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smarc.jpg (1048 bytes)smgeis.jpg (1129 bytes) Neon lamps

A couple of large neon bulbs - the one on the left is for making up signs using a row of bulbs - only another 25 to collect! In the centre is an 'Osglim' spiral electrode bulb, made by GEC.  Siemens lamp with two plate electrodes in a cross configuration. Neon lamp used for tuning indication on military radio transmitter.

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A tubular 'Osglim' bulb, another tubular lamp, a long 3-electrode 'tuneon' lamp used as a tuning indicator, Siemens and Osram neon lamps.

Thanks to John Goldfinch for some info on the second of these - appears to be intended as a protection device for ovehead telecoms lines to protect against surges from nearby power cables - as shown in this 1954 catalogue page

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I've come across some of these strange neon tubes shown below which have three electrode connections brought out to the base, and what looks like a magnet inside - for beam focussing perhaps? There's a cup-shaped electrode at the top, which 'holds' an intense glow - does anyone know anything about these? I connected two electrodes to a CCFL backlight inverter for the pictures below. My guess is they're either voltage regulators, or for producing intense modulated light, but for what? Update - I'm told these are 'Strobotron'  tubes, used to produce high-intensity light pulses for stroboscope (tachometer) type applications, and feature in a Practical Wireless article around 1964. On the right is a General Radio 'Strobotac' unit which uses the 631 tube (Pic from Shawn Riley).More info here

Left to right, Ferranti NSP1, NSP2, General Radio 631-P1 (made by Sylvania).

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More on these tubes from Nicholas Bodley :     Re Strobotron neon tubes: These are like thyratrons. The little inverted "hat" at the top is the anode, and the dark cylinder is perhaps dark ceramic. It may be dark for low reflectivity. They have a cold cathode (obviously!); reasonably sure it's coated with caesium for enhanced emission. Their capacitors were charged to maybe 300 V, and had a modest capacitance, probably 1 uF or lower, the trigger voltage was rather modest. Once triggered, the whole distance between the cathode and the anode "hat" was filled with a column of orange-red neon, not the distinctly orange of a neon glow lamp. The General Radio Strobotac (stroboscopic tachometer) you show obviously uses one of these. It had a little mains-frequency vibrating reed sticking through a hole in the refrector, so you could calibrate the unit to the mains frequency.

Neon flowers

I received the following query from Gary Zimmers in Indiana - can anyone provide any more info?

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I recently bought an interesting bulb at an auction and wondered if you could give me any information about it. It looks like a clear standard light bulb, but it has two metal flowers inside, one single and one with two blooms. It has some carbon on the inside at the top, but it works great. When plugged in the blooms glow a neon-like pink and the petals and stems glow green. To me, it looks like the stems are covered with powder which possibly glows green when the pink light from the blooms hit them. Do you know anything about these bulbs. I would love to know the time period and an idea of market value for curiosity.

Thanks to Jonas Clark-Elliott for the following info :

I have info on the "glowing flowers" light bulb. Here in the United States, they were made from aroung 1930 to the mid-70s by Aerolux Corp. and Birdseye Corp. The bulb shown looks like an Aerolux style called Field Flowers. Aerolux made a great number of bulbs with everything from religious icons to animals to advertising to flower groups to seasonal designs in their bulbs. The red bulbs are filled with neon gas, the pink bulbs with a neon-argon mix, and the purple/violet bulbs with argon gas. The green color (as was used for grass, accents in advertising bulbs or leaves in the flower and bouquet bulbs) was produced by coating the metal with barium, which responded to the wavelength of light given off by the ionized gas. New "glow light" bulbs and select vintage ones may be purchased from Cindy Chipps in Kentucky, United States. Phone number (502)955-9238. She also sells the bulbs with a flickering neon flame inside, and has written a book on these bulbs.

Some more info here

Chinese manufacturers of neon flower bulbs - note minimum order value though..!

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