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April 1959 Popular Electronics[Table of Contents]
People old and young enjoy waxing nostalgic about and learning some of the history of early electronics. Popular Electronics was published from October 1954 through April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged. See all articles from Popular Electronics.
Usually when you think about vacuum tubes, you envision the short type that plugged into your parent's TV set or radio. While they were sophisticated in their own way and also required careful assembly with a lot of manual operations, these high power tubes were in a class of their own. Even the one in this article from the April 1959 Popular Electronics is not as complicated as some of the ones designed and built for high power radar systems.
As always, it is interesting to note the lack of eye protection during assembly operations, especially given that the glass could easily shatter at any point. I'm guessing that the guy in Figure 1, doing the glass shaping operation over a hot flame, only has on glasses because he happens to need them to see (i.e., they're prescription).
Popular Electronics visits a tube manufacturer while...
Photos by Joe Petroveo
The manufacture of a high-power transmitting tube involves more than just assembling a number of metal and glass parts. In order to meet the demands of industry, the manufacturer must pay ever-increasing attention to reliability and long life. The manufacturing processes which most affect tube life are those relating to the precision with which the electrodes are manufactured and assembled, the extent to which all impurities and foreign particles have been eliminated, and the degree of vacuum obtained inside the tube.
Recently POPULAR ELECTRONICS visited the Amperex Electronics Corporation plant in Hicksville, N. Y., to find out how a manufacturer of high-quality electron tubes handles the problem of building long life and reliability into a modern high-power, high-quality transmitting tube. A typical transmitting tube, the 5924A, was followed through the different stages of its manufacture, and photographs of each of the key steps were taken.
Posted October 7, 2011