News

Welcome to the Industrial Alchemy webserver. Recent updates are listed below.

 

2021-02-14 Homo Semiconductorus  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

The history of early LED part numbers is poorly documented. New devices are constantly being 'rediscovered' by collectors and builders long after being lost to mists of electronics lore. The Hewlett Packard 5082-7002 is such a device; a very early and totally undocumented LED part that until recently was unknown to the LED collector community. With its large gold bathtub package and glass lid, the 5082-7002 could easily feature in a display designer's fever dream. The 5082-7002 may be a large, primitive, and impractical device, but very few early LED parts can be considered 'practical'.

Other recent inclusions include the Toshiba TMM121, an early UV erase EPROM. The TMM121 was the first EPROM produced by Toshiba, and comes equipped with a round lid and circular cavity window. We have also added the Raytheon CK784, a tiny blue-painted transistor, to the Transistors and Diodes section of the site.

 

2020-12-17 Fiber Reinforced  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

Incandescent displays can get strange. Used mostly by esoteric test equipment manufacturers and defense contractors, each display is lavished with bottomless funding and almost no thought of the larger market. The Eaton 925H-C is a glowing example of this; a tiny fiber optic display with two digits crammed into an impossibly small surface area... hobbled by the vast stack of parts behind the display face to make it all possible. Dripping with the spending excess that only a bottomless military budget can provide, the 925H-C is an intricate array of machine screws, machined aluminum, and tiny gold plated pins. Even the lamps in this incandescent display are over-engineered, with shock absorbing gaskets and gold flashing on every surface. The Eaton 925H-C may not be a practical device, but it is certainly an impressive one.

Other recent additions include a English Electric Valve Company M558 pulse magnetron, which has been added to the High Frequency Tubes section of the site. The M558 is a small external cavity device designed for use in marine radar systems. We have also resurrected a lost article from 2006 covering the Apple Macintosh SE, which we have added to the Digital Computers section of the site.

 

2020-10-20 Lockdown  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

In recent months we have added several new items to the Technology Museum section of the site:

* Clocks and Timers: An unusual Consolidated Dalton Time Lock Movement, a mechanical protector for cowboy-era bank vaults.
* Spark Gap & Trigger Tubes: The Sylvania 1B40, an argon filled TR switch tube in a glass and metal cylindrical package.
* Transistors and Diodes: The United Detector Technology UDT PIN-10D, a large planar photodiode in a metal can package.
* Glow Transfer Counting Tubes: The Soviet made OG-3, a common high-speed dekatron with 40 cathodes and a helium-hydrogen fill gas.

 

2020-08-24 Worshiping False Bitmaps  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

If there is one characteristic shared by early LED displays, it is their sense of smallness. Tiny LED digits, squinting out from behind plastic magnifiers or protective shade hoods, represent the dominant feature of most LED-equipped products of the 1970s. However, Hewlett Packard's 5082-7500 LED display is a bold departure from this trend. With a digit height of almost two inches, the 5082-7500 completely eclipses its competitors in both size and brightness. Despite this, the 5082-7500 was a commercial failure, and saw almost no use in any products. We have recently acquired several of these obscure displays, and have added more information about them to our Solid State & LED Displays page.

We have also added the Phillips ZM1010 Nixie tube to the Nixie and Gas Discharge Displays section of the site. The ZM1010 is a mundane side view Nixie with an unusual circular anode screen that allows the digit to be seen from both sides of the tube. Other recent additions include the Western Electric 2N559, an early transistor best known for it's use in the US Nike missile defense system.

 

2020-04-26 Flip Dots of Futures Past  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

In recent months we have added several new items to the Technology Museum section of the site:

* Integrated Circuits: An unusual Crossfiber optical switching IC, a mechanical display crossdressing as an integrated circuit.
* Nixie & Gas Discharge Displays: The common but sturdy Phillips ZM1000, a neon filled Nixie tube with a unique base.
* Transistors and Diodes: A metal can Western Electric KS 21073 Fetron , which was designed to be a solid state tube replacement for telephone switching systems.
* Calculators and Adding Machines: A Texas Instruments Business Analyst, a common handheld calculator from 1976 with a LED display and rechargeable battery.

 

2020-01-07 Causal Domain Shear  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

If parallel universes are real, what would their LED displays look like? They might looks something like the LITEF 104267, a completely alien device birthed by the bowels of the Cold War military-industrial machine. Would you expect your parallel universe LED to have a brazed metal lid, but also have multiple convex glass windows? How about a decimal point on a 5x7 LED matrix, only with the decimal point put in the wrong place? The LITEF 104267 has all this and more, and in our latest article we take a deep dive into what makes this LED tick.

We have also added some more pedestrian items to our Technology Museum, including a pair of Burroughs BIP-8232 and BIP-8521 BIPCO Nixie tube modules, each equipped with a B5991 Nixie tube. Burroughs BIPCO line of Nixie tube drivers contains a vast and expansive library of parts, most of which are completely undocumented.

 

2019-12-04 Filament Fusion  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

Have you ever looked at a Minitron display and wished that it had twice the failure rate at four times the cost? If so, a Wamco Two Digit Minitron could be the display of your dreams. This bizarre display incorporates two filament numerals into a single evacuated envelope, a terrible idea for anyone who looks for reliability or non-ridiculous socket requirements in a display. In a sane world a display like this should have never been made, but it has been made, and we have added one to our Technology Museum page.

We have also added several other new items to the site, including a nickel plated Sargent & Greenleaf Type L Time Lock variant, and an unusual Homemade Crookes Tube, a device likely constructed out of a Liebig condenser by a financially-strapped physics department.

 

2019-08-18 Quack Shot  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

At the turn of the century, the US saw an explosion in the manufacture and sale of quack medicine electronics. The builders of these devices claimed that everything from cancer to female hysteria could be cured with the proper application of high voltage and magic light bulbs. We have recently added a tube from just such a device to our Geissler Tubes section; a Fischer Diathermy Tesla probe. Used in Fischer diathermy machines, it was claimed that passing a high voltage through this device and waving it theatrically over a sick patient would "cure" them of all manner of quaint-sounding ailments. These claims have largely been disproven in modern times, but that does not change the fact that a Fischer diathermy probe is a very eye-catching device when in operation.

Other recent additions include a Westinghouse 1B32 spark gap tube, which has been added to our Spark Gap and Trigger Tubes page,as well as a Fairchild FPA 700 Phototransistor Array , which has been added to our Transistors and Diodes page,

 

2019-04-26 Spider Pig  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

The season of electronics salvage is close at hand; Dayton Hamvention 2019 is rapidly approaching, and on May 17th, 18th, and 19th we will be occupying flea market booth numbers 9440, 9441 and 9442 at the Greene County Fairgrounds. We will have an assortment of vintage electronics and components available, as well as a vast pile of heavy electrical and computer scrap begging to be sold. Those unfortunate souls who have never attended Dayton Hamvention can experience equal portions of envy and lust by viewing Hamvention flea market photos of years past.

Not all of our updates are related to Hamvention lore. We have also added a new unidentified electronic object to our Mysterious Artifacts page, This unusual device is some sort of mechanical incandescent readout, but it's function and purpose are completely mysterious. Can you identify this strange display?

 

2019-03-29 Gargantua  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

We have recently added a number of new items to the Technology Museum section of the site:

* LEDs and Solid State Indicators: A large and unusual Monsanto MV4H LED, quite possibly the first attempt at producing a high power LED device.
* Clocks and Timers: An ornate Yale Triple L time lock, a complicated mechanical device designed to protect a bank vault from Victorian-era enemies.
* Transistors and Diodes: A gold plated Teledyne TR1002 Fetron , a solid state tube replacement sold as a part replacement for a number of Heathkit kits.
* Integrated Circuits: An IDT 7M912, a large ceramic SRAM integrated circuit that is thoroughly encrusted with smaller surface mount components.

 

2019-01-04 I Just do Eyes  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

The world of electron tube collecting can be a very strange place, but it can be easy to forget just how strange it can get. We have recently added a totally perplexing glass eye Crookes tube to the Geissler & Gas Discharge Tubes section of the site. This tube is a bizarre mystery, and contains a glass eye mounted in a large envelope filled with what appears to be low pressure argon. The tube has several electrodes and when energized, the eyeball illuminates with the help of UV-sensitive glass. Even covens of witches can't resist the allure of high voltage gas discharge.

Other recent additions to the Technology Museum section of the site include a MG-19B Nixie tube, a 9 segment neon display sold under several different manufacturer's labels. We have also added an unidentified green straight pin LED to the LED Indicators section of the site.

 

2018-11-16 Mess with Texas  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

The humble Texas Instruments TIL302 is one of the most common and mundane of early LED displays. With its red epoxy coating and ceramic interior, even novice LED collectors can instantly recognize it on sight. But, as it turns out, the TIL302 is actually surprisingly interesting, and went through a number of dramatic changes over its life. We have added a new article to the Technology Museum covering the TIL302s many variants, including very early clear epoxy development types as well as a glass-packed version for the military.

Other new additions include a metal-clad RCA 8072 power tube, which has been added to the Diodes, Triodes, Tetrodes & Pentodes section of the site, as well as an uncommon Intel 1601 PROM which has been added to the Integrated Circuits section. The 1601 was designed as an electronically programmable alternative to Intel's 1301 metal mask ROM, and was released in 1970.

 

2018-10-02 Behind Bars  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

In the quest for sunlight readable displays, many manufacturers resorted to extreme measures. A recently added incandescent bargraph module showcases one of the more desperate attempts we have seen by a manufacturer to solve this problem. Rather than settling for dim 1970s-era LEDs, this device uses a fistful of incandescent bulbs mounted in a complex machined aluminum block to produce a display which is readable even when viewed in full sunlight. We do not envy the workers who had to solder the tiny densely packed bulb arrays needed to make this device possible.

We have also added a new nixie tube, a Burroughs 7153, to the Gas Discharge Displays section of the site, as well as a very rare Intel 1301 mask rom to the Integrated Circuits section. The 1301 was Intel's first mask rom, and was released in 1969.

 

2018-08-27 Incandescent Personality  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

We have recently made a number of new additions to the Technology Museum section of the site:

* Incandescent Displays: An obscure Soviet incandescent mosaic display, with a very unusual construction style.
* Communication Equipment: An ERO Model 27A cassette recorder, encrusted in more fake gold than an entire silo of costume jewelry.
* Diodes and Triodes: A large Amperex 5867 power triode, capable of handling up to 1200 watts.
* Gas Discharge Displays: New photos for the Burroughs 7977, a very small top-view Nixie tube equipped with a silicone shade ring.

 

2018-07-09 The 4th State  
Posted by AnubisTTP  

It is often forgotten that a branch of the Nixie tube family tree terminates in a modern day consumer product; the flat panel plasma TV. We have recently acquired a prototype plasma display panel, which has been added to the Gas Discharge Displays section of the site. Plasma display panels are neon filled devices which can display complex graphics and text, and from the 1960s onwards development was pushed by the computer industry, which had desperate need for such a display. The PDP we have added to our collection is small, ugly, and low resolution, but in a world without liquid crystal panels, it was the only game in town.

Not all of our new display additions involve plasma. We have also added an AD206B decade counter to the Display & Counting Circuits section of the site. The AD206B makes use of an obscure Pinlite DIP650 incandescent readout for display, and is based around the Texas Instruments 74144 decimal counter IC. Other recent additions include a 'Star Tracker' astronavigation clock from the cockpit of an American B-52 bomber, which has been added to the Clocks and Timers section of the site.

 

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