THE INTERNATIONALVACUUM TUBE MUSEUM

DEDICATED TO THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF VACUUM TUBES

Vacuum Tubes Are All Around Us!

Vacuum tubes are in your home, business, industry and pretty much everywhere! They are all around us all of the time, even if you're not aware of them. They are part of virtually every communication device on earth (and outside of earth, orbiting in space).

RADAR

AUDIO SYSTEMS

GUITAR AMPLIFIERS

CELLULAR TELEPHONES

SATELLITE & CABLE TV

MICROWAVE OVENS

RADIO

Even though many people associate tubes with older technology, they are a part of the present and will be an ubiquitous part of the future. Helping people understand the history of vacuum tubes and their role in technology and communication is the goal of the International Vacuum Tube Museum. In the future, vacuum tubes will be a part of:

BETTER INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULBS

VACUUM NANOTUBES

REPLACING SILICON TRANSISTORS

IMPROVED ATOMIC CLOCKS

IMPROVED SOLAR VACUUM TUBES

VACUUM TUBE TRAINS

  • 1640

    Otto von Guericke first produces an air pump that is able to create a partial vacuum. A vacuum was required for the operation of thermionic valves.

  • 1858

    Julius Plucker demonstrates that magnetic fields can bend rays of what are later called cathode rays.

  • 1860

    Joseph Swann patents the carbon filament lamp.

  • 1871

    Sir William Crookes deduces that cathode rays consist of negatively charged particles.

  • 1879

    Thomas Edison files a US patent for a high vacuum incandescent lamp using a carbon filament.

  • 1883

    Thomas Edison observes thermonic emission in a vacuum.

  • 1883

    Profession John Ambrose Fleming of University College London, presents a paper to the Physical Society on the “Molecular Shadow.”

  • 1885

    Sir William Preece replicates the Edison effect and makes measurements, presenting a paper to the Royal Society.

  • 1897

    Guglielmo Marconi sets up his Wireless telegraph and Signal Company to exploit radio or ‘wireless’ technology.

  • 1900

    Ambrose Fleming becomes a consultant to Marconi.

  • 1901

    Marconi makes the first transatlantic radio transmission, but difficulties were encountered with detecting he signals.

  • 1904

    Ambrose Fleming rectifies wireless signals using what he terms his oscillation valve – this is the first time the Edison effect has been used. It was a simple diode valve and sometimes referred to as a Fleming Diode.

  • 1904

    On 16 November 1904 Ambrose Fleming applies for a patent for his oscillation valve.

  • 1906

    Having undertaken many experiments, Lee de Forest in the USA adds a third electrode to Fleming’s diode to produce what he termed his Audion. This device was still only used for rectification.

  • 1908

    Ambrose Fleming replaces the carbon filament normally used in the diode valve with a tungsten filament.

  • 1912

    Lee de Forest makes the first valve amplifier.

  • 1915

    In France the first hard vacuum triode was made. It was called the Type TM and during the second World War over 100,000 of them were manufactured.

  • 1920

    Capt. S R Mullard forms the Mullard Radio Valve Co. Ltd. This was to become a major manufacturer of valves and then transistors.

  • 1920

    Thoriated tungsten filament for valves / vacuum tubes developed by Irving Langmuir.

  • 1927

    The first valve with a screen grid starts manufacture – the S625.

  • 1936

    The International Octal, or just octal base was introduced by RCA.

  • 1938

    Mazda introduce Mazda Octal valve base as competition to the International Octal base.

  • 1939

    The Loctal base (B8B) valve base or tube socket was introduced in USA.

  • 1939

    Philips introduce an all glass valve / tube with the B9G base.

  • 1939

    The B7G valve base introduced in the USA for use with all-glass vacuum tubes.