Sectioned cathode ray oscilloscope

Made by Tektronix Incorporated in United States of America, 1963-1969.

German physicist Ferdinand Braun invented the cathode-ray oscilloscope (CRO) in 1897, and this one was made in Guernsey in the 1960s. Inside it, cathode rays (electron beams) move from the back of a vacuum tube towards the front, where they light up a phosphorescent screen. The variable of interest in an experiment is converted to a stream of electric voltages, which deflect the electron beam to trace a graph as different parts of the screen light up. The CRO is a very versatile, fast-response r...



An oscilloscope (sometimes abbreviated CRO, for cathode-ray oscilloscope, or commonly just scope or O-scope) is a piece of electronic test equipment that allows signal voltages to be viewed, usually as a two-dimensional graph of one or more electrical potential differences (vertical axis) plotted as a function of time or of some other voltage (horizontal axis). The complete apparatus comprises a cathode ray tube, which forms the measuring and indicating portion of the instrument, and a number of subsidiary units or circuits for providing suitable power supplies, for amplifying or attenuating the voltage to be measured, and for ensuring that the instantaneous values of that voltage are displayed on the screen in succession so that the trace takes the form of a graph in which the voltage is plotted against time.

Type 502A was introduced in 1963 by Tektronix Australia Pty Ltd. The unit has a maximum band width of 1 MHz, dual differential channels, X-Y curve tracing with one or two beams, single sweep operation, and plotting frequency of 100 kHz. It is a differential type, permitting the pick-up of small signals in the presence of large interfering signals, which would have swamped small signals in previous non-differential types. It uses a sweep generation system, permitting very superior registering of infrequent pulses or widely spaced signals. This oscilloscope has an operating range of 210-280 volts and 50-60 cycles.

Tektronix replaced the metal casing of this unit with perspex to reveal its electrical components.


390 mm
596 mm
290 mm


Manufactured by Tektronix Pty Ltd between 1963 and 1969. Tektronix is a United States corporation best known for its test and measurement equipment such as oscilloscopes, logic analysers, and video and mobile test protocol equipment. The company traces its roots to the electronics revolution that immediately followed World War II. The company's founders, C. Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock, invented the world's first triggered oscilloscope in 1946, a significant technological breakthrough.

Tektronix in Australia became NewTek Sales Pty Ltd in December 2001. NewTek no longer exists. The current representative of Tektronix in Australia is TekMark Australia Pty Ltd.
Tektronix Incorporated 1963-1969


Purchased by the Electronics Department at Macquarie University. It was used as a general purpose recording oscilloscope before being donated by Macquarie University to Tektronix for its museum collection. The company in turn donated the unit to the Powerhouse Museum.
Tektronix Incorporated


Gift of Tektronix Australia Pty Ltd, 2007
30 November, 2007

Cite this Object

Sectioned cathode ray oscilloscope 2016, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Sectioned cathode ray oscilloscope |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Store 4 at the Museums Discovery Centre.
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