From the Archives – Vintage Transmitting Tube Art

Diverging from CRTs only briefly but holding steadfast to the warm, soft glow of valves, here I introduce a piece of Valve Art crafted long before Oscilloclock came into existence!

I spotted this vintage 1967 ultrasonic cleaner unit at the local Ham Fair, and it was love at first sight. Originally with a steel cabinet with peeling paint, the unit wasn’t much to look at on the outside. But after applying a copper coat to the chassis and fitting a sleek acrylic cabinet, this device simply dazzles!


Featuring not one, but two of these stunning Hitachi 3T12 transmitting valves!

Who needs a heater in winter, when you can have one of these power-hungry devices?

I bet this lovely triode, with its zirconium-plated anode and thorium-tungsten filament, really impressed the original owner of this ultrasonic cleaner…


These aesthetic innards simply ooze awesomeness. It’s as if they actually designed this for the art museum!

Made in 1967, but boasting an incredible 200W output – absolutely deadly !

Sadly, my workshop no longer had room for this historic showpiece, so with a heavy heart, I recently powered it down for the last time. However it will go to a loving new home…

Long live vintage ultrasonic cleaners!

Improper Prop!

Veering slightly off the subject of the CRT and onto its cousin, the illustrious Magic Eye tube – it’s been a couple years since I wrote about the fortuitous visit to Robbie’s Place, where I picked up a beautiful Westminster ZA 617.

Not a CRT, but it’s lesser cousin – a soothing Y63 magic eye valve

Recently I was watching an episode of the British-Irish crime drama Quirke. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a ZA 617 in one of the scenes!

The fascinating thing was that this particular scene was set in a convent in the United States. But this radio was likely never sold in America! First and foremost, the radio doesn’t support 120V operation. Second, the dial markings, barely visible in the blurry close-up, reflect European radio station frequencies of of the time. Also, Long Wave was not particularly popular for public transmissions in the U.S. (as far as I know).

While it’s a clear case of an improper prop, the BBC had exceedingly good taste to choose this beautiful radio for the show. Long live magic eyes!

From the Archives – a 400-LED Oscilloscope

Long, long ago… In a workshop far away…

Recently, I’ve seen quite a few search hits and even an enquiry regarding the 400-LED dual-trace oscilloscope that I briefly mentioned on my History page. With renewed enthusiasm therefore, let’s take a trip down history lane and see what I was doing back in 1990!

A compact dual-trace 1MHz DC scope - what more could a high school kid want?

A compact dual-trace 1MHz DC scope – what more could a high school kid want?

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