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Nixie Tubes
Long before LCDs, 7-segment LEDs 7-segment filament , 7-segment vacuum fluorescent digital readout displays; there were Nixie Tubes. First appeared in the 1950s and used well into the 1970's for digital readouts of frequency counters, professional radio receivers and lab instruments. More recently for high-end retro digital clocks.

Most of recent supply are ex-USSR military, but now in recent years a very serious enthusiast is making his own. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxL4ElboiuA
Clive
 
3 Replies
Simon Barker 22060613
616 Posts
Nixie tube clocks seem to be a thing for anybody who wants the retro look.  There are a few people selling them.
Andy Millar 33788107
1673 Posts
AncientMariner:
but now in recent years a very serious enthusiast is making his own. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxL4ElboiuA
 

Thanks Clive, that is a wonderful video, it kept me very entertained over lunch! We should mention that he is doing this as a business...even so, this is "proper" electronics :D

This all takes me back to just after the iron curtain opened up around 1990, I was working in the music industry at the time, and the rumour (probably true) was that many Eastern European valve manufacturing companies were delighted that they'd now have the opportunity to move to modern semiconductor manufacturer...and what actually happened was that lots of Western audio companies visited them and said "please don't stop, we're desperate for valves because we can't get them in the West any more!!!"

Andy Millar 33788107
1673 Posts
I remember in the late 1970s a school friend of mine picked up a working nixie tube calculator (something like the photo below) at a jumble sale for a few pence. He gutted it and used the case to build a Watford Electronics "Superboard" computer in. Sort of a shame because the original calculator would be a fun showpiece now!

Ah, the fun we used to have with high voltages before LEDs, like having to use magic eye indicators for simple level meters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_eye_tube

The Seductive Steampunk Look of Nixie Tube Displays! | Gadget ...

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