Don’t nix the Nixie Tube

The Nixie tube has some real fans out there and recently a revival of electronics, especially in kit form, featuring the tubes have shown up. I would love to get my hands on a clock or a watch, but have not mustered the courage to try to build one myself. You might think this retro nixie love is a new thing, but even in the early 1980s Popular Mechanics was speaking volumes about this impressive piece of technology and even explains how the technology works in a few short quick paragraphs.

nixie

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Garry Vander Voort

Editor/Podcaster at Retroist
The Retroist is like a BBQ on a bun without the bones. You're only human daddy. Chomp!
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3 thoughts on “Don’t nix the Nixie Tube

  1. ddsw says:

    Nixie tubes…fun! Few years ago I was going through my grandfather’s old stuff and found a nixie-tube calculator. Turned out to be worth north of $200 on ebay. Also when watching Monsters Inc. I was tickled to see Sully has a nixie-tube alarm clock.

  2. Yes, Nixie tubes are popular so good luck finding them at a decent price. Prices range from $10 to $70 from what I’ve seen. In fact you may have problems finding online stores that have them in stock. Many of the places I checked out are out of stock for most brands of Nixie tubes.

    I’ve been visiting a surplus electronics store for years and I remember seeing them selling Nixie tubes. They were relatively cheap and I want a few but I considered them too expensive at the time (I was house poor). And then I heard they were getting popular so I rushed over to the surplus store willing to pay any price before they ran out and, sure enough, they sold out. Drat! Lesson learned.

    I bought three Altair computers from that place years earlier at a cheap price so I can’t complain.

  3. I’ve never seen a nixie tube in the wild. My favorite type of display is VFD. I just love the soft glow they produce, unlike the harsh glare of LEDs.

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