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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Retro Sunday! The Nixie Tube

Off to assist teaching a concealed carry class tomorrow so Retro Sunday is here a bit early! 

Way back when before seven segment LED displays, Vacuum Florescent Displays, LCD's, etc. digital displays were a bit difficult electronically. Mechanical methods were available but were bulky and may not respond fast enough for the application. Enter the Nixie Tube, an offshoot of mature tube technology.

"The glass tube contains a wire-mesh anode and multiple cathodes. In most tubes, the cathodes are shaped like numerals. Applying power to one cathode surrounds it with an orange glow discharge. The tube is filled with a gas at low pressure, usually mostly neon and often a little mercury and/or argon, in a Penning mixture."

I actually had a test fixture at Western Electric that had them. In 1984! So I had to have a remnant of that era. Here is the Nixie tube clock:

Here it is running:

I do not run it often due to the limited life of the tubes, but sometimes I do enjoy the soft orange glow from another time!

I hope everyone has a great week!


  1. I've never seen a clock like this before!Nice! and good luck with your class tomorrow!

  2. You might like this vid (1 of 2) which astounded me...had no idea what it took...

  3. @LauraB,

    Wow! Man has some mad skills! Wonder how much he charges for a tube? I thought I was semi-skilled reloading,LOL!