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Old School

There's an object in my living room that never fails to capture people's attention. They are drawn to it like an insect to light. The object is a nixie clock--a simple, yet elegant nod to a bygone era before LEDs dominated the digital landscape.

The clock features nixies--vacuum tubes filled with neon gas and 10 thin wires in the shape of numbers (0-9) that are stacked in front of each other. When an electrical current hits a wire it ionizes the gas around it and emits a fiery orange glow, illuminating the digit. These tubes were used from the 1950s to 1970s in everything from the NYSE ticker board to elevator displays. The much cheaper and smaller LEDs eventually rendered the tubes obsolete.

staff Writer

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