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TekTalk: What’s in the Name?

Names are important, ask any parents-to-be after they’ve scoured piles of baby books and online blogs for the perfect name. Names reflect our history and past values as well as our future visions. However, when it came to finding a name for the new Tektronix community forum, which launched in October 2022, we were in luck that 1950s Tektronix answered this question. The vision for the forum, of providing space for engineers to address and solve problems together, is something that has long been valued at Tektronix. Turns out Tek’s very first employee newsletter faced the same naming challenge and turned to its community of employees to create the solution.

The Original TekTalk – Employee Driven

In May 1951, Tektronix launched an internal newsletter without a name. This newsletter was used to print information that was in mutual interest to everyone in the company. All Tektronix employees were invited to contribute as a way to connect and inform all internal personnel, and this is how the paper received its name. Employees across Tektronix submitted their ideas for the newsletter’s name, although there were many to consider, the top five were announced in the 3rd paper. The five employee-created names were “TekTalk, The Scope, Tektronical, Chassis Chatter, and the Scope Scoop”, from which TekTalk was chosen. Tektronix wanted the name to reflect the origins and purpose of the newsletter through communicating technology with Tek, so TekTalk was the perfect candidate. From there, the newsletter became frequent and was released monthly. The monthly topics consisted of everything Tektronix from social parties and company highlights to a section resembling a 1950s Craiglist. As one might assume, the material and topics back then, were very different than from what would be discussed in the New TekTalk Forum today.

In the second newsletter, released in December of 1951, the highlighted topics were the annual Christmas party, company charity donations, the Tektronix bowling league, and a Tek-themed holiday poem. The poem and other quirky creatives were included regularly in the newsletter, highlighting Employees’ creative talents. For example, the second newsletter’s poem read “Merry Christmas, Tektronix, good health and good cheer, let’s work so our bonus will be higher next year”. Other creatives included cartoons, guessing games, trivia, etc. Here are more creative examples from the Vintage TekTalks:

Tektronix comic
Tektronix comic

As years went on, the newsletter began to change, leaving out the social news, releasing once a quarter instead of every month, and even shifting the paper layout. From its inception, TekTalk produced 20 years of newsletters until the last recorded edition in the winter of 1970. Although TekTalk - the internal newsletter - ended, Tektronix’s new 2022 launch of a community-driven forum brings a resurgence to the TekTalk name.

Here is a Look at the TekTalk Newsletter Over the Years:

Tektronix newsletter from May of 1951 Volume 1 Number 1
Tektronix newsletter July of 1954

Volume 3 Number 1

Tektronix newsletter May of 1957

 May 1957

Tektronix magazine winter of 1970 Winter 1970

If you want to explore more of the vintage TekTalk Newsletters, check out the Tektronix collection at VintageTek.org.

The New Tek Talk – Community Driven

In October 2022, Tektronix launched a new online community forum that provides a space for engineers to address problems and solve them together. Since the values and visions closely align with those of the original TekTalk, we decided to continue the legacy and name this new forum TekTalk. Although this is not the same internal newsletter, this forum still brings the same Tektronix values of connecting and communicating important technical information with engineers around the world to advance innovation. TekTalk joins together a community of like-minded people with passions for challenges, learning, and helping others move forward. The forum covers all technical Tektronix-related subjects from discussing “Switching and Data Acquisitions Systems” to troubleshooting vintage designs. Tektronix has consistently been there for the engineer, the techie (or “Tekkie”), so maintaining the TekTalk name legacy compliments Tek’s values of fostering long-lasting relationships. Join the Tektronix community in questioning, commenting, answering, and engaging with the New Tektronix Community Forum