TESA History

TESA in the course of time or the history of a brand name that has built up its reputation upon excellence, innovation and know-how.

1941 - Beginning of operations

Starting of activities of what will later become TELEPHONIE SA, a subsidiary of AUTOFON AG specialised in the manufacture of dedicated components for telecommunication.

The old foundry at the root of TESA’s history.

In the same year, being in the search for diversification, TESA invented the MINMETAL® as its first micrometer This attractive mechanical tool was to prove to be a true commercial success while, for the first time, closely associating the newly created Swiss brand with the Science of Metrology.  

2 1941

MINMETAL® – The first micrometer developed by TESA.

1945 - Official name TESA SA

Growing away from its parent company, the brand gained full independence and officially changed its name to TESA SA. At one go, the enterprise avoided being moved out in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.


The years went on, looking alike since the new concern did not rest until it has expressed its creativity. This resulted in the invention of the IMICRO bore gauge with 3-line contact. Often copied but never equalled, this mythical handheld tool is still manufactured with as much as nearly hundred of varying models available now, which cover diameters ranging from 3,5 up to 300 mm. At that time, the mechanical engineers were, no doubt, something of a genius to conceive the idea of designing one such product whose principle is quite perfect!

TESA IMICRO –The tool that provides outstanding longevity.


TESA designs its TESAMASTER®. This micrometer made to measure internal dimensions features high precision mechanics combined with a built-in readout device that has remained the single one of its kind over the years. Further expanding and seeking new business opportunities, TESA found with BROWN & SHARPE, which was then a world leader for metrology products, the partner for the distribution of its products across the Atlantic. This partnership also contributed towards developing its sales in the USA.

TESAMASTER® equipped with a unique readout feature.


TESA was to seal its destiny to the American manufacturing company located in Providence (Rhode Island) for a long period of time. This connection was an important step in opening new ways for the Swiss enterprise aimed at growing up. The mutation was achieved as TESA moved from its modest workshop of the early days to a modern industrial building. This later location at Renens was built to satisfy the increasing demand for TESA’s products and still remains that of its Management as well as its various functions such as General Administration, Marketing, Computer Service, R+D along with its High-Tech manufacturing units.  

TESA enters the BROWN & SHARPE group, which was then a world leader for metrology products.

1970 - The first electronic instruments

With the computer age, TESA evolved in the field of high precision. This led it to the development of its first electronic probes. Today, some of them are capable to detect deviations as low as one-hundredth of µm.  

TESA’s probes can detect deviations of one-hundredth of micron.

8 1970



Once again, TESA broke new ground in the field of dimensional inspection through the creation of an effective engineering unit fully dedicated to the development of multigauging systems. From then on, TESA could approach the most various manufacturing industries such as automotive, aircraft and aerospace where its TESAMODUL® multigauging devices and systems were to be widely used with the most satisfactory results.  

1977 - DIGIT-CAL

The year of the worldwide launch of TESA DIGIT-CAL® with numerical display. This new electronic calliper was to disrupt the working habits while leaving TESA’s competitors far behind.

TESA  DIGIT-CAL® - The early calliper with numerical display.

1981 - The first TESA MICRO-HITE

The first microprocessor-based height gauge with fixed CONTROL panel.

TESA acquires the Swiss company Roch Rolle and so inherits of the Etalon brand.


13 1981

The company also opens its first subsidiary in the UK. 

1983 - TESA® CQC 200

TESA chooses the EMO, the machine tools exhibition in Paris, to introduce its CQC 200, the first industrial computer built for multigauging applications. This modular system was made to ensure quality control and statistical data processing within the production area.

The TESA CQC 200® first industrial computer for multigauging inspection.

1985 - TDC 2001 and creation of subidiary in Germany

Further development of a data centre, which was added to the family of multigauging systems with a wide variety of electronic devices included. The TDC 2001® was designed by TESA so as to provide Users with a centralized solution for quality inspection. This innovative high-performance achievement attracted a particular interest from the automotive industry and its sub-contractors.

TESA TDC 2001® data centre integrating many electronic devices – A revolutionary concept in that time.

Establishment of TESA Systemmesstechnik GmbH, the German subsidiary of TESA SA

15 1985

1989 - Laser interometer TESA

TESA METROLOGY LTD, Telford, UK, commercialises the world’s first automatic laser-based Gauge Block Interferometer which was developed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in London, UK. This system can measure to uncertainties as low as 20 nanometres. This successful collaboration with NPL continues and these Gauge Block interferometers are now used in many leading calibration laboratories around the world.

The first commercially available laser-based Gauge Block Interferometer developed by NPL and commercialised by TESA METROLOGY LTD.

In 1989, the company also announced the opening of its Japan-based subsidiary TESA KK, in Tokyo.

17 1989

1993 - Structural changes

This year was marked by the beginnings of the economic recession worldwide, announcing significant structural changes that were to come. TESA like many other concerns will not be exempted from the need for rationalization. Nevertheless, in the decade preceding the third millennium, the company could further expand its market presence through the acquisition of some of its competitors such as MERCER LTD., ROCH FRANCE along with its subsidiary MAUSER, and COMPAC GENEVE for the main ones.

In addition, major investments were made in the purchase of ultra-modern machinery and appliances as well as a powerful computer unit in order to accelerate the product design and development. Pursuing to strengthen its market coverage, TESA implemented TESA France SAS, in Luneville. This new affiliated company is now a distribution centre for its products in Europe.

19 1993

As time went on, modern manufacturing units replaced the workshop of the old time. Only the pioneering spirit of those early days wasn’t getting weaker.

1995 - Certification ISO 9001

TESA’s inspection laboratory is officially accredited by the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS) under the number 051. Shortly afterwards, the company was proud to have its Quality Assurance System be certified ISO 9001.


It was said that TESA has reinvented the micrometer. This is just about right. With the MICROMASTER® now available in almost eighty different models, the Swiss company could prove its ability to innovate. A new capacitive measuring system - the CAPAµSYSTEM® - has then been designed with a lot of money expended in setting up ultra-modern production cells as the General Management had concern for efficiency and rationalisation. This was the price TESA had to pay for consolidating its authentic Swiss manufacture while guaranteeing the SWISS MADE Label to its products.

The MICROMASTER® is available in nearly eighty versions. This electronic micrometer is fitted the CAPAµSYSTEM, which is protected by a wide number of international patents.

1997 - Etalon Derby

TESA first 3D measuring machine, equipped with a simple, efficient and rapid measuring system.


In that year, a large number of handheld tools like the famous IMICRO® were equipped with the CAPAµSYSTEM® in keeping with the modernity of their times.

The IMICRO® family of micrometers available today also includes a model fitted with the electronics of the latest generation.

1999 - A new laboratory

Noblesse oblige, TESA armed itself with a temperature controlled inspection laboratory in order to meet all the quality requirements the enterprise intended to achieve.

New air-conditioned inspection laboratory.

2000 - Cary

Acquisition of CARY, the well-known brand, which had gained recognition in the watchmaker industry for its plug and ring gauges.

2001 - HEXAGON

In this recent year, BROWN & SHARPE was taken over by HEXAGON AB, a world-leading group providing global engineering and metrology solutions to customers. Was this an upheaval ? No, because TESA could still enhance and expand its product offering as before. Besides the acquisition of CARY, the well-known brand, which has gained recognition in the watchmaker industry for its gauge blocks, TESA decided to set up a US-based subsidiary with TESA USA in North Kingstown.

Celebrating its sixty years of existence, TESA put the finishing to the design of its TESA-CAL® IP65. This electronic calliper was designed to offer a high degree of protection. To achieve this, the latest technologies were used. The measuring tool features the newly patented TESA’s magneto-resistive system based on a magnetic scale, i.e. the MAGNAµSYSTEM®.

27 2001

Both TESA-CAL® IP65 and IP67 electronic callipers feature the MAGNAµSYSTEM from TESA.

2002 - TESA MICRO-HITE® plus M

TESA exhibits the MICRO-HITE® plus M at the sixteenth CONTROL in Sinsheim. With this motorised version of its renowned microprocessor-based height gauges, the company came to the highest quality standard in terms of mechanics and electronics.

TESA MICRO-HITE® plus M – The latest evolution in the manufacture of height gauges.

TESA launched the first probe for CMM designed and manufactured by TESA in Switzerland wearing the famous « SWISS MADE » label: TESASTAR.

2002 Img29

The first probe for CMM


Pursuing its expansion, TESA opens TESA TECHNOLOGY ITALIA srl, in Cormano near Milan.

2002 Img30

2003 - JMTC and orientation towards non-contact measurement

Commercial business is dependent upon the ability to meet changing needs. So, having decided to turn towards non-contact measurement, the company proceeded to integrate a large part of the manufacturing activities of the CM Division, which was then headquartered in Telford/England. This operation was to be soon followed by the acquisition of SUD MESURES, a France-based company specialised in the design of vision systems.

TESA-SCAN® used for fast round part inspection as well as the complete range of TESA-SCOPE® and TESA-VISIO® profile projectors and video systems are currently mounted in fully integrated assembly cells in Renens. Bearing the SWISS MADE label, they were first introduced at the seventeenth CONTROL where they met expected success.

32 2003

TESA-SCAN®, TESA-SCOPE® and TESA-VISIO® illustrate TESA’s new focus on vision systems.

Acquisition of 30% of Jingjjang Measuring Tool Company (JMTC), Chinese manufacturer and supplier of calipers.

33 2003

Ownership will increase to 90% in 2007.

2004 - MICRO-HITE 3D

This is the year TESA’s engineers were fully devoted to three-dimensional measurement. This special focus resulted in the launch of the TESA MICRO-HITE 3D® in Switzerland at first, then throughout Europe and in the USA. Taking advantage from its privileged position within HEXAGON Metrology, TESA could make use from time-tested manufacturing techniques and have this product development completed in a very short time. To achieve this, the production line had to be thoroughly reviewed. Carrying the SWISS MADE Label, this manual CMM is different from those of competition in that it offers exceptional price/performance relationship.

TESA MICRO-HITE 3D® – The missing link that offers exceptional price/performance relationship.

35A 2004

The new MICRO-HITE 3D® assembly line has the ambition to become the most efficient manufacturing facility for small CMMs in the world, in terms of produced units.


So as to serve its European market even better, TESA also started three additional branch offices with TESA BENELUX in Belgium and the Netherlands, TESA DEUTSCHLAND in Germany and TESA TECHNOLOGY IBÉRICA in Spain. Furthermore, facing the economic trends, the company is just about to have its own office for direct sales and customer support in China.

35 2004

2005-2006 - TESASTAR-I and TESASTAR-m

TESA is still at the forefront and designs TESASTAR-i and TESASTAR-m. This motorised feature is much more than just a probe head for its level of sophistication and perfection. This year also, TESA expands its range of TESASTAR products by adding a probe rack for automatic probe exchange besides many other valuable accessories such as the extension rods, probe tips and styli, interface units compatible with the variety of metrology software versions applied. With the launch on the market of the motorised version of its small MH3D, TESA continues to extend its product offering for three-dimensional measurement, rapidly and significantly.

The new TESASTAR® touch trigger probes add to the existing range of TESA’s products for 3D measurement.

The new probes TESASTAR® complete the rang of 3D products.

2010 - Concept Reflex

By making measuring more user-friendly, the TESA-REFLEX concept makes complex applications look simple and minimises control time.

Measuring machines easy to use and accessible to everyone.

2011 - 70 years TESA and TESA Rugosurf 20

TESA celebrates its 70 years.

TESA shows at EMO 2011 their new TESA RUGOSURF 20 surface roughness tester, which extend their comprehensive range of gauges dedicated to surface finish inspection.

37B 2011

Compact, robust and easy to use, the roughness tester.


2012 - TESA announces new Wireless inductive probe and the TESA TWIN-CAL IP67

By offering a new line of inductive probes, TESA announces a breakthrough in the area of inductive probes.

This product was launched during the exposition CONTROL in Stuttgart.


The wireless probe finds its place in any measuring device where the cable of the standard probe usually requires maintenance and leads to breakdowns. Of robist design and with a long battery life, this probe has been engineered to operate in the most hostile of ambient conditions.

39 2012

Hexagon Metrology releases new TESA TWIN-CAL IP67 Digital Electronic Caliper features innovative ‘Plug-and Play’ connectivity.

40 2012



2013 - TESA MICRO-HITE 3D DUAL – 2 in 1 machine

Hexagon presents the new 3D-Measuring machine TESA Micro-Hite 3D DUAL. The user-friendly automation function, combined with TESA-REFLEX software, makes the measurement process easier, no more need to be a specialist.  

An innovation with two measuring modes, manual and automatic.


The Swiss company produces, markets and distributes worldwide more than 5000 measuring instruments and systems. Its affiliated companies are all committed to selling its products through demonstration centres as well as to providing technical assistance and after-sales services. Moreover, TESA relies on its distribution network with independent agents, distributors and resellers strengthening its market coverage worldwide. The spartan workshops of those early days have ceded their place to High-tech production cells. But the pioneering spirit that inspired the craftsmen of yore and that is transmitted to new generations remains unchangeable. TESA makes a point of honor to contribute in a meaningful way to the renown of the SWISS MADE label and this can, without a shadow of doubt, be considered one of its greatest sources of pride.

TESA in Renens.