The history of ESI did not happen in a vacuum. Just as American society emerged profoundly changed from World War II, so, too, did the young men that founded ESI in 1944. In the decades that followed, American society became more open, yet more specialized, wealthier yet more competitive. The history of ESI closely parallels these events.
Born out of the Second World War, modern electronics companies such as ESI mirrored the more open post-war American social structure. In the second half of the 20th century, the dizzying speed of technological change in America was facilitated by the electronics industry; and ESI was a critical part. Just as the changes in American society during those fifty years left their mark, at ESI the changes from measurement to lasers, and then onto memory repair and via drilling, and more recently onto wafer scribing and high-precision micromachining, did not always come easily. ESI has remade itself many times over.
The company was originally known as Brown Engineering, which then became Brown Electro-Measurement Company (BECO). In 1953, BECO became Electro-Measurements, Inc. On the eve of its transformation into ESI, Electro-Measurements was gutted by fire. From the ashes on Macadam Avenue in Portland, Oregon, a new company emerged and the one now known as Electro Scientific Industries (ESI). With teamwork and sacrifice, ESI maintained its leadership in precision test and calibration equipment, while exploring new opportunities in electron microscopy and analog computing.
By the end of the 1960s, a new technology beckoned: lasers. Once again, ESI remade itself, emerging by the early 1980s as a leader in laser trimming and memory repair. By the mid-1990s, ESI remade itself yet again. A new ESI emerged, reasserting its leadership in its core laser trimming and memory repair business, while moving into adjacent markets such as vision, packaging and drilling. Most recently, ESI established leading linkages to new technologies such as wafer scribing and high-precision micromachining.
Spanning two centuries, through ESI’s doors have emerged instruments and systems known the world over for their performance and precision. ESI’s tools set the standard. ESI’s laser systems out-performed all comers. ESI’s experts work at a submicron level hitherto undreamed-of. The commitment to precision and excellence has always begun at the top. And that same commitment continues to this day, woven inextricably into the fabric of ESI and glistening in its threads.