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Box of Vacuum Tubes


This is a large box containing a large number of miscellaneous vacuum tubes. The box itself is a repurposed Mastercraft Rotary Tool Kit box, with a lid made from a plain piece of corrugated cardboard. This was originally taped to the box but the tape has come away from the box. The box says “VACUUM TUBES” on the lid.

There are 179 vacuum tubes in the box of a variety of types, sizes and manufacturers, all of them apparently used (although not necessarily burned out). None of them have boxes.

Accession Number: 2019.ast.116 (DAA-0052)

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Glass, Metal: Iron Alloy, Metal: Other


On the lid of the box, handwritten in marker: “VACUUM TUBES”

On a shipping label in the bottom of the box, dated 02/15/06
“Requested by or Addressed to:
Yakov. V.”

Written on the back of this label: “Ref # 764066
Redirected to DDO
Wed 15, 1802, Feb/2006
8-1400, 95 Micro
14th – birchmount”

All the tubes are marked with their type, manufacturer and (where appropriate) warning labels.

Dimensions (cm):

Box: Length = 41, Width = 30.5, Height = 14.5


A vacuum tube consists of electrodes that have a variable (detectable or controllable) current between them. Tubes have a great variety of specific uses, including as switches in computer circuits, as current amplifiers, and for the detection of light levels.


Very Good to Excellent: All the tubes are in very good condition. Some appear to have been well used and display signs of having been used to the end of their life. Others show no signs of damage at all.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Various

Date of Manufacture: Mid 20th Century


This box was probably assembled in 2009 upon the sale of the observatory, possibly from other boxes or disassembled equipment. It was moved from the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill to a storage room the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics until 2017, when it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes: