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Tek Electron Microscope Donated to Museum — 11 Comments

  1. My father was the “Tom Holce” mentioned in the article above. I have in my garage a 1962 version Mikros Electron Microscope, original operating manual and wall mounted copies of the patents relating to that particular microscope(high voltage power source & vacuum lens). Are you interested in displaying it? Tom always said all he needed were a couple of tubes to get it up and running.

    Thanks,

    Tonya Holce-Owens

  2. The microscope donated by the family of Gertrude Rempfer actually has nothing to do with Tektronix. The microscope pictured here was a product developed by Elektros. Rempfer designed the electrostatic lenses and other elements the deflectors and other parts inside the column of the microscope. I was in chare of a small grop of engineers and technicians who designed the electronics, and the vacuum system was largely replicated from mearlier designs, but with more sophisticated controls done by my group. Tektronix may have funded Repfer’s research, but they had nothing to do with the development of the microscope that you received.

    • …we were told by Gertrude that although all of the microscopes in her basement were Elektros units, that the one she designated for vintageTEK was a unit built at Tektronix – before the project was shut down in 1968-1969 in favor of moving the resources to the 7000 Series.

      • Dr. Rempfer was correct. The initial instrument was built in the basement of (I believe) building 51 on the Tek complex. After it was completed and optional Tek decided not to produce it. I was involved in the design and construction the prototype of that prototype instrument. Some years later I was contacted by Herbert G. Cathery (“Bert”) and asked to join a new company called “Elektros”. I did so and we made numerous changes in the original prototype Tek instrument. I have numerous photographs of the original Tek instrument and the later Elektros instrument.

    • The microscope in the photo appears to have a Tek logo above the viewing window. It also very much matches, in design and appearance, the scope given to VintageTek and differs very significantly from the Elektros models my mother had. This tends to confirm what Gert told me: that the scope that was given to VintageTek after her death was a Tek prototype. I hope this helps. My mom would be so happy that the scope went to Ed Sinclair and the Tek museum. And Arnie, Elektros meant so much to her and she talked about you all very much and had such high regard for you all! I know she appreciated the friendship and the professional relationship she had with you, Arnie.

  3. I’m the Archivist and President-elect of the Microscopy Society of America (MSA). We have a keen interest in Gert Rempfer and the Elektros ETEM 101 and its predecessors. Erik Sanchez will place his ETEM 101 at the M7M2015 meeting this summer in Portland, and I am providing backgroun material for display.

    I’m also in contact with the National Museum (NMHM)of the History of Medicine, in Silver Spring, MD. They have an extensive collection of microscopes, including EMs, and I will meet with them on May 26 to discuss how their resrouces might be made available. They have much interesting documentation on early work at NRL by Gert, and also on comparison between the ETEM 101 and a Philips EM 300.

    John Panitz has an operating ETEM 101, and NMHM has agreed to accept it, but MSA wants to be sure that it will be displayed in some way, before John releases it.

    Meanwhile, if there are any other ETEM 101 microscopes (or their predecessors) around anyhwere, wheter functional or not, I would like to know their whereabouts. While MSA would surely like one to keep one in operating condition, these are significant instruments with a compelling story, and examples belong in major museums.

    Please contact me if you have any information or any willingness to donate one of Gert’s TEMs to MSA.

    Best wishes,

    Mike Marko

  4. I was involved in the Tektronix TEM from it’s inception. It was first engineered by a small group of dedicated Tek employees operating out of the basement of the engineering building (bldg 50) on the Tek campus. The engineer on that project was D. Artur Seibt, then a new engineer from W. Germany. He and I worked on the logic circuits, HV power supply, etc.

    After Tek decided not to pursue the instrument further it was all but forgotten until Bert Cathery was able to get financial backing from Jon Orloff. I was one of the group of Tek employees who had worked on the original Tek instrument and I helped form the nucleus of the new company to be called “Elektros”. Almost 100% of those first Elektros employees were Ex-Tek personnel. Arnie Frisch (from the spectrum analyzer section of Tek) joined the group some time after Elektros was formed. He made several changes in the instrument prior to it’s completion. Bottom line is that the instrument Elektros completed was based almost 100% on the original Tek TEM engineere by Dr. Seibt, Frank Chuchill and myself.

  5. I am Gert Rempfer’s daughter. Gert developed her “college shop” model of the electron microscope while working at the Farrand Optical Company in the 1940’s. I was two years old the first time I saw the microscope in her lab. As she moved to various universities through the years she set up her microscope for students to use in her labs. One such student was as I recall Tom Holce, who later modified and used Gert’s design for his business Mikros, while Gert went on to Tektronics and Portland State with her microscope. She then began producing microscopes based on her design at Elektros. These are my recollections of the development of the microscope which was fascinating to watch

  6. Nothing is mentioned in any of this of the other electron microscope that came after Gert Rempfer.

    Howard Vollum had a deep interest in electron microscopy In the early 70s a group headed by Harry Anderton and including Kevin Considine started a scanning electron microscope project using field emission cathodes as the electron source.

    I had the pleasure of working on this project and had the responsibility of developing the field emission cathode based on work done at Linfield College by Lynn Swanson and others using -oriented single crystal tungsten wire. When etched to a fine point, this cathode when heated, would reshape itself into a pyramidal point with a very narrow and intense beam. It was the heart of this instrument. George Hashizume and Mel Balsinger designed the electron gun which was built as a replaceable unit with its own titanium orbitron vacuum pump and vacuum puncturable hermetic seal. These were eventually produced on a production line in Building 48 using standard CRT technology as the basis. The delicate field emission cathodes were very vulnerable to arcing and other forms of self-destruction. Because of this, the self-contained and field-replaceable guns were conceived.

    The beauty of these SEMs was in their small desk size and the real-time video that allowed viewing objects in motion, the favorite being the movement of a small wind-up wrist-watch. Resolution was not great, but better designs were on the table when the project was cancelled in 1973 due to the economic recession at the time and the Tek Board’s decision to invest in the Wilsonville site.

    This left 3 semi-working models (A-phase instruments) with scads of parts which I collected as much as possible. One at least ended up at OIT in Hillsboro, although I doubt it ever functioned.
    Because I had the job of writing work orders for the electron guns for the Tube Lab in Building 50, I was able to keep this SEM functional for almost another 10 years in Bill Beran’s group in Tek Labs. A number of small improvements were made to it over the years while it played a role as a functional SEM for numerous problem-solving efforts from many departments at Tektronix and outside.
    This was the most fun and fascinating project in my career. It almost broke my heart when it was cancelled.

    • In latter 1973 I was hired by TEK to work on radiometers in the Analytical Instruments Group located in the basement of Bldg 48. At that time it seemed that something like 3/4 (or more) of the people in the group were working on the SEM project and, although my aging memory may well be playing tricks on me, I was under the impression that the project had at least begun B-phase or close to it when the project was cancelled. One thing I’m absolutely sure about is that the Analytical Instruments Group did not survive very long after the SEM cancellation. I know, because I had to find another job, which luckily I was able to do within TEK. I moved across the street to Bldg 50 when Gene Chao hired me to work on Surface Acoustic Wave filter development in the Instrument Research Group.

  7. I recently relocated to Hillsboro from upstate NY for work. I saw this museum mentioned in the local visitor guide and had to stop in. This place is an incredible collection of electronic history – I felt like I stepped into a time machine. A volunteer, Mr. Haas I believe, helped me make sense of the sea of instruments they have. I hope they find a great future home and I will be back again.

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