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When were Vacuum Tubes Invented? The History of Vacuum Tubes
Have you ever thought about the backend control of electronic systems? Yes, a unique vacuum system is made up of flexible tubes to control brakes and other functionalities. No matter whether it’s your car’s engine or computer control unit, its smooth synchronized functionality is all because of the presence of vacuum tubes.
After knowing such remarkable benefits about vacuum tubes, you might be interested to know how vacuum tubes came into existence. In this blog, we will discuss when vacuum tubes were invented and the benefits of using them in daily life accessories.
What is Vacuum Tubes?
Vacuum tubes are smart electronic devices that are used for efficient control of electron flow in a vacuum. These are used as a display screen (CRT), switch, or amplifier. These tubes being used as on/off switches allows the computers to execute digital computations.
When and How Invention of Vacuum Tubes Took Place?
In ancient times, electrical signals were very weak. Just like you look for the solution to a problem, scientists of that time thought of making a device that could amplify these weak signals. According to the Scientific Instruments and researches of PV, “the earliest forms of vacuum tubes came into existence in the late seventeenth century”.
However, sufficient technology did not exist until the 1850s. The technology was not sophisticated enough to develop the more advanced version of these tubes. You know what the only technologies of that time were the Ruhmkorff induction coil, advanced glass blowing techniques, and efficient vacuum pumps.
In the early 20th century, vacuum tubes were widely used in electronics. The cathode ray tube continued its use in video monitoring and televisions before being superseded by LCD, plasma, and many other technologies.
During early times vacuum tubes were utilized for the amplification of radio signals and other audio devices. But now, in the 21st century, you can use vacuum tubes for multiple purposes. Many audiophiles claim that music amplified by these vacuum tubes is much better than transistors.
Now in the 21st century, vacuum tubes are available in various sizes and shapes. You can have small and portable vacuum tubes to amplify your weak electrical signals. Many musicians use these to amplify their signals as well.
It will not be wrong to say that you are a lucky generation who can avail of advantages of a small size vacuum tube, having trillions of transistors in it. Make your life full of amenities by using devices having vacuum tubes built-in control systems.
Working of Vacuum tubes
The basic principle behind the working of your vacuum tubes is thermionic emission. Its working is like first a piece of metal is heated. The thermal energy produced by heating knocks out some electrons.
The advantage of this special effect was taken by an English physicist John Ambrose Fleming in 1904 to create the very first vacuum tube device. This device was called an oscillation valve by Fleming. It has two electrodes, an anode, and a cathode placed on each side of a glass tube, having a capsule around it.
When heat energy is provided to the cathode, it knocks out the electrons by thermionic emission. These electrons are attracted towards the plate by applying a positive voltage to the anode. In this way, they can flow across the gap. These electrons can have a clear path, by removing air from the tube, from cathode to anode. That’s how your small vacuum tube works.
Advantages of Vacuum Tubes
You can get many benefits from these small and versatile vacuum tubes. These are used in many things like amplifying different signals that make their effective use in equipment like radio reception (FM and AM)., radar, TV sets, radio transmitters, and many other things.
Compatible with high-voltage devices
There are many examples where we can not use semiconductors easily. For example, the semiconductor devices of silicon are limited to the maximum voltage of 700V. The more exotic materials, like SiC and GaN: MOS, can hardly deal with a voltage of 1300V.
With these devices, you can not deal with a voltage above 1300V as they require complex circuit design of parallel devices and cascaded series. In such devices, you can use vacuum tubes that are smaller and more complex.
Use in high power RF
Vacuum tube magnetrons are also used at your home in our microwaves. Intense energy is produced by this magnetron which is used to produce microwaves. Solid-state devices and silicon transistors are not sophisticated enough to generate the power required for a magnetron. That’s why household heating devices have vacuum tubes.
Musicians and Audiophiles
Musicians and audiophiles also have strong preferences for tube-based circuits. Their preference is primarily because the non-linearity of high levels are of polynomials of low order than silicon semiconductor devices. Hence, they produce more nuanced and less pronounced distortions.
Use in simple circuits
The circuit designs in which vacuum tubes are used tend to be simpler than the transistorized equivalents. It is very complicated by the need to linearize the nonlinear transistors intrinsically.
In output transformer
Another advantage of vacuum tubes is that they are used in our output transformers. The output transformer in the power amp keeps the speaker safe from the DC voltage because of malfunction. It also protects the tubes from blunt back-emf spikes from the speaker. So these small vacuum tubes are also used to protect your many other important devices.
Vacuum tubes in medicine
Vacutainer blood collector is a plastic test or sterile glass tube with a colored rubber stopper used to create a vacuum seal inside the tube. It facilitates the drawing of our predetermined volume of the liquid.
In short, vacuum tubes are one of the essential components of every heating and electronic device. Having these tubes in your devices ensures the proper functioning of your things, but these tubes also need regular maintenance. Protect your costly devices by integrating high-quality vacuum tubes.