Burroughs B9012  
Written by Accutron on 2017-03-21  

Burroughs introduced the Pixie tube as a low cost alternative to the Nixie tube. Instead of having number-shaped cathodes and a complex internal construction, the Pixie tube has small metal stubs mounted directly to the top of each cathode pin, which glow beneath a metal screen with digit-shaped holes cut above each cathode. The Pixie tube sacrifices readability in exchange for a greatly simplified internal construction and correspondingly lower cost. Despite its affordability, the Pixie tube failed to achieve wide adoption, as most equipment manufacturers opted for the high quality readout of the Nixie tube regardless of the associated costs.

The Burroughs B9012 pictured here is an improved replacement for the original HB-105 Pixie tube. While the HB-105 and B9012 share a similar internal construction, the B9012 includes mercury in its fill gas, greatly improving the tube's lifespan. The B9012 also has a low-profile envelope, while the HB-105 is packaged in the same hemispherical envelope as the HB-106.

Burroughs B9012 Pixie tube under normal operation.

This article is part of the [Vacuum & Gas-Filled Displays] exhibit.

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