The Museum of Tek Scopes

Welcome to the Museum of old Tektronix Scopes. These pages give information on and images of old Tektronix scopes up to about 1970. They were originally created by Arnoud Vanderwel, who no longer had the time to mantain them, so I have taken them over.

Index to the Museum

NOTE- You can click the pictures if you want more detail than the thumbnails.

Main Exhibit Hall (this)

Curve Tracers
Tube Tek Tech Support
Background information
Have a look at Bernard Tichit's collection!
Gallery of old Teks in the press (Includes old Tek ads.....)
Other Tek Scope Resources, on and off the net. (Includes where to get parts and manuals)


Curve Tracers

When looking at Tek instruments of the vacuum tube era, we find only two curve tracers. These were the 570 and the 575.


Most of the Tek scopes of this era were plug-in scopes, i.e. they had an interchangeable vertical input amp. The two most common plug-in types for these scopes are the "Letter" series, which later became the "1" series, and the 2/3 series.
The difference between 2 and 3 series plugins is that only the 2 series can be used in the 560 scope. Reason is power draw, the 560 had a very feeble power supply. The 561, 561A, 561B, 564, 564B, 567, and 568 can use 2 or 3 series.
Also, the 2 and 3 series were the successors to the 60 and 70 series, with the same restrictions. The 60 and 70 series plugins were renumbered by adding 2A/2B and 3A/3S/3T prefixes as appropriate. There were also a few 50 series plugins (50, 51, 59) with very limited functionality, really for some dedicated applications.
There are also some other (less common) plugins, for example the "80" series, and the "9" "10" and "11" series. Tek also made several non-plugin scopes.

"Letter" and "1" type plug-ins

"2" and "3" type plug-ins

"80" type plug-ins


As with all old electronics, the availability of manuals is a crucial point in terms of usability and repairability. Fortunately, Tek manuals are not (very) hard to find if you know where to look. After all, every Tek scope used to come with two complete operating, service and calibration manuals (!). These manuals are of truly excellent quality, with extensive sections on troubleshooting and repair, and a complete circuit description that explains the working of your scope in detail. A must-have for your old Tek.

Useful Bits of Technical Support

Some Background bits for those interested

This section still needs to be expanded. If you feel you are able to contribute please send me an email. I am especially, but not exclusively, interested in tunnel diode trigger circuits and bistable storage oscilloscopes. If you are an (ex-) Tek engineer who was involved in the production of any of these oscilloscopes and or the development of any of the circuits and techniques used in them then you are of course especially invited to contribute.

On collecting Tek scopes, a personal view by Arnoud Vanderwel

Many people do not understand why one would collect old Tek scopes. Sometimes, I don't understand why I collect Tek scopes either. Still, there are a number of people around the world who are into this weird hobby. What, you may wonder, is it that makes these huge oscilloscopes so interesting to the electronics enthousiast? Jim Williams sums it up neatly when he speaks of the Tek 535:
"The 535's engineering concepts and production execution were a bumpless combination of interdisciplinary technology, inspired design, attention to detail, aesthetics, and usability. It combined solid knowledge of fundamentals, unbounded thinking, and methodical discipline to produce a superior result. The thing just radiated intellectual honesty."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Jim Williams encountered his first Tek back in 1956. I encountered my first Tek back in 1994. Almost 40 years on, and the classic Tek scope retains its value in almost every way. Not cutting edge technology to be sure, but where space and electricity are not at a premium it manages to hold its own against any modern challenger. In this time where we are flooded by cheap consumer junk and equipment that really should never have seen the light of day, the contrast that the classic Tek scope offers is all the more visible. The simple fact that so many of these wonderful machines have survived for 30+ years probably says enough.

So: If you have any questions, additions, corrections, or want to swap anything, get in touch, and we'll talk Tek.


Pages mantained by Alan Bain, please feel free to contact me with extra information or corrections.