Innovation Gallery


his Q-Meter was produced by Boonton Radio Corporation, which HP acquired in 1959.

Boonton Q-Meter Type 160-A, 1946

Boonton, New Jersey-based Boonton Radio Corporation was founded in 1934 by W. D. Loughlin and several associates and was a manufacturer of electronic test instruments. The new firm concentrated its engineering skill on creating new measuring equipment for the still-young radio industry.

HP acquired Boonton in 1959 as a wholly-owned subsidiary. By then the firm had 150 employees and was a pioneer maker of precision instruments for measuring electrical circuit quality and checking aircraft guidance systems. In a year of phenomenal growth for HP (the company acquired three other firms in 1959), Boonton added to the HP family an old, well-established company with an excellent reputation in a field closely related to many HP products.

The Q-Meter was Boonton's oldest instrument - the first one having been introduced by the company in 1934. It measured the quality factor of coils and other components used in electronic devices and had broad applications in the testing of components and systems.

This particular Q-Meter was used for about 30 years by Rutgers University professor Henry Torrey in a variety of nuclear magnetic resonance studies.