The making of a Vacuum Tube

With the death of Heathkit looming  in our minds it’s high time for a a heartwarming story. [Ronald Dekker] has done a wonderful job documenting the history of the E1T beam counting tube, detailing everything from the work led up to the invention of the tube to the lives of the inventors themselves.

For those who are unaware, the E1T is a rather strange vacuum tube capable counting from 0 to 9. While that’s nothing too special in itself, the tube also displays the numbers on a phosphor screen, much like a miniature cathode ray tube. In fact, this phosphor screen and the secondary emission caused by it is critical to the tubes operation. To put it bluntly, it’s a dekatron and a magic eye tube smashed together with the kind of love only a group of physicists could provide.

Now, who wants to have the honor of transposing Ronald’s story into a wikipedia article?

Comments

  1. Cpu86 says:

    I love the E1T, not only because of their beautiful green/blue glow and shape but also for the working principle. I was awed the first time i read about them. Too bad that the beam spreads too much when bending towards the high numbers, so when lighting 6-7-8-9 you can see the previous number glowing a little.

  2. MrX says:

    I think I like it more with the decatrons and nixies separated, as perfectly demonstrated by this clock:

  3. HAD says:

    You want to know how vacuum tubes are made?

    BAM!

    Work of art.

  4. jacgoudsmit35 says:

    A very interesting page, even though the mixed-in history of Philips, their research facility (NatLab) and Eindhoven (my home city) makes it somewhat long. I’ll have to bookmark it and read it later, but thanks for the link!

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