Beautiful Tube Pin-ups
In addition to their utility, vacuum valves are interesting in that they are probably some of the most beautiful examples of "industrial art" ever created. Below you'll find some of my favourite tube "pin-ups". Click on any of the thumbnail images for a larger picture, suitable for printing and posting in your tube shack.

807 807
This is probably the best-known classic transmitting tube. It's been dubbed "The valve that won the war" because of its extensive use by the Allied forces during WWII. Still a favourite amongst both RF and audio enthusiasts.
Along similar lines is this gorgeous high-power triode. Notice the particularly buxom ST (coke-bottle) envelope, which allows it to operate at temperatures that would melt ordinary valves. In ICAS service it's normal for its anode to glow dull red.
2e26 2E26
This little tube is an example of the care in craftsmanship employed in vintage valves. It's a small power tetrode capable of operating well into the VHF region, and was a staple in early VHF FM tranceivers.
This can be viewed as a "big brother" to the 2E26, and enjoyed immense popularity as an output driver for shortwave to low-VHF transmitters. CB footwarmers, anyone? Like most of the devices on this page, it's also a great audio tube.
829b 829B
Here's one that could be viewed as a "dual 807" in terms of its power capability. Notice the all-glass, baseless construction, and the impeccable glass weld at the seam. Stunning in real life, the pic really doesn't quite capture it.
Here's the European take on the dual high-frequency tetrode. It's hard to imagine a more elegant and efficient design; the valve has a single cathode and screen, split grids and plates, and even sports built-in neutralizing capacitors. Or have a look at a 3D pic of this valve.
TT15 TT15/CV415
Another lovely military dual beam tube, with an aluminum 9-pin locking base (similar to loktal). It can be thought of as along the lines of a dual 6V6, and features a unique square- shouldered, extra thick glass envelope. You could drive nails with this critter.
They don't build 'em like this anymore, and there aren't very many 828's still in existence. The 12AX7 in the second pic gives an idea of its size. Note the unusual straight- sided variation on the ST package.
828 828
Beauty is not the sole domain of transmitting and military tubes. It's hard to beat the elegance of many of the devices used in television and other consumer gear, such as this pretty deflection and regulator tube.
Another of my favourite receiving tubes is the lovely little 6CB6A. Its cutaway anode and internal shield allows a full view of the entire grid and cathode structures. Again, a 2-D picture only gives a hint of the marvel of engineering that these remarkable devices really are.
6L6's Two 6L6's
Here's a time-trippy little picture of two 6L6's; the original American metal tube, next to a Chinese 6L6GC made in the Shuguang factory probably in the 1980's.
The valve's last stand against the rapidly evolving transistor was dubbed the "Compactron". This one contains a pentode and a beam tube in an envelope about the height of a 12AX7. It's staggering to imagine the tooling required to produce these gizmos.

For more beautiful valve pictures, check out The National Valve Museum. CD-ROM with high-res images also available and recommended.

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