KyteLabs InfoBase - Electron Tubes & Valves Data Last modified: 2015-07-19 (18155)

Electron Tubes' History and Basics

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Inventions and History of Tube Development [DE]

Year Inventor Invention - Discovery - Development
1883 T. A. Edison Accidental discovery of emission and rectifier effects (vacuum tube)
1898 P. Lennard Usage of an electrostatically operating auxiliary electrode with cathode-ray experiments
1901 O. W. Richardson Electron emission theory explains Edison effect
1902 C. Hewitt Relay effect by magnetic arc control (controlling an ionic discharge)
1903 P. Lennard Usage of wire-mesh grids to electrostatically control electron velocity
1903 A. Wehnelt Discovery of the excellent emission qualities of alkaline earths (oxide cathode)
1904 J. A. Flemming Using the electron tube as a high-frequency detector
1906 R. v. Lieben Vacuum amplifier tube with magnetically controlled electron flow
1906 L. de Forest Detector tube with plate control
1907 L. de Forest Audion patent (single-grid tube)
1908 J. A. Flemming Tungsten filament for electron tubes
1910 R. v. Lieben Control grid (amplifier with mercury vapor filled tube)
1910 J. Langmuir Improving emission by thoriated-tungsten filament
1911 O. v. Bronk Radio-frequency amplifier
1912 AEG Mass production of Lieben tubes
1912 L. de Forest Regeneration - positive feedback
1912 G. Leithäuser Supressor-grid arrangement for cathode-ray experiments
1913 J. Langmuir Space-charge grid circuit
1913 A. Meißner Oscillator by positive feedback
1913 J. Langmuir Significance of high vacuum for the space charge
1915 W. Schottky Increasing transconductance by dual control
1915 Schenkel Indirect heated cathode
1916 W. Schottky Protective grid
1919 A. W. Hull Screen grid
1926 Jobst/Telegen Suppressor grid (pentode)
1932 K. Steimel Hexode
1933 K. Steimel Triode-hexode

B.2 The Radio Receiving Tube in Germany - Development 1923-1949

Year Applications and design goals Solutions Tube types
1923 - 1926 Audio-frequency amplifiers and radio-frequency detectors Usage of the already available tungsten-filament tubes RE11
Reducing the heater power consumption Econo-tubes (dark heaters) with thoriated-tungsten filaments and oxide-coated filaments Thoriated: VALVO Oekonom, RE064, RE144;
Oxide: RE063, RE152
1927 Standardization of basing The "Europe" base all subsequently manufactured pin-socket tubes
Reproduction by loudspeaker Special output tubes RE134, L413
1928 AC power line heating Indirect heated tubes REN1004, W4110
AC power line rectifying Rectifier tubes RGN1503, G1503
More powerful output stage 5-watt and 10-watt power triodes RE304, RE604, LK460
1929 Improved gain and stability on RF stages Screen-grid tubes H406D, RES044, RES094
Increased plate resistance and improved grid-to-plate capacitance RF pentodes (screen-grid tubes with suppressor grid) RENS1820, H2018D
1930 DC power line operation Tubes with heaters for series connection 180-mA heater current series
Improving efficiency and gain of output tubes Power pentode RES174d, RES164, L416D
1931 Simplified generation of an automatic gain control voltage Diodes and twin diodes (combined multi-unit tubes) REN924, AN4092
Automatic gain control for fading compensation Screen-grid tubes with remote-cutoff characteristic RENS1214, H4125D
1932 Improving RF amplification Common usage of the pentode concept for RF amplifier tubes RENS1264, H4111D
Larger audio power output 9-watt power pentodes RES964, L496D
1933 Perfecting the superheterodyne converter stage Hexode multiplicative mixer RENS1224, X4122
More efficient gain control Fading hexodes with dual control RENS1234, X4123
1934 Gain control within the converter stage Mixer tubes with remote-cutoff characteristic (triode-hexode or octode) ACH1, AK1, BCH1
1935 Standardization of tube types Introducing the "letter" series A-, C-, E-series
Constructional improvements New design methods - grid cap AC2, AF7 etc.
Decreasing the heater warm-up time Fast heating cathode -
AC/DC operation Special AC/DC tubes C-series
Reduced heater power for simple AC/DC radios (VE301GW) Econo-tubes with 50-mA heater current V-series
Unified basing system Aussenkontakt socket A-, C-, V-series
Automobile radios for 6-volt and 12-volt starter battery operation Special automobile tubes E-series
More economical battery operation Battery tubes with 2-volt filaments K-series
Class-B push-pull amplifier with grid current driving KDD1
1936 Sonic improvements High-performance power tubes AD1, AL4
1937 Tuning indication by shadow-angle control Electron-ray tubes (Magic Eye) AM2
Larger audio output for high-end radios 18-watt power pentode AL5
1938 Uniform heater for AC, DC, and battery operation (automobile) Tubes with 6.3-volt heater and 200-mA current consumption E-section of Miniwatt series (red tubes)
Standardization to general-purpose usage and removal of unwanted side-effects Tubes of the "harmonic" series with steel enclosures (metal types) and standard bases. Electrical improvements (gliding screen-grid voltage, forward automatic gain control, lower capacitances, input and noise characteristics etc.) E-series with metal tubes
1939 Simplification of the medium-range superheterodyne receiver Combined triode/power tetrode ECL11
Improved tuning indication Dual-range indicator tube EM11
Reducing the heater power consumption of AC/DC radios Special tubes of the "harmonic" series with 100-mA heater current U-series with metal tubes
1940 Improving the short-wave performance by shorter electrode connections Tubes with integrated glass bases E- and U-series of the Miniwatt Loctal tubes
More economically battery-operated radios, circuit simplification and miniaturization Metal tubes - using 1.2-volt filament batteries - based on the "harmonic" principles D-series with metal tubes
Reducing the heater power consumption of AC/DC high-end radios Completion of the U-series UL12, UM11, UF11, UFM11
1945 Improving low-end radios at most economical power consumption Completion of the V-series VEL11
1946 Improving the selectivity of low-end radios by re-introduction of the small superheterodyne receiver Completion of the V-series VCH11
1947 Reducing the physical size, improving the VHF (FM) performance Miniature tubes E- and U-section of the Rimlock series
1949 Improving the small superheterodyne receiver (110/220 volts change-over switch and dial illumination) Completion of the Miniwatt tubes by U-series types with 100-mA heater UCH5, UF5, UF6, UBL3, UL2, UY4
Completing the U-section of the "harmonic" series UEL11 und UY2

(References: Ludwig Ratheiser, Rundfunk-Röhren [Radio-Valves/Tubes], 1949)

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