In the five years preceding 1956, Tektronix Inc.'s sales in Europe increased more than 10 times and caused management to focus attention on this market sector. This sales increase reflected the rapid recovery and growth rate of Europe and the United Kingdom following World War II. In view of this, and because of the policy to provide the best and fastest service possible to its customers, the decision was made in early 1958 to establish an overseas manufacturing and assembly operation.
There were other advantages to be gained by such a move. The proximity of a manufacturing facility to the Common Market and European Free Trade area, and producing the same scopes as Beaverton, would enable shipping instruments and parts to our customers faster, provide much needed customer training, and save customers time and money.
For the first operation of this type management wanted to ensure minimum communications problems. Since the four individuals who started the company were not bilingual, location in an English-speaking area would simplify their jobs considerably.
The only two English speaking areas are the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) and the Channel Islands. Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, had the best overall combination of benefits including sufficient numbers of potential employees, year-round air service, favorable corporate tax structure, and immediate availability of a building for the company to begin operations. This January 1959 issue of Tek Talk article describes the selection of Guernsey.
The cover of this March 1959 issue of Tek Talk is devoted to Guernsey. Click on the image to view the PDF.
The first Tektronix building was a former weaving mill located on Victoria Avenue and occupied from 1961 to 1963.
This highlighted building is the location of the the Tektronix Guernsey Ltd office.
Al Hannaman was the General Manager of the Guernsey facility and he is transporting Tektronix products on his Austin Healey luggage rack.
This photo shows key personnel for the Guernsey operations.
This September 11, 1964 Tekweek article provides more information about the Guernsey site and operations.
Tektronix engaged Wolff & Zimmer to design a building on La Valliaze Road closer to the airport. They moved operations from the Victoria Avenue building to the La Valliaze Road building in 1963. This building is currently occupied by Spacesavers and can be seen on Google maps at 49.438399, -2.596475.
Tek Guernsey had a Miss Tektronix competition for a number of years as described in this January 13, 1967 issue of TekWeek.
Howard Vollum visited the Guernsey facility and is shown here with multiple cameras.
The September 8, 1978 issue of TekWeek highlighted 10 year anniversaries at the La Villiaze plant.
This July 15, 1983 Tekweek article describes 2400 series manufacturing at Guernsey.
We also have this undated 35mm slide from a presentation showing the manufacturing area.
Tektronix held a 25th Anniversary celebration on April 4, 1984. Click the image to view the PDF.
The March 11, 1985 issue of TekWeek featured The Tek Guernsey relay lap swim team.
This March 7, 1986 Tekweek article features the returning of a cannon from the US back to Guernsey. Click on the image to view the PDF.
The Guernsey manufacturing plant closed in 1990 and all manufacturing was moved to the Heerenveen plant in Holland resulting in a layoff of around 220 employees.
This article in the January 3, 1990 Oregonian describes the shutdown.
There is a 1961 video "Tektronix on the Isle of Guernsey" on the Video Gallery page and a story by Dave Spink "Tek Guernsey" on the Employee's Stories page. Tektopics was a newsletter for the employees of Guernsey similar to Tekweek in Beaverton. We have an extensive but incomplete collection of issues located on the Tektopics page.