The usefulness of an oscilloscope is not limited to the world of electronics. With the proper transducer, an oscilloscope can measure all kinds of phenomena.
Type 465 Tektronix oscilloscope. This was a popular analog oscilloscope, portable, and is a representative example. - XYZs of Oscilloscopes - Tektronix
Introduction to Oscilloscope - The single most important diagnostic tool used by experimental physicists is the oscilloscope. Certainly all scientists and engineers should be familiar with this common instrument, shown in the Fig. 1. An oscilloscope (scope for short) can be used to "see" an electrical signal by displaying a replica of a voltage signal as a function of time.
Oscilloscope - Wikipedia
Oscilloscopes are used to observe the change of an electrical signal over time, such that voltage and time describe a shape which is continuously graphed against a calibrated scale. The observed waveform can be analyzed for such properties as amplitude, frequency, rise time, time interval, distortion and others.
Tektronix Reference Materials
There are many older Tektronix instruments that, with a little care and restoration, are just as useful as the latest and greatest. Knowing what you have or need, and how to use it, are often more important than having the "very latest".
Oscilloscope at Willamson Labs
As important as knowing what is going on inside, is knowing how to make effective measurements using an integral part of the oscilloscope: the Scope Probes. The probe and how it is used, can make or break the usefulness of the oscilloscope.
Basic Function of an Oscilloscope
Interactive Demo - The oscilloscope is an electronic instrument widely used in making electrical measurements. The main component of the oscilloscope is the cathode ray tube (CRT). The CRT is a vacuum tube in which electrons are accelerated and deflected under the influence of electric field.