Burroughs B7971 Nixie Tube  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2009-11-25  


The large and unwieldy Burroughs 7971 is the iconic example of an alphanumeric Nixie tube. The display contains a series of wire cathodes arranged into an array of 15 segments and an underscore character, unlike modern 17-segment LED displays, the top and bottom vanes have been ganged together on a single control line. Despite their staggeringly high price on the resale market, 7971's are a relatively common tube, the tube's large size and high functionality have made it the display choice for nixie projects and demand has increased accordingly. In the time before the Nixie clock craze, 7971's could regularly be bought from electronics suppliers for less than a dollar per tube.

Despite electronics lore to the contrary, 7971 nixie tubes were never used in the marquee at the New York Stock Exchange. The primary (possibly only) commercial use for the 7971 is in Ultronic Letrascan stock tickers, which collectively generated sales for hundreds of thousands of tubes. The Lectrascan display contained a staggering 48 7971 display tubes, along with a veritable hardware store of transistors and other discrete driver circuitry.


Burroughs B7971

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