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Friday Quiz: Forgotten T&M Companies

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MeasurementBlues
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Re: The Borg, NI, and such
MeasurementBlues   9/2/2014 9:42:11 AM
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Fluke also bought Hart Scientific, a maker of high-end calibration equipment, mostly for temperature. Here's an article I wrote about Hart's triple-point water cells.

Calibration: It's what's not in the water that counts

On the T&M side, yes, Fluke bought Philip's test equipment; the Fluke Scopemeters have a Philips heritage (my Fluke 196 Scopemeter is even made in Holland).



antedeluvian
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Beckman Instruments
antedeluvian   9/2/2014 9:03:44 AM
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I remember Beckman Instruments used to do DMMs (the name suggests even more). A quick google search indicates that the DMMs were bought by Wavetek in 1992- maybe that was the source of the Meterman range.

bk11
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Re: Bad Memory
bk11   9/2/2014 8:47:32 AM
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I also have a Meterman DMM - they are something to do with Wavetek it would seem, but I cannot figure out who got who...

Meterman was part of WWG when I worked there, but I believe was sold to Fluke after they became Acterna.  The telecom bust of 2000 wasn't kind to Acterna, and many of us were freed to pursue other opportunities.

Sanjib.A
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No luck!
Sanjib.A   8/30/2014 9:43:27 PM
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Failed miserably bad this time...0 in 4...good to learn about the things happened in this space.

David Ashton
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Re: Bad Memory
David Ashton   8/29/2014 8:01:56 PM
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@mhrackin...Wavetek RF generators...we had one in the radio workshop where I worked as a young man (MANY years ago :-)  One of the other techs commandeered it but I got to use it occasionally and it was a fine generator - thumbwheel setting of the frequency, so synthesised obviously.  .  The rest of us had Marconi TF995s - manual dial tuning, and a separate frequency counter).  I also have a Meterman DMM - they are something to do with Wavetek it would seem, but I cannot figure out who got who...

David Ashton
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Re: Bad Memory
David Ashton   8/29/2014 7:43:44 PM
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@Antedeluvian... "Wow. 0 for 4. My memory must be defective"

Well, you're in good company!  it's called advancing age and decrepitude I think :-)

You mentioned:

2. Non Linear Systems.  By coincidence I was stripping an old utility meter test bench (probably 20 years old +) and came across one of their Digital Panel meters. To my amazement they are still going AND the DPM I got is still produced AND they sent me a manual for it. How good is that?  Great company.

3. Continental Specialities Corporation.  I too have some of their breadboards.  They seem defunct, though there is a Global Specialities which also does breadboards....maybe a successor?  It does not have anything in the company profile...

9. There was an English 'scope manufacturer called Telequipment.  We still have one of their scopes knocking around in our workshop.  Never been used in the 12 years I've been there, though I've had my eye on it (it's better than what I have at home :-)  - I suppose that should be  :-((  Can't find what happened to them (not quickly anyway).

10. Whatever happened to Marconi Instruments?  When I started as a radio tech I had a Marconi TF995 Generator on my bench.  Wikipedia says "Marconi Instruments was sold to IFR Systems Inc. in 1998, itself acquired by Aeroflex in 2002."  So there you go.

TonyTib
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The Borg, NI, and such
TonyTib   8/29/2014 12:21:45 PM
Doing this all from memory, so it's perfectly accurate....

Let's start with NI:

a. IOTech - acquired by NI, products still sold by NI (on the MCC website, maybe elsewhere).  A midwestern US company that made higher end data acqusition systems (many Ethernet based), although the one I have is from ~15 years ago, is parallel port IIRC, 12-bit, lots of channels, and 1M samples/sec.

b, c, d. Hyperception, Lotus Measure, Signalion - ?

e. Electronics Workbench - acquired by NI, made PCB EDA design and simulation software.  Still available from NI, Mouser & NI will be coming out with a free version.

f. Measurement Computing - acquired by NI, still available (appears to be run as separate division).  Besides their own stuff, MCC started making NI compatible DAQ boards, a sort-of LabView clone (which IIRC was the cause of a law suit); they also produce OEM products (at least, some of Omega's USB DAQ stuff looks EXACTLY like MCC's).  I've used their stuff occasionally over the last 18 years.

g. Metrabyte - I believe acquired by NI.

Two final NI notes:

1. I still remember a French researcher I met who used LabView.  His quote: "NI is very good at maxizing their revenue".

2. I have to give NI credit for keeping most of the products they acquired, unlike say Cognex (bought DVT and dumped the products, although to be fair you can still download the drivers, manuals, etc).


Now, on to THE BORG! (aka Danaher)

Danaher has been very active in the automation space.  Companies acquired include BSA (ball screws and actuators), MEI, Kollmorgen, IDC, and many others I've forgotten.  I'm not a big Danaher fan, and IMHO their track record is mixed: Kollmorgen is pretty sold (pretty lean company, with competitively priced motors and great lead times), but MEI has gone nowhere (they were once very popular), and they basically bought IDC for a couple products and dumped the rest.  Other mini-borgs in automation include Ametek (bought MCG and Pittmann, and totally screwed up the MCG acquisition), Rockwell, and Parker.

On the T&M side, yes, Fluke bought Philip's test equipment; the Fluke Scopemeters have a Philips heritage (my Fluke 196 Scopemeter is even made in Holland).

mhrackin
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Re: Bad Memory
mhrackin   8/29/2014 11:35:53 AM
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Wavetek also made "real" RF generators (AM/FM) along with their better-known function gens.  BTW, I suspect we will see TONS of stuff from all these companies next year at the Hamvention boneyard!  We'll have to take notes and update this blog afterwards.  It seems most of these comapnies have been thriough multiple acquisitions, spin-offs, and mergers resulting in the T&M conglomerates like Danaher.

antedeluvian
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Re: Bad Memory
antedeluvian   8/29/2014 10:52:28 AM
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Mark

Boonton Electronics springs to mind;

Boonton came to my mind as well, but is seems they are still in business as part of Wireless Telecom Group

(Wavetek had a full line of RF generators),

As part of my benchtop of instruments from companies that no longer exist, I also have a 50MHz Wavetek Function Generator

 

mhrackin
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Re: Bad Memory
mhrackin   8/29/2014 10:44:24 AM
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I didn't even try!  I didn't recognize most of the "aquired" company names.  There's a whole treasure trove of RF test gear folks that weren't mentioned (Wavetek had a full line of RF generators),  Boonton Electronics springs to mind; way back in the Stone Age when I worked for Motorola Comm Division, Motorola had Boonton make a private-label specialized VHF/UHF RF generator (that the Big M sold to authrized servoce centers, etc.).  I think they were later acquired by either HP or Marconi.  Another great company not mentioned was General Radio!  Thye made everything from measurement bridges to RF generators, calibration standards, etc. They are now part of IET (whatever that is...).

I have a "Tektronix" labeled Telequipment scope that I got around 1990; the company I worked for at the time was acquired, and our (manual) assembly operations were shut down.  I bough several work benches and the 'scope for $50.  All still inhabit my basement workshop to this day.  I did have the scope overhauled and calibrated in late '90s (for $150 including 2-way shipping).  I recently bought some scope probes from MCM Electronics (another division of the same company that owns Newark/Element14).  They are quite nice, especially for the price!

Re Popular Electronics: I started reading it in 1954 (I think they had just started up) and subscribed until their demise.  I had them all until some years back when I ran out of bookshelf space for PE and QST (I'm a Life Member of ARRL).  I still have all of the QSTs, and was overjoyed when ARRL went digital at the same time I squeezed in the last print issue!

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