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History of the manufacturer  

Boonton Radio Corp.; Boonton, NJ

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Name: Boonton Radio Corp.; Boonton, NJ    (USA)  
Abbreviation: boonton
Products: Model types Brand

Boonton Radio Corp.
PO Box 344, 390
Boonton, NJ (1934-1961)
Green Pond Road
Rockaway, NJ (1961-)

Manufacturers of test equipment and related products.

Purchased by Hewlett-Packard in 1959 as a wholly-owned subsidiary, and became a full division in 1962.

Note that the earlier (circa 1924) Boonton Radio Corp., mentioned in the closely related Boonton Ruber Mfg. Co., was established by different founders and manufactured a few known radio related products.

See Boonton Rubber Mfg. Co. for a expanded history of these three companies.

Founded: 1934
Closed: 1959

It was in the tiny molding department of the Loando Hard Rubber Co. (1891), renamed the Boonton Rubber Mfg Co. (1911), that Boonton's world-renowned electronic industries began. 

William D. Loughlin (1893-1950) held the office of president of Radio Frequency Laboratories (1922) from 1930-1934.  He left the company and established his own company, this second Boonton Radio Corp. (1934) which specialized in test equipment.

Sometime after they were purchased by Hewlett-Packard in 1959, they also started using the name Boonton Radio Corporation. as seen in their Precision Test Equipment 1963-64 Catalog.


-- Boonton New Jersey and its role in the Electronic Precision Instruments Industry, reprinted from The Citizen of Morris County Mid-Century Edition, 30 June 1950, thru the courtesy of Ballantine Laboratories.
-- The Notebook, BRC's 25th Anniversary, Fall 1959 Number 23, page 10.
-- The Notebook, BRC, Spring 1962 Number 31, page 7.
-- Precision Test Equipment 1963-64 Catalog, Boonton Radio Company.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  24 Portable (not possible!)   This "Portable" is from a listing at page 36 of the book "Radio Collector's guide 1921-193... 
USA  48 Sweep Signal Generator 240-A   Total Range: 4.5···120 MHz. Band Ranges: 4.5···9 MHz, 9···18 MHz, 18···35 MHz, 35···75 MHz... 
USA  62–65 Q Meter 190A 5718  RF range 20 to 260 MHz in 4 bands. Q measurements from 5 to 1200. Model 190AP operates on... 
USA  53 Q Meter 260-A 535-A  Boonton Q Meter 260-A uses for the voltmeter a unique calibrated tube, 535-A, especially m... 
USA  50 Crystal Monitored Signal Gen 211-A 6AS7G  Boonton Radio 211-A, Crystal Monitored Signal Generator; Two instruments.1) Power supply u... 
USA  54 Q Meter 190-A   Frequency coverage from 20 to 260 MHz in four bands. Q from 5 to 1200, differential Q from... 
USA  63 Signalgenerator 202H 6688  Signalgenerator für 54-108 und 108-216MHz, AM mit 0-50% Modulationsgrad, FM mit 0-250kHz H... 
USA  40 Q-Standard - Inductor 111A (111A27)   Boonton Radio Corp. Inductor 111A; Shielded coil with socket, suffix 27 (111A27) with 300... 
USA  54 RX Meter 250-A 5718  RF bridge; internal generator covering from 500KHz to 250MHz in six bands. Schering bridge... 
USA  58 FM-AM Signal Generator 202E   FM-AM signal generator covering 54 - 216 MHz in two ranges.External power supply 202EP. 
USA  55 AM-FM Signal Generator 202B 6AK5  Boonton AM-FM Signal Generator 202B; Coverage 54 - 216 MHz in two ranges, built-in modula... 
USA  35–41 Boonton Q-Meter 100-A 2A6  The Boonton Q-Meter Type 100-A covers 50 kc (kHz) to 50 mc (MHz). The direct reading calib... 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

Boonton:"The Notebook", Boonton journal from Winter 1955, Number 4, article Lawrence O Cook about Q meters.tbn_boonton_notebook_on_q_meters_winter_1955.jpg
Aus Hersteller-Unterlagetbn_boonton_logo.png

Forum contributions about this manufacturer/brand
Boonton Radio Corp.; Boonton, NJ
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1959: Boonton Radio Corp. Merged With Hewlett-Packard Co.
Pius Steiner

Boonton Radio Corp. Merged with Hewlett-Packard Co.

Boonton  Radio  Corporation recently became the newest member of the Hewlett-Packard Co. family of Palo Alto, California as a wholly-owned subsidiary and joined other companies operating under similar status including:  F.L. Mosely Co., Pasadena, California, makers of strip chart and X-Y recorders; Palo Alto Engineering Co. of Palo Alto, manufacturers of transformers, potentiometers, and other components; and Dymec, Inc. of Palo Alto, now a division of H-P, manufacturers of precision electronic measuring equipment and systems.

Announcing the arrangement  between the two companies, Dr. George A. Downsbrough, President of BRC, emphasized that BRC would continue to operate as a separate company with no changes in either management or personnel contemplated. He stated that plans for a new plant, which were underway prior to the merger, would be accelerated. These remarks were echoed by Messrs. Hewlett and Packard who visited BRC to personally welcome BRC into the H-P fold.

BRC is looking forward to expanding its line and development activities through the use of H-P development of components and close liaison with their development activities.

From a humble beginning in 1939, the Hewlett-Packard Co. has grown to be one of the largest manufacturers of electronic test equipment in  the world. The company produces more than 300 different  instrument  types, including oscillators, voltmeters, signal generators, waveform analyzers, microwave and waveguide test instruments, and oscilloscopes. These products are sold to more than 3000 business organizations throughout the world, with the government, through its various agencies, constituting one of the largest single users of H-P equipment.

In addition to its expansion in this country, Hewlett-Packard has established subsidiaries in Germany and Switzerland. The Stuttgart, Germany plant is due to begin production of H-P instruments for the Continental market early next year. This plant will be the manufacturing outlet of the company’s wholly-owned Swiss sales organization which was set up last January.

Boonton Radio Corporation is proud to be a member of the progressive Hewlett-Packard family and is looking forward to expanding with a fast growing industry.

"The NOTEBOOK" Fall 1959 No. 23, Boonton Radio Corporation Boonton, New Jersey

Pius Steiner

Looking Back 25 Years With BRC

Boonton Radio Corporation was established in 1934, but the scene was set before that time, just after the end of the First World War. Many of the concepts that  made wireless communication possible were discovered before the War, but it was during the War that new ideas were evolved and that considerable  practical experience was
gained in the use of  these new ideas. When the War was ended, the public was beginning to appreciate the usefulness of transmitting intelligence over distances without wire and was taking a keen interest in its development. Manufacturers, recognizing this intense interest, began devoting time and money to the development of improved radios and radio devices. They found it necessary to obtain component parts which were new to most of them, and for which they were sadly lacking in testing methods.

These were the conditions under which the Boonton Hard Rubber Company in Boonton, New Jersey established a group for dealing with the new problems. The staff of the newly formed group, including at first just one physicist, produced coil forms and other radio components using insulating material. Later, additional technical people were employed, and the work of general engineering consultation was undertaken. This type of work naturally led to an understanding of basic test equipment

Late in 1934, Mr. William D. Loughlin, who had been President of Radio Frequency Laboratories and who was one of the industry’s pioneers, together with several associates, purchased one of the buildings which had been used by the Boonton Hard Rubber Company for its radio activities, and formed the Boonton Radio Corporation. The new company concentrated its engineering skill  toward the development of new measuring equipment sorely needed by the radio industry at that time.
For example, there was at that time a specific need for a quick and accurate method for measuring Q. Q measurements were being made indirectly by means of bridges which measured the effective reactance and resistance concerned. These measurements were too often subject to error because of the involved techniques required, and were time consuming.

Larry Cook, with BRC since 1935, is sh own with a proproduction model of BRC's
first Q Meter and the current Type 260A Q Meter.

It was this Q measuring problem, in fact, which led to the development of the first Q Meter. Manufacturers were confronted with the costly annoyance of producing coils that would meet all of the requirements when tested at their own plant, only to be rejected because they did not pass inspection at their customers plant. A need for approved standards was evident and this was among the first assignments of the BRC engineers.

First Q Meter Introduced

In November of 1934, Boonton Radio Corporation presented at the Institute of Radio Engineers’ Fall meeting in Rochester, New York, a model of the Company’s first Q Meter. This instrument covered the frequency range of 50 kc to 50 mc and was known as the Type 100-A. With this instrument, Q measurements were made simple and rapid. It was also capable of many other valuable laboratory measurements on basic
components and circuits. The Q Meter was immediately accepted as a standard by the radio industry and research laboratories. Over the years improved models (the Types 160-A and 260-A) of Q Meters in this frequency range have been introduced.

In 1941, a high frequency model (30 to 200 mc) of the Q Meter, known as the Type 170-A ,was introduced. This instrument was followed by the  QX Checker (Type 110-A) , similar to the Q Meter but designed specifically for rapid production testing of components with laboratory accuracy. This instrument was very easy to operate and could be handled by unskilled  personnel.

Today, a faster, more versatile instrument, the Q Comparator Type 265-A has replaced the QX Checker and  the low frequency Q Meter (Type 260-A) and high frequency Q Meter (Type 190-A) are in very broad use.

FM and HF Test Equipment

Just before the Second World War, BRC began development work on a frequency-modulated signal generator to meet the demand for test equipment for the new fm communication equipment. A model of this generator was first presented in 1940 at the Institute of Radio Engineers’ meeting in Boston. Several models of these FM Signal Generators, developed by BRC, were used during the war by military and
commercial  customers.

During the Second World War, BRC provided large quantities of the standard commercial equipment, which had been previously designed for its commercial customers, to the Military Services for use in the War effort. In fulfilling  its patriotic duty, the Company prepared a microwave pulse modulated rf signalgenerator for manufacture. A large number of these instruments were produced for the Military Services for use in testing radar systems. This Signal Generator is still used by the

At the end of the War the FM Signal Generator was redesigned to permit coverage of a wider frequency range, to include AM as well as fm, and to obtain deviations in frequency which did not vary with carrier frequency. This instrument had very low leakage and a wide selection  of accurately calibrated output voltages. It soon became the standard in this field.

Aircraft Navigation Test Equipment

In the 1940’s, the aircraft transportation field was developing more accurate methods of navigation and better methods of landing in bad weather. A system for solving these problems was approved by the Civil Aeronautic Administration and put into use both commercially and by the military services.
During the development phases of this Aircraft Navigation and Landing System, BRC was asked to develop test equipment of unusual accuracy for testing several of the receivers involved. A signal generator for navigation equipment was produced in 1947, to be followed a short time later by an equipment for testing receivers used in landing aircraft. A more advanced  model of the “Glide Path” testing equipment for the
landing of aircraft was produced in 1952.

The Productive 1950’s

In the last decade, the Company’s efforts have been directed toward the development of other self-contained, broadband, flexible instruments. The RX Meter, introduced in 1953, measures parallel resistance and parallel reactance of two-terminal networks over the LF and VHF ranges. This instrument has contributed to the development of the diffusion-based transistor, which in turn is playing a large part in America’s missile and satellite program. More recently, the instrument has ventured from the world of  missiles and electronics to become one of the medical world’s latest weapons against disease. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine put the instrument work measuring the electrical properties of human and animal rissue.
In addition to the RX Meter, the 1950’s brought about the redesign of both the low-frequency and high-frequency Q Meters, increasing the use-fulness and accuracy of these instruments, and the development of a Film Gauge for measuring film thicknesses.

In the last 2 years, BRC has offered three new instruments to the electronic industry, all of which were announced at the 1959 IRE Show in New York. These instruments include a Q Comparator designed to give instantaneous and simultaneous readout of Q, inductance, and capacitance on a cathode-ray tube, for production testing of components; a Signal Generator Calibrator which provides accurately  calibrated RF output voltages for testing signal genrators and receivers and measures percent
AM; and a new Signal Generator which provides improved frequency stability over a wide range.

Expansion of Personnel and Facilities

As the BRC instrument line increased, naturally the plant had to be enlarged and the number of employees increased. The original RFL building as been lost in a series of major addions, the last of which was completed about eight years ago. The plant now has about 23,000 square feet of working area and houses all of the Company’s operations. Company personnel has grown from as few as six persons to a payroll
which now includes more than one hundred and fifty employees.

During the past year, the Company has taken two major steps which figure to play an important part in future expansion. The first was the purchase of 70-acre plant site on which a new plant will be erected in the very near future, and the second was joining forces with the Hewlett-Packard Company to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of that  firm.

Quality Key to Success

Over the years, BRC has built electronic tools which have come to be recognized throughout the world for their superior quality. We attribute this success to the fact that our instruments receive expert care from the drafting boards to the final test department, and to our policy of building only those instruments which have been
pioneered in our own laboratories.

"The NOTEBOOK" Fall 1959 No. 23, Boonton Radio Corporation Boonton, New Jersey


Boonton Radio Corp.; Boonton, NJ
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