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
, Valve Art (O&J Enterprises), and Ruby Tubes
). 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
(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.
* 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.
December 2, 2013