|1999||Agilent Technologies created by a spin-off of all non-computing products from Hewlett-Packard.|
|2002||Siglent was founded in Shenzen (China).|
|2005||Rohde & Schwarz acquired HAMEG.|
|2006||With the PicoScope 5000 Series Pico Technology released the first USB-connected oscilloscope with 1GS/s realtime sample rate and 250 MHz bandwith.|
|2007||Tektronix acquired by Danaher Corporation.|
|2009||Tektronix introduces the MSO70000 mixed-signal oscilloscope with up 4 analog channels with up to 20 GHz bandwith and 50 GS/s and 16 digital channels.|
|2009||LeCroy developed the Wavemaster 8Zi with 20 GHz bandwidth and 40 GS/s.|
|2010||LeCroy introduces first oscilloscope with 45 GHz bandwidth and 120 GS/s sample rate (WaveMaster 8Zi-A).|
|2010||Tektronix announced the DPO/DSA/MSO70000C Series of digital and mixed signal oscilloscopes reaching a 100 GS/s sampling rate.|
|2010||Rohde & Schwarz enters the oscilloscope market with two families R&S RTO with up to 2 GHz bandwidth and R&S RTM with up to 500 MHz bandwidth.|
|2011||Rigol Technologies entered European market.|
|2011||Tektronix introduced the Series MDO4000 mixed domain oscilloscopes (MDO) a combination of oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer.|
|2011||LeCroy introduced the first oscilloscope with 65 GHz bandwidth the LabMaster 10Zi. Up to 20 acquisition channels with 65 GHz bandwidth could be synchronized.|
|2011||LeCroy launched the first oscilloscopes with 12 bit vertical resolution of the ADCs and sample rate 2.5 GS/s the Series HDO4000 and HDO6000 offering 16 times more vertical resolution than traditional oscilloscopes.|
|2012||Teledyne acquired LeCroy. New name is Teledyne LeCroy.|
|2012||Yokogawa presented the first mixed-signal oscilloscope with 8 analog channels (DLM4000).|
|2013||Pico Technology launched the first oscilloscope with flexible resolution from 8 to 16 bits. (PicoScope 5000).|
|2013||Teledyne LeCroy demonstrates the first 100 GHz realtime oscilloscope.|
|2013||Pico Technology released the first USB 3.0 oscilloscope.|
|2014||Yokogawa introduced the first combination of oscilloscope and power analyzer the PX8000.|
Tektronix introduced the first 6-in-1 oscilloscope including a digital multimeter, arbitrary signal generator, spectrum analyser, logic analyser, and protocol analyser, the MDO3000 Series.
|2014||Agilent split into two companies and test & measurement branch renamed to Keysight Technologies.|
|2014||Teledyne LeCroy: the first 100 GHz realtime oscilloscope (already demonstrated in 2013) with 240 GS/s is commercial available: the LabMaster 10-100Zi.|
|2015||Tektronix launched a compact 70GHz oscilloscope with 200 GS/s sample rate (DPO70000SX).|
|2016||Rohde & Schwarz enters handheld oscilloscope market with R&S Scope Rider combining 5 instruments.|
This information has been compiled from many sources. We would like to highlight at least some of them:
Green Trace - This site shows a private collection of vintage CRT oscilloscopes.
hp Memory Project - Also a private site documenting the first sixty years of Hewlett-Packard between 1939 and 1999.
Hewlett-Packard Archiv - Private collection of HP documents.
Oscilloscope Museum - Private collection of vintage CRT oscilloscope, mostly European instruments.
Richard Sears, Vintage Electronics - Private collection of historic test & measurement instruments.
The Museum of Tek Scopes - Private museum of vintage Tektronix oscilloscopes.
Wikipedia - General information about oscilloscopes in the free encyclopedia.
Wikipedia - Oscilloscope history in the free encyclopedia.