Tektronix instruments from the beginning featured laced wiring which added to the visual aesthetics of the internal construction. There were several steps in the preparation and installation of the laced wiring. This photo shows the laced wiring cables in a Type 512 Oscilloscope.
"Cables" took precut length of wires from rows of tubes and wrapped themaround nails on a wiring board and then lacing with clear lace. These two photos show cable employees making up the laced wiring cables.
Pete Mackie remembers:
We had a cable maker in Plant #3 who was 100% blind who made cables by memory that were never incorrectly made. It was truly amazing to watch him work.
We have a wiring board on display at the museum.
"Wire Prep" was getting chassis and components ready for building by a unit wiring person. These “units” were then staged to “Final Assembly” to wire the units into an oscilloscope ready to turn on.
"Unit Wiring" is the beginning of wiring units like an upper or lower chassis for a 500 series oscilloscope. The chassis would have the empty ceramic strips inserted into to the chassis. A unit wiring person would lay the laced cables in and the solder cable ends and respective components into the ceramic steps. They followed a physical model chassis until they had the wiring and components together memorized.
With more modern products it was a matter of taking a chassis (unit) laying the cables in the then inserting the circuit boards and connect up the cables. These “units” were then staged to “Final Assembly” to wire the units into an oscilloscope ready to turn on.
This December 1952 TekTalk features the Cable Department.
This October 1957 TekTalk article features the Unit Wiring employees working in the window as a live display in the Olds and King department store in Portland as part of a fundraising effort to relocate OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) to Washington Park. The department store was founded in 1851 and assumed the name Olds and King in 1878. The building is currently known as the Galleria in Portland, OR, on Morrison between 9th and 10th Ave.
The 1958 Tektronix Photo Album is the first record of employees in Wire Prep and Unit Wiring.
Click on the images below to view the PDF for Cables & Wire Prep and Unit Wiring.
The film Ceramic Strip Soldering Techniques 1964 in our Video Gallery shows some of the Unit Wiring processes.