Innovation Gallery

HP 196B oscilloscope camera, 1962

Oscilloscope cameras produced permanent records of oscilloscope displays for use in engineering reports or in other situations where pictures of waveforms, or traces, were needed. These cameras could photograph single traces on the oscilloscope that were too short-lived for the eye to see.

The HP 196B included an ultraviolet light that caused the phosphor to gently glow, generating a gray background to the finished photo or "oscillogram." The gray background sharply contrasted the white trace, or waveform, with the black graticule lines (the measurement lines on the oscilloscope), making the oscillogram easier to interpret. This camera had a Polaroid Land Camera back that produced finished photos in 10 seconds. It was priced at $445.

Hewlett-Packard 196B oscilloscope camera.

The HP 196B had a Polaroid Land Camera back that produced finished photos in 10 seconds.