General Radio
General Radio Company was a broad-line manufacturer of electronic test equipment
Electronic test equipment
Electronic test equipment is used to create signals and capture responses from electronic Devices Under Test . In this way, the proper operation of the DUT can be proven or faults in the device can be traced and repaired...

. Started in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

 in 1915, the company moved to West Concord
Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...

 in the 1950s. There, it became a major player in the automatic test equipment
Automatic test equipment
Automatic or Automated Test Equipment is any apparatus that performs tests on a device, known as the Device Under Test , using automation to quickly perform measurements and evaluate the test results...

 (ATE) business, manufacturing a line of testers for assembled printed circuit board
Printed circuit board
A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board or etched wiring...

s. It also produced extensive lines of electrical component measuring equipment, sound and vibration measurement and RLC
RLC circuit
An RLC circuit is an electrical circuit consisting of a resistor, an inductor, and a capacitor, connected in series or in parallel. The RLC part of the name is due to those letters being the usual electrical symbols for resistance, inductance and capacitance respectively...


Primarily because of its line of ATE equipment, the company was eventually acquired by Teradyne
Teradyne , a US company, is a supplier of automatic test equipment . The company's divisions Semiconductor Test and Systems Test Group, are organized by the products they develop and deliver.-History:...

 in 2001 and has now been relocated to Teradyne's corporate campus in North Reading
North Reading, Massachusetts
North Reading is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 14,892 at the 2010 census.-History:The area was first settled in 1651 when the town of Reading received a special land grant north of the Ipswich River...

, Massachusetts. In 1991, QuadTech, Inc. was founded as spinoff of GenRad's Instrumentation Division. Today, QuadTech is a leading provider of hipot testers, lcr meters, cable testers and testing automation software.

The classic instrument line including RLC standards and decades, Digibridges, megohmmeters
An ohmmeter is an electrical instrument that measures electrical resistance, the opposition to an electric current. Micro-ohmmeters make low resistance measurements. Megohmmeters measure large values of resistance...

, stroboscopes, and sound level meters was acquired by IET Labs and continues to be manufactured and supported in West Roxbury, MA.

Among General Radio's accomplishments over the years have been:
  • The introduction of one of the world's first portable oscilloscope
    An oscilloscope is a type of electronic test instrument that allows observation of constantly varying signal voltages, usually as a two-dimensional graph of one or more electrical potential differences using the vertical or 'Y' axis, plotted as a function of time,...

  • The production of many high-precision standards for resistance
    Electrical resistance
    The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

     and capacitance
    In electromagnetism and electronics, capacitance is the ability of a capacitor to store energy in an electric field. Capacitance is also a measure of the amount of electric potential energy stored for a given electric potential. A common form of energy storage device is a parallel-plate capacitor...

  • The commercial production of the stroboscope
    A stroboscope, also known as a strobe, is an instrument used to make a cyclically moving object appear to be slow-moving, or stationary. The principle is used for the study of rotating, reciprocating, oscillating or vibrating objects...

     as the Strobotac
  • The commercial production of the sound level meter
    Sound level meter
    Sound level meters measure sound pressure level and are commonly used in noise pollution studies for the quantification of almost any noise, but especially for industrial, environmental and aircraft noise. However, the reading given by a sound level meter does not correlate well to...

  • Commercial invention of the binding post
    Binding post
    A binding post is a connector commonly used on electronic test equipment to terminate a single wire or test lead. They are also found on loudspeakers and audio amplifiers as well as other electrical equipment....

  • Invention of the GR connector
    GR connector
    The GR connector, officially the General Radio Type 874, was a type of RF connector used for terminating coaxial cable. Designed by the General Radio Corporation, it was widely used on their electronic test equipment throughout the 60s and 70s....

  • The Variac variable autotransformer
    An autotransformer is an electrical transformer with only one winding. The auto prefix refers to the single coil acting on itself rather than any automatic mechanism. In an autotransformer portions of the same winding act as both the primary and secondary. The winding has at least three taps where...

External links

  • -- Teradyne, the current owner of the GenRad ATE business
  • -- IET Labs, the current owner of the traditional GenRad instrument business
  • -- QuadTech Instruments, spinoff of GenRad
  • -- General Radio Historical Society
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