Nixie tube


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Nixie tube

(Numeric Indicator eXperimental-1) The first electronic digital readout. Developed by Burroughs in the 1950s, a Nixie tube is a vacuum tube filled with neon that contains 10 wires formed in the shape of the digits 0 through 9. The wires are attached to cathodes on one end and a wire mesh anode on the other. When voltage in the range of 170 to 250 volts is applied to the wire, it glows. Nixie tubes gave way to LED displays in the 1970s. See LED.


Nixie Tubes
Today, using old tubes and modern chips, some people build their own Nixie tube clocks such as this one. (Image courtesy of Mike's Electric Stuff, www.electricstuff.co.uk)
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"One day I Googled number tube and it came up with Nixie tube. I found a kit to make a Nixie tube clock and decided to have a go," says Paul, who lives in Cannock.
Before the days of LCD and LEDs which are now all around us, the Nixie tube, developed in 1952, was creating a fuss in the world of electronic display.
Operator consoles were typically equipped with nixie tube readouts that displayed programmed distance and distance-to-go data for each machine axis.