Company History Timeline - 1930s
Following graduation from Stanford University in 1934, electrical
engineers Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett went on a two-week camping
and fishing trip in the Colorado mountains. On this trip, they discovered
strong similarities in their attitudes toward many things and became
close friends. After graduation, Bill continued graduate studies
at Stanford and MIT while Dave took a job with General Electric
in New York state. Within a few years, and with the encouragement
of Stanford professor and mentor Fred Terman, the two decided to
start a business "and make a run for it."
Their first business location in the Santa Clara Valley is the
now iconic garage located at 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto. Here
they manufacture the company's first product, the 200A Audio Oscillator.
Disney Studios becomes interested in the 200A and orders eight to
be used in the production of their movie, Fantasia.
Learn more about the Keysight Historical Archives and its holdings.
- Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard and Noel "Ed" Porter begin
developing their plans for an electronic measurement company that
would later be Hewlett-Packard (HP), and that is today called
- Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard begin part-time work in the garage
with $538 in working capital.
- Bill Hewlett's study of negative feedback results in Hewlett-Packard's
first product-the resistance-capacity audio oscillator (HP200A),
an electronic instrument used to test sound equipment. The oscillator
uses an incandescent bulb as part of its wiring scheme to provide
variable resistance, a breakthrough in stability in oscillator design.
The principle of feedback provides the foundation for other early
HP products such as a harmonic wave analyzer and several distortion
- Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard form partnership Jan. 1, 1939; coin
toss decides company name.
- Walt Disney Studios orders eight audio oscillators to test
sound equipment in creating the groundbreaking sound system for
the movie "Fantasia."
Company History Timeline - 1940s
Test and measurement products win widespread acceptance among engineers
and scientists. The start of World War II turns a trickle of U.S.
government orders for electronic instruments into a stream and then
a flood. New products are added and HP builds its first corporate
headquarters, manufacturing plants and research-and-development
facilities. This increased production requires them to leave the
garage for larger facilities. By 1942 their operations move to the
first company-owned building located at 395 Page Mill Road. This
building, with its distinctive redwood siding, becomes known as
the Redwood Building.
- Production moves from garage to rented building at Page
Mill Road and El Camino Real in Palo Alto.
- The company gives its first bonus to employees, a $5 Christmas
bonus. This later becomes a production bonus and-later still-company-wide
- Wright Field, now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,
issues the first government contract with HP for six model 205 signal
- Construction of first company-owned building, a 10,000-square
foot office/laboratory/factory (Redwood Building) at 395 Page Mill
Road, Palo Alto, Calif. Bill and Dave designed it as an open system-without
interior walls-so the space could be flexible.
- Dave Packard designs a voltmeter that gives unprecedented
reliability at a lower price than the competition.
- Company enters the microwave field with the Model A signal
generator developed for the Naval Research Laboratory and a radar-jamming
device. A complete line of microwave test products follows World
War II, and the company becomes the acknowledged leader in signal
- The HP 610A UHF signal generator is introduced. Its design
is based on the work done for the Model A Signal Generator and it
becomes the company's first commercially available microwave product.
Company History Timeline - 1950s
Bill and Dave, with the help of their management team, develop
the company's corporate objectives-the basis of its special management
philosophy-and the company embarks upon a path toward globalization
by establishing a facility in Boeblingen Germany.
- Major advances in microwave instrumentation lead to more
comprehensive test results and higher accuracy.
- Introduction of the high-speed frequency counter (HP 524A)
reduces the time required (from about 10 minutes to one or two seconds)
to measure high frequencies. One application: radio stations use
the HP 524A to accurately set frequencies (e.g. 104.7 FM) to comply
with FCC regulations for frequency stability.
- First public stock offering: Nov. 6, 1957.
- Corporate objectives are written to serve as basis for the
HP Way, a management style that Keysight builds upon with its
focus on customer insight, high-performance, and value creation.
- Following the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, the
company establishes its presence outside of California with European
Marketing Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and first manufacturing
plant outside of U.S. in Boeblingen, West Germany. With nine employees
their first products are 200CD's, 400D's, 430C's and 410B's.
Company History Timeline - 1960s
The test and measurement field continues its steady growth. The
company branches out into related fields such as medical electronics
and analytical instrumentation ending the period of HP as a pure-play
electronic measurement company. It also begins to be noticed as
a progressive, well-managed company and a great place to work. This
decade also sees the introduction of several innovative products
including the Cesium Beam "Atomic" Clock and the first
product to provide the company with over 1 million dollars per month,
the 8551 Spectrum Analyzer.
- New oscilloscope design in the 185A is the first to use
a new "sampling" technique to view the faster digital
waveforms used in computer technology.
- Company establishes first U.S. manufacturing plant outside
of Palo Alto in Loveland, Colorado.
- Lists on New York Stock Exchange.
- HP's first listing on Fortune magazine's list of the top
500 U.S. companies: No. 460.
- First joint venture is formed (with Yokogawa Electric Works):
Yokogawa Hewlett-Packard in Tokyo, Japan.
" First synthesizer to generate electrical signal at a precise
frequency desired becomes a major contribution to automated testing.
- Company celebrates 25th anniversary.
- Dave Packard elected chairman; Bill Hewlett elected president.
- Highly accurate HP 5060A cesium-beam time standard is introduced.
- The 8551A/851A Microwave spectrum analyzer is the first to
make direct reading, calibrated analysis of individual signals within
a frequency band.
- HP Laboratories is formed. As the company's central research
facility it is one of the world's leading electronics industry research
centers. Today it is known as Keysight Laboratories.
- HP 2116A, the company's first computer, is designed as a
controller for test and measurement instruments.
- First all-solid-state component oscillator is introduced.
Its small size, light weight and large screen make it easy to use
in lab, field or production work.
- Boeblingen plant also pioneers the concept of flexible working
hours, an idea adopted at HP and Agilent manufacturing facilities
around the world.
- Company engineers fly to 18 countries, with the atomic clocks
they have developed, to synchronize international time standards.
Eventually, the cesium-beam standard becomes the standard for international
- Dave Packard appointed U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense
(serves from 1969-71).
Company History Timeline - 1970s
The company continues its tradition of innovation. As this decade-marked
by significant growth in earnings and employment-draws to a close,
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard delegate day-to-day operating management
of the company to John Young.
- Automatic microwave network analyzer is introduced-an indispensable
tool for the design and manufacture of microwave systems.
- Work with lasers produces a laser interferometer capable
of measuring to millionths of an inch. The laser interferometer,
known as "the jewel in Agilent's crown," is still the
tool of choice in microchip manufacturing. Similar technology produces
a laser instrument that becomes the first electronic surveying tool.
- Logic analyzer becomes the tool of choice for engineers in
the fast-growing field of digital electronics.
- The introduction of a standard digital interface system simplifies
instrument systems. The electronics industry adopts the HP IB (Interface
Bus) as an international standard. This allows up to14 instruments
per bus to connect easily to a computer. HP-IB and HP programming
language make off-the-shelf test systems possible.
- John Young is named president (appointed CEO in 1978).
- HP 8566/68A becomes the company's first 1Hz resolution spectrum
- First integrated microprocessor development system combines
all the tools needed by hardware and software engineers.
- HP 8566A microwave spectrum analyzer is introduced, which
enables identification of low-level signals outside the range of
earlier spectrum analyzers.
Company History Timeline - 1980s
In a decade of growing global presence and rapid economic change,
the massive impact of computer technology on all product lines results
not only in products with higher performance at lower cost, but
also in radical changes in processes and the organization as a whole.
- Signal Data Network is the first to relay data fast enough
to allow monitoring of many different hospital beds from one central
- The first computer controlled network analyzer is introduced,
the HP 8510A.
- World's first microprocessor-based network analyzer allows
users to make fast and convenient magnitude or phase-response measurements
in near real time across previously unheard-of frequency ranges.
- Company establishes first high-tech joint venture in China.
- The introduction of the HP 54100 makes it the first fully
digital scope from any major test and measurement company.
- Bill Hewlett retires as vice chairman of the board of directors.
- Walter Hewlett (son of Bill) and David Woodley Packard (son
of Dave) are elected to the HP board of directors.
- Digital multimeter makes high-frequency, high-accuracy, and
high-resolution voltage measurements with one instrument.
- Analyzer able to measure terahertz transmission bandwidths
is developed for use in optical telecommunications.
Company History Timeline - 1990s
The rate of change accelerates with Web-based information and applications
becoming pervasive, competition intensifying and time-to-market
cycles greatly reduced.
- HP creates new test and measurement organization and appoints
Ned Barnholt to lead it.
- Company enters the sample preparation field with its new
super-critical fluid extractor.
- Acquisition of Avantek broadens the offering of components
for the worldwide communications market.
- The introduction of the HP 54600/54601 changes the game for
everyday use of scopes by providing features of analog oscilloscopes
with the accuracy and power of digital architecture.
- New atomic clock is introduced. It becomes the world's most
precise commercially available timekeeping device.
- Test set generates and detects data streams of up to 2.5
billion data bits per second, allowing telecommunications manufacturers
to verify the performance of transmission equipment.
- Optical spectrum analyzer proves to be an important product
for use in the fast growing optical communications field.
- New modular oscilloscope is introduced, to be used in the
design of high-speed digital electronics products.
- Lewis E. Platt is named president and CEO.
- AcceSS7 network monitoring system allows telecommunications
customers to monitor all the elements on SS7 networks from a central
location, increasing the efficiency of communications networks.
- Company enters the digital integrated-circuit product-test
market with the HP 83000 system.
- Joint venture is established in China with Shanghai Analytical
- The Broadband Series Test System emerges as an industry standard.
First to test ATM and broadband ISDN networks-and first to integrate
testing of all layers of this complex technology-the system helps
the industry prove that these new technologies can form the basis
of an information highway for transporting voice, data, image and
video over the same network.
- Decades of experience in quartz technology and cesium time
standards result in timing synchronization products that enable
networks to function with higher levels of accuracy and reliability
needed to deliver new digital services for voice, data and video
- The industry's first low-cost, high-speed small infrared
transceiver allows wireless "point and shoot" data exchange
in a wide range of portable computing applications such as phones,
computers, printers, cash registers, ATMs, digital cameras and more.
- The broadband service analyzer is a new portable tool for
installing broadband networks. It represents a breakthrough in ease
of use. The analyzer can set up complex tests to measure network
quality with the touch of a button, making complex ATM technology
- The first Mixed Signal Oscilloscope (MSO) is introduced.
- Co-founder David Packard dies on March 26.
- Introduction of the 1100 Series liquid chromatograph mass
selective detector. The HP 1100 is designed to help chemists support
faster product-development cycles (such as those for new pharmaceuticals)
and improve the quality of analytical results.
- Creation of a network-timing synchronization for wired and
wireless high-speed, digital networks eliminates many problems in
transmitting data or images over telephone lines, such as dropped
fax lines and modem disconnects, or in handing-off cellular calls
from one base station to another, which can also result in dropped
- First Infiniium oscilloscope is introduced.
- The innovative HP 3070 Series 3 board-test system allows
manufacturers to test printed circuit boards faster and more effectively
- The HP 95000 HSM high-speed memory test system can be used
for high-volume production testing of RDRAM chips. These chips operate
at 800 MHz and offer memory-chip manufacturers the smallest footprint,
lowest cost of test, and lowest-risk solution available.
- The HP E6432A is a new VXI microwave synthesizer suited for
a variety of automated-test applications, including field tests,
avionics, communications systems and other manufacturing-test applications.
- The TestBook Wireless is an integrated diagnostic solution
that offers technicians centralized access to diagnostic and customer-service
information in the service bay or field, thereby increasing technicians'
productivity and reducing repair costs for customers.
- HP announces strategic realignment to create an independent
measurement company composed of test and measurement components,
chemical analysis and medical businesses, and a computing and imaging
company that includes all of HP's computing, printing and imaging
- Agilent Technologies, the name of the new measurement company,
is announced at historic brand-identity launch event in San Jose,
Calif., announced by Agilent President and Chief Executive Officer
- Initial public stock offering on Nov. 18, 1999, raises $2.1
billion and breaks records as the largest IPO in Silicon Valley
Company History Timeline - 2000s
Following its successful IPO in 1999, Agilent Technologies becomes
a fully independent measurement company focusing on high-growth
markets in communications, electronics and life sciences. Recognized
as an industry leader, Agilent is first worldwide in the test and
- On June 2, 2000, Agilent Technologies becomes a fully independent
company, following HP's distribution of its Agilent shares to HP
- The introduction of the company's Photonic Switching Platform
accelerates the development of all-optical networks.
- First all-digital IF-PSA spectrum analyzer is introduced.
- Co-founder William R. Hewlett dies on January 12.
- Acquisition of Objective System Integrators Inc. (OSI) enables
the company to provide a complete solution to service providers
who offer 3G wireless, optical, broadband Internet Protocol and
voice over packet networks and services.
- The new company's first listing on Fortune magazine's list
of the top 500 U.S. companies: No. 212.
- President and CEO Ned Barnholt named Chairman of the Board.
- First MW Vector signal generator - PSG is introduced.
- The company's Visual Engineering Environment (VEE) Pro system-development
software provides the interface to test communication equipment
in the Mars Exploration Rovers.
- William P. (Bill) Sullivan is named Agilent President and
CEO succeeding Edward W. (Ned) Barnholt.
- The company forms a joint venture, Chengdu Instruments Division,
to develop and manufacture test equipment for China and global market.
- The company establishes Agilent Technologies China Holding
Company Ltd., based in Shanghai, to consolidate its entities in
- Yokogawa Analytical Systems becomes a wholly owned subsidiary.
- The company introduces the E4898A Bit Error Ratio Tester
(BERT) that is the industry's first to operate at speeds of up to
- The company introduces the MXA signal analysis platform.
- All of the company's locations in the San Francisco Bay Area
are consolidated into a single 55-acre campus in Santa Clara. Originally
a manufacturing site built by HP in 1968, it is now the centralized
location of many functions including the company's Corporate Headquarters
formerly located in Palo Alto.
- The E6651A is introduced and becomes the world's first integrated
Mobile WiMAX test set enabling designers and manufacturers of Mobile
WiMAX subscriber products to rapidly move from development to volume
production -- improving the integrity and quality of WiMAX devices
while reducing cost.
- Agilent and SunPower Corporation dedicate a 1-megawatt solar
tracking system at Agilent's Santa Rosa, Calif., campus. The largest
solar energy generator in Sonoma County, the system is expected
to displace more than 90 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the
next 30 years. This is equivalent to the emissions from approximately
- The company launches the PNA-X Measurement Receiver -- the
industry's fastest receiver for antenna test applications.
- The company introduces the industry's first microwave signal
generator that breaks the one-watt output power barrier, the PSG
E8257D. The ultrahigh output of this instrument eliminates the need
for supplementary hardware such as amplifiers, couplers and detectors.
- Also introduced this year is an inline error injection tool
(Jammer) for PCI Express(r) (PCIe) protocol testing. This breakthrough
concept for PCIe testing is the only tool of this type in the industry
and allows developers to shorten test cycles and improve time to
market of their device.
Company History Timeline - 2010s
As the company moves into this decade it undergoes a major transformation.
In 2013 Agilent Technologies announces that it will split into two
separate pure-play measurement companies. The name of the new electronic
measurement company is announced later in the year as Keysight Technologies.
During 2014 the separation process continues and on November 1 Keysight Technologies becomes a fully separate electronic
On November 3, 2014, Keysight lists on the New York Stock Exchange, under ticker symbol KEYS, completing the final phase of its separation from Agilent.
And the story continues