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Klystron - Sperry Gyroscope Company
April 1945 Radio-Craft

April 1945 Radio-Craft

April 1945 Radio Craft Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Craft, published 1929 - 1953. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.

Klystron is a household word these days - literally - since every microwave oven contains one. Do you know who registered the trade name originally? Per this advertisement from a 1945 edition of Radio-Craft magazine, Sperry Gyroscope Company did. It was actually scientists at Stanford University (Russell and Sigurd Varian) who developed the klystron tube, financed by Sperry as part of its blind aircraft landing system. In an act of magnanimity that would never be considered in today's competitive markets, Sperry issued the following statement: "From now on, the name Klystron belongs to the public, and may be used by anyone as the designation for velocity-modulated tubes of any manufacture." Right decent of them.

Sperry Gyroscope Company - the Klystron

Sperry Gyroscope Company Ad, April 1945, Radio Craft - RF Cafe

The Greeks gave us a word for it...

now we give it to you .. Klystron

When Sperry first developed its velocity-modulated, ultra-high-frequency tube, the word "Klystron" was registered as the name of the new device.

This name - from the Greek, as coined by scientists of Stanford University - is an apt description of the bunching of electrons between spaced grids within the tube.

"Klystron" is a good name. So good, that it has come into widespread use as the handy way to designate any tube of its general type, whether a Sperry product or not.

This is perfectly understandable. For the technical description of a Klystron-type tube is unwieldy, whether in written specifications, in conversation, or in instructing members of the Armed Forces in the operation of devices employing such tubes.

These conditions have prompted many requests from standardization agencies - including those of the Army and Navy - for unrestricted use of the name Klystron. In the public interest, Sperry has been glad to comply with these requests...

From now on, the name Klystron belongs to the public, and may be used by anyone as the designation for velocity-modulated tubes of any manufacture.

Sperry will, of course, continue to make the many types of Klystrons it now produces, and to develop new ones.

On request, information about Klystrons will be sent, subject to military restrictions.

Sperry Gyroscope Company, Inc. Great Neck, N. Y.

Division of the Sperry Corporation

Los Angeles    San Francisco     New Orleans

Honolulu         Cleveland            Seattle

Gyroscopes    Electronics    Radar    Automatic Computation    Servo-Mechanisms



Posted December 22, 2021
(updated from original post on 7/27/2014)

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Kirt Blattenberger,


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