What is a Classic?
  Here's how Stan describes a "Classic":
  Type 511 First, we need to realize that “classics” were all once brand new and, therfore, not classics. But just getting old does not make a piece of equipment a “classic” in my view. It also had to be something special during its prime. In my view, virtually all early Tektronix instruments were special. I know. I was there in 1960 and had a personal hand in building and testing them. I know the care and effort that went into their design and manufacture. Currently, I draw the line at those products introduced by Tektronix after 1969 . . . they are not classics . . . yet! Many of them will be, however. Some will never make “classic” status, in my view.
  Type 570 The magic about the end of 1969 as a “classic dividing line” is that the 7000 series and the TM500 series were introduced about then. This is the time when Tektronix-made ICs began to show up in abundance and microprocessors and firmware were being introduced into Tektronix instruments. Repairing or restoring instruments introduced after the end of 1969 is often a formidable task (maybe impossible) because the parts are sometimes unavailable from any source (other than a scrapped instrument). I expect the average Tek scope made in the 60s to outlive most of those made in the 70s or 80s if they are properly cared for.
Here's how Bill Den Beste describes a "Classic":
  Type 454 My career at Tektronix began at the close of the vacuum tube era. In the late 1960's and early 1970's the 453, 454, and 491 defined my horizons as the most wonderful instruments ever made. As my experience base broadened, I learned about many other incredibly innovative and fascinating Tek products that had come before.
I would differ a little from Stan by saying that some of the most important Tek instruments were "classics" on the day that they first shipped. I say this because I believe that a number of important concepts that influenced the entire test and measurement industry first saw the light of day in one of these "instant classic" Tek products. Here is my incomplete list:
  Type 6R1
  • The 531 (Plug-Ins)
  • The 535 (Dual Timebase, Delayed Sweep)
  • The 321 (Battery Powered)
  • The 502 (Dual Beam)
  • The 519 (Ultra High Bandwidth)
  • The 564 (Bistable Storage)
  • The T4002 (Computer Graphics)
  • The L20 (Spectrum Analysis via acquisition of Pentrix)
  • The S1 and S2 (Sampling Heads)
  • The 524D (Dedicated Television Waveform Measurement)
  • The 410 (Portable Medical Monitor)
  • The 453 and 454 (Portables with Benchtop Functionality)
  • The 570 and 575 (Dedicated Device Measurement)
  • The 567/6R1 (Automated Digital Measurement)
Not all of these instruments would remain classics when measured against real-world requirements. Some required A and even B versions, or even replacement by a different model before true success was attained in the target market segment. Even so, these initial attempts helped create and solidify Tek's leadership position in important areas of electronics test and measurement.