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U of P unveils vintage Tek oscilloscope to celebrate Vollum's birth

by: WIKIPEDIA - A 1948 advertisement shows the Tektronix Type 511 Oscilloscope. One of the vintage oscilloscopes will be unveiled Friday afternoon at the University of Portland's celebration of Howard Vollum's birth.The University of Portland’s Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of tech innovator Howard Vollum Friday afternoon with the unveiling of a vintage Tektronix 511 Oscilloscope in Shiley Hall.

The celebration included unveiling of the vintage Tek equipment and remarks by Shiley School of Engineering Dean Sharon Jones, former and current Tektronix employees and Vollum’s sons, Don and James Vollum.

The vintage Tektronix 511 Oscilloscope was recently discovered in storage at Shiley Hall.

Howard Vollum, one of Oregon’s most prolific and innovative leaders would have been 100 years old on Friday, May 31. The university celebration was in conjunction with the VintageTek Museum.

Vollum was born in Portland May 31, 1913. He died Feb. 5, 1986, at 72. He enrolled at the University of Portland in 1931 and completed a two-year program in engineering in 1933. He transferred to Reed College where he majored in physics, graduating in 1936.

Vollum worked as a radio technician and served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1942 to 1945. Vollum’s wartime experience gave him the opportunity to study the state-of-the-art technology on cathode-ray-tube displays and to collaborate with other experts.

In 1946, he co-founded a tech company with Jack Murdock to design, manufacture and market laboratory oscilloscopes. The company, which began in Portland and eventually moved to Beaverton, was first named Tekrad, but a month later changed its name to Tektronix (drawn from “technology” and “electronics”), due to a trademark conflict.

Tektronix built its first high-performance, low-cost oscilloscope, the 511, using electronic parts purchased from government surplus sales.

Today, when you view a website, click a mouse, make a cell phone call or turn on a TV you touch the work enabled by Tektronix.