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Does Anybody Still Make Vacuum Tubes?

Revolt Against Solid State T-Shirt from Tube Depot - RF CafeDoes anyone still manufacture new vacuum tubes? The simple answer is yes if you are referring to the kind used in household radio and television sets, but don't expect to find a full line of replacements. Also, don't expect them to be made anywhere other than places like China and Russia. China does it because mainly to service the rest of the world's demand for restoring and maintaining vintage equipment. Russia probably does it to supply its own military and civilian populace which largely still hasn't heard of transistorized electronics (just joking, kinda). Three of the most widely available newly produced vacuum tubes are made by JJ Electronics, Valve Art (O&J Enterprises), and Ruby Tubes (Shuguang Electron Group). They are all over Amazon.com and eBay at reasonable prices. If you are in the market for vacuum tubes and prefer to buy vintage stock, then websites like VacuumTubes.net and TubeDepot.com (they make the "Revolt" T-shirt pictured above) are good sources that test and/or guarantee their caches of New Old Stock**. Be prepared to pay a little more, though, than what you can get a lot of tubes for from swap meets or eBay. There are still plenty of specialty vacuum tubes being produced, like the example I recently saw on the back of Scientific American - which motivated this article. It is a photomultiplier tube made by Hamamatsu Photonics K.K.* High power amplifier and driver tubes for commercial broadcast stations are still produced, as are some cathode ray tubes.

Does Anybody Still Makes Vacuum Tubes? - RF Cafe  * When "K.K." follows the name of a Japanese company name it means
     "Kabushiki Kaisha" or 'Company Incorporated.'
** New Old Stock (NOS) is a component that is no longer manufactured
      but is unused and often still in its original packaging.


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Posted  December 2, 2013


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