[volt-nuts] Keithley - and Tek gear

Chuck Harris cfharris at erols.com
Wed Nov 17 20:59:59 UTC 2010

Dick Moore wrote:

> It was a little more complicated -- When I started at Tek in 1961, I was told that in the 50's, during the Korean
> conflict, Tek had military contracts that stipulated that Tek had to allow other firms to build the mil-spec gear as
> a matter of national security. Lavoie Labs and Dumont built Tek scopes under these contracts, and then continued to
> build Tek scope clones for years afterward, on into the 60's, most notably, clones of the 530 and 540 series, which
> had mil contract provisions on them. Tek of course had the ceramic terminal strips and the others didn't -- Tek made
> those ceramic strips themselves.

To quote Stan Griffiths:

"   Counterfeit Instruments

During the late 50's, and early 60's, at least three different
companies produced copies of popular Tektronix oscilloscopes.
These instruments were sold to the U.S. Military under large
contracts and show up occasionally in the surplus market today.
If you are not aware of this situation, you could easily buy
one of these bogus instruments thinking it was manufactured by
Tektronix because their appearance is so similar to the real
thing.  These copies provoked a 20-year-long lawsuit for patent
infringement against the Federal Government that Tektronix
eventually won."

- Oscilloscopes Selecting and Restoring a Classic,
   by Stan Griffiths - ISBN: 0-9633071-5-0, p37.
   (Apparently self published)

He goes on to say the companies are Hickok, Jetronics, and Lavoie.

As an additional point, my dad, a life time DOD engineer, once told me
that Tektronix refused to make milspec scopes, in the 50's and 60's,
because they didn't want to get tied into the government contracting
requirements, second sources being among them.  All tek scopes, during
that time frame, were bought off the shelf.

The Hickok, Jetronics, and Lavoie scopes were entirely made at the
government's request to fulfill their need for control.  They basically
told the companies not to worry about the patents, the US would take
care of it.

-Chuck Harris

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