Bob Anderson’s invented the bistable Direct-View Storage Tube (DVST) in 1961 and the result was the Tek 564 storage oscilloscope. Computer researchers began using hacked 564 scopes and CRTs to make desperately needed interactive computer displays – even though it was only a five inch display.
In response to this free marketing research Norman Winningstad drove an internal development to create Tek’s first non-oscilloscope business unit to deliver a storage tube monitor as the first product, the 611.
The 611 11" XYZ DVST display was introduced in 1968 and provided large screen capability for applications where high resolution graphics were needed. It was a perfect fit for mainframe computers used these for graphic output. The museum has a 611 display on exhibit with the Tektronix Logo and Wizard Generator.
The common computer interface at the time was a teletype - basically a keyboard and a printer. Tektronix added logic to the 611 display to deliver the first low cost graphics terminal, the T4002, at a price of $8000. This terminal provided alphanumeric capability and high resolution graphics with a number of different computer interfaces. The protocol came to be known as "Tek Graphics" and was a 1K x 1K encoding into four ASCII characters.
Carl Machover, a pioneer of the computer graphics industry was quoted as saying: “Before the storage tube, computer graphics was a cure for no known disease – an expensive one at that. After the storage tube, computer graphics became the cure to all known disease….” (Peddie, Jon, The History of Visual Magic in Computers, Springer, 2013, p. 320)
The museum has a T4002 on display. This particular terminal is a prototype and is somewhat functional. The front keyboard bezel is hand-made in the model shop so we believe this is an original T4002 prototype that was reused for the T4002A development. The "A" revision replaced a number of diode memory boards used for the character matrix with a ROM. Our T4002 is missing the A version character generator boards, front display bezel, and rear cover.
This is one of the many T4002 diode ROM PCBs.
The T4002 was followed by the famous 4010 graphics terminal introduced in 1972 for a much lower price of $4250 configured with a TTY interface. The 4010 terminal provided 1024x768 resolution in a pedestal configuration. This 1971 brochure describes the 4010 features.
This 1981 photo shows Jeff Powell working on a laser wafer trimmer using a 4010 terminal.
The museum has a 4010-1 on display and there is also a video of the 4010 demonstration on our Video Gallery.
The 4010 was followed by a number of DVST graphic terminals:
4006 - low cost desktop version
4012 - lower case alpha and enhanced hard copy capability
4013 - APL character set
4014 - very popular 19" upgradable to 4096x3072 resolution
4015 - 19" with APL character set
4016 - 25" display
There is more information and brochures on our Information Display Division page including this great family photo which is high resolution in the PDF.
The 4014 was a crowning achievement, expanding on Bob Anderson’s invention of the simplified bistable DVST in 1961. As a nineteen - inch monitor with 1028 x 768 addressable pixels standard and an option to upgrade to 4096 x 3120, the 4014 offered unprecedented resolution and an optimal display size. The Tek-made 4014 CRT was fabricated using a standard television glass envelope and the same phosphor storage CRT screen process used in the 611.
The 4014 was introduced in the 1974 Tek Catalog in an understated fashion without any pictures of the product. An innovative glossy quad–fold product brochure with a tape measure and a full-size picture of the 4014 screen emphasized the viewable workspace. This brochure is also available on our Information Display Division page. Click on the image to view the PDF.
The initial catalog price was $8450 and the direct competition included IBM’s 2250 costing at least $80,000. The 4014 base price increased in all but three years of the 4014 product life from 1974 to 1984, presumably in response to market demand. A base 4014 had a catalog price of $15,750 at the end. These pages are from the 1978 catalog and datasheet. Click on the images to view the PDFs.
The museum has a 4014 on display and there is also a video of the 4014 demonstration on our Video Gallery.
Until low cost DRAM was available in the mid 1980’s a refreshed, raster-scanned CRT was prohibitively costly. When affordable solid state memory arrived Tek’s dominance with its proprietary storage tube technology was reduced, largely due to cost and the desire for color graphics. No company was ever able to come up with a full color storage CRT design, although there was much effort in this regard.
After the storage tube and before flat panels became available, the shadow mask CRT was used for computer graphics displays, basically a higher resolution version of a design built for television in volumes of hundreds of millions per year. But these CRTs were not produced at Tek.
The dominance of Tek graphics in general and the 4014 in particular was illustrated by the fact that for almost a decade after its introduction vendors offering newer design of graphic terminals and workstations were forced to offer 4014 and Tek Plot10 software compatibility in their systems.
The museum has the 25" 4016 on display.
The 4114 was part of the next generation 4100 series family introduced in 1985. This generation included an 8086 microprocessor for local intelligence and local zoom and pan (through redraw), and local mass storage were some of the new features. The museum has a 4114 option 30 (desk configuration, albeit without the desk) on display.
This January 16, 2015 photo shows the first "green on the screen" during our 4114 restoration.
Other 4100 series raster (e.g. non-DVST) terminals as well as the lower cost 4200 series terminals are shown on a scan of a tablet of paper on our Information Display Division page.