The company was founded in 1948 as Kay Electric Co. and was incorporated as a closely-held private corporation in 1970 under the name Kay Elemetrics Corp. The original partners, previously engineers at Bell Labs in Whippany, New Jersey, designed electronic measurement instruments used in industrial, university research, and military applications. Among these was the first commercially available sound spectrograph (1951), called the Sona-Graph, which served for years as a benchmark analysis tool of acoustic signals in the diverse fields of medicine, speech pathology, linguistics, bioacoustics, forensics, and military intelligence.