Founded in 1948 by Stanford graduates Russell and Sigurd Varian, Edward Ginzton, and William Hansen, Varian Associates was among the first high-tech firms to locate in the Valley. The Varian brothers had close ties to Stanford University, and became the first tenants in the Stanford Industrial Park in 1953.
The Varian bothers originally founded their company in San Carlos, but remained close with the Stanford Microwave Lab and the university's Physics and Engineering Departments. When the company out-grew its facilities in San Carlos, they relocated to the Stanford Industrial Park.
Varian Associates pursued instrumental radar technology and defense research; one of their early defense contracts was developing a fuse for the atomic bomb. Their early contracts included the production of traveling wave tubes and klystrons. The company achieved early success with the production of the world's first high-power klystron in 1951, used in commercial UHF television transmitters. In 1952, the first high-resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer was introduced that opened up new fields in chemical analysis.