Wiki: Vacuum Tube History and Development
This comes from the paper:A History of U.S. Navy Periscope Detection Radar: Sensor Design and Development, Shannon & Moser, 2014.
Also see Periscope.
Patent Dates from Radiotron UV-201 box. Manufactured by Westinghouse for RCA.
841387 Device for amplifying feeble electrical currents, Lee De Forest, 1907-01-15, -
879532 - Audion
954619 Instrument for detecting electric oscillations, John Ambrose Fleming, Marconi Wireless, 1910-04-12, -
1018500 Forming device for metallic filaments, Henry W Jackson, Westinghouse Lamp Co, 1912-02-27, -
1203495 Vacuum-tube, William D Coolidge, General Electric, 1916-10-31, - X-Ray
After looking at some of the comments in the book Chip War by Chris Miller I'm adding some information here.
307031 Electrical Indicator, Thomas A. Edison, Oct 21, 1884
Adds another electrode to an electric lamp and notices how it works.
First patent for an electronic device.
"I have discovered that if a conducting substance is interposed anywhere in the vacuous space within the globe of an incandescent electric lamp, and said conducting substance is connected outside of the lamp with one terminal, preferably the positive one, of the incandescent conductor, a portion of the current will, when the lamp is in operation, pass through the shunt-circuit thus formed, which shunt includes a portion of the vacuous space within the lamp, This current I have found to be proportional to the degree of incandescence of the conductor or candle-power of the lamp."
The anode current depends on the filament power. Note in vacuum tubes the filament power needs to be about the same as the anode power. So one of the big advantages of the transistor is that is has no filament and so can be about twice as efficient as a vacuum tube.
Note 1884 is prior to the 1888 early patents on commercial electrical meters hence the home brew looking meter in this patent.
803684 Instrument for converting alternating electric currents into continuous currents, John Ambrose Fleming, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Of America, Filed: Pub: Nov 7, 1905 - this patent is for a radio telegraph receiving device.
Fleming Valve (rectifier)
879532 Space telegraphy, Lee De Forest, Forest Radio Telephone Co, Feb 18, 1908
De Forest adds a grid to the tube and calls it the Audion. His two prior patents 824637 & 836070 used Fleming valves (i.e. no grid).
924560 Wireless signaling system, Guglielmo Marconi, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Of America, Jun 8, 1909
1608313 Method of and means for producing alternating currents, Hull Albert W, Gen Electric, Nov 23, 1926
two-pole magnetron (15 kW @ 20 kHz)
Gets around prior patents by using magnetic filed to control tube current.
2542966 High-frequency-electrical oscillator, Howard Boot Henry Albert, Turton Randall John, English Electric Valve Co Ltd, Priority: Aug 22, 1940, Pub: Feb 20, 1951 water cooled magnetron
5 designs shown, 4 of which have power outputs of (kW):
Pwr Out (kW)
150 5-10 5-10 10-15 na
Output at X-band (1.9 cm) is very low.
The Book "The Million Dollar Bend" (archive.org) brought him to me attention. He made manufacturing equipment used for making glass envelopes for radio tubes and lamps as well as other equipment related used by radio manufacturers. Instead of pulling a vacuum on the tube/lamp from the top, leaving a "tip" on the top, the vacuum is pulled out the bottom.
He holds about 55 patents.
Patents mentioned and illustrated in appendix (pg 262) and listed on page 311.
1209650 Turret attachment for machine-tools, Eisler Charles, 1916-12-19, - to allow normal lathe or drill press to have turret (chucker) lathe capabilities.
1246250 Adjustable drill-head, Eisler Charles, 1917-11-13, - Dual heads drill 2 holes at same time.
1309616 Sheet-metal device, Eisler Charles, 1919-07-15, - sheet metal nut: cap, wing, acorn
1324886 Means for Increasing the Efficiency of Swaging Machines, Eisler Charles, Westinghouse Lamp Co,1919-12-16 -
1338498 Filament-winding machine, Eisler Charles, Westinghouse Lamp Co, 1920-04-27, -
1338499 Machine for making filament-supports for incandescent lamps, Eisler Charles, Westinghouse Lamp Co, 1920-04-27, - "button press" 30,000 double buttons per day
1338500 Machine for making incandescent-lamp stems, Eisler Charles, Westinghouse Lamp Co, 1920-04-27, -
1522001 Head for constructing incandescent electric-lamp stems, Eisler Charles, 1925-01-06, -
1553309 Universal filament-coil-winding machine, Eisler Charles, 1925-09-15, -
1635316 Machine for making radio tube and lamp parts, Eisler Charles,1927-07-12, -
1637989 Machine for making glass mounts, Eisler Charles, 1927-08-02, -
1655050 Sealing-in machine for tubes and bulbs, Eisler Charles, 1928-01-03, -
1704359 Ribbon Gas Burner, Eisler Charles, 1929-03-05, - - neon signs w/quick shutoff
1701541 Construction of incandescent lamps, Ray Frederick, Charles Eisler, 1929-02-12, -
1828493 Disk valve for burners, Eisler Charles, Eisler Electric, 1931-10-20, -
1866634 Bead Machine, Charles Eisler,
1936426 Sealing-off and dumping mechanism for exhaust machines, Eisler Charles, Eisler Electric, 1933-11-21, -
2006544 Welding machine, Eisler Charles, Eisler Engineering Co, 1935-07-02, - Spot
2063235 Sealing machine, Eisler Charles, 1936-12-08, -
2078630 Machine for making coils of wire, Eisler Charles, 1937-04-27, -
2231617 Welding machine, Eisler Charles, 1941-02-11, - Spot
2410931 Tube cracking machine, Eisler Charles,1946-11-12, - for fluorescent lamp tubes.
2413960 Machine for sealing glass bulbs, Eisler Charles, 1947-01-07, -
2414587 Machine for piercing glass bulbs, Eisler Charles, 1947-01-21, - for 1 or 2 electrical caps
2418763 Machine for sealing and molding glass bulbs, Eisler Charles, 1947-04-08, -
2421929 Machine for sealing bulbs, Eisler Charles, 1947-06-10, -
2446000 Machine for flanging glass blanks, Eisler Charles, 1948-07-27, - Syringe tip-forming machine
2779135 Tube shrinking machine, Eisler Charles, 1957-01-29, - Syringe
2783531 Work holder turntable mechanism, Eisler Charles, 1957-03-05, - used for arc welding
In a Reflex Receiver (Wiki) same tube is used to amplify both the radio MF signal and the audio signal. The photos and schematic were provided by Al.
Fig 1 Front Panel
Fig 2 Inside UV201 Tube
Upper Left AF trans. Upper right RF trans.
Fig 3 Schematic
1087892 Means for receiving electrical oscillations, Wilhelm Schloemilch, Otto V Bronk, 1914-02-17, -
Fig 1, Fig 2 & Fig 3 prior art.
Fig 4 Reflex Receiver
Audio Transformer (o)
MF Transformer (k)
Note B+ Battery (i) is shown as a generator, whereas filament battery (b) is shown as a battery.
also note capacitors use units of cm rather than Farads. See Tesla.
1735185 Radio Receiver, Schaffer Walter, Telefunken AG, 1929-11-12, - still works if tube fails.
2205243 Amplifier, Robert B Dome, GE, 1940-06-18, - for use in TV IF
2777056 Reflex circuit for amplifying intermediate and detected video frequencies in same stage, Richard W Bull, 1957-01-08, - for use in TV IF stage.
2863066 Reflex circuit system, Witt David De, Sandler Harold, Roland C Wittenberg, Radio Receptor Co, 1958-12-02, - single PNP transistor
Galvin Mfg Co got their start making these, so I was hoping to find some patents.
1682492 Radio battery eliminator, Philip E Edelman, 1928-08-28, -
1742682 Battery eliminator, Roland F Beers, Raytheon, 1930-01-07, -
1758947 Battery eliminator, Hammond Laurens, Andrews Hammond Corp, 1930-05-20, -
2208933 Battery eliminator, Loewenhaupt Emil, Telefunken AG, 1940-07-23, -
These tubes do not need high voltage (B+). Instead they use a voltage for the plate supply that's the same as the voltage used to heat the filament.
Learned about these (aka: Space Charge tubes) in the same YouTube video as the above battery eliminators: Fun, Fun, Fun - The History of Car Radios, 56:45 -
@ 34:59: Unipotential Tubes: 12EK6, 12BL6, 12EH5, 6CQ8, 12DL8, 12AD6, 12K5, 12AE6A, 12BK5, 12BL6, 12AF6, 12BL6, 12CA5, ...
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