INDICATOR TUBES

INDICATOR TUBES

Although the term 'Nixie' is a trademark, it has come into the English language as a generic term for cold-cathode gas-discharge numerical and symbol indicator tubes. The name was coined as a vocalisation of the Burrough's experimental tube designation 'NIX1', which is in turn a contraction of "Numerical Indicator eXperimental type 1". Such tubes are no longer manufactured by the big electronics companies; but they were made in large quantities from the mid 1950s until the mid 1970s, and are consequentially not difficult to obtain. Storage life of the tubes is virtually unlimited (the author has 80 year old gas discharge tubes that still work perfectly), and they can be expected to last for 20 - 50 years in intermittent use, provided that they are not operated at excessive currents (the cathodes slowly evaporate and blacken the bulb), and provided that all cathodes are illuminated periodically to prevent cathode poisoning.


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