The Burroughs B7971

This tube is amazing.  It is made of 16 segments in a star burst pattern to allow it to display numbers and letters.  However, like the smaller number and symbol only versions of Nixie tubes – they were quickly replaced with LCD displays and LEDs.

Four Letter Word

One of the best known uses for these displays was as a decorative art piece.  A device made up of four of these tubes would be used to display random word that it had programmed in.  Part of the appeal clearly was people hoping to see “dirty” words displayed in neon.  It is still possible to buy kits and New Old Stock tubes to make your own sculpture – but be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on the tubes alone!

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Zetalink makes the most popular kit: http://www.zetalink.biz/FLWKa.html


Ultronic Systems Lectrascan

Zetalink has the only information I can find on this device.  Before LED based tickets became popular, Ultronic Systems offered one based on Nixie tubes.  The quotes were provided via a dedicated modem connection.  These devices were installed in small brokerages but as far as I can tell, did not acchieve a large install base.

I couldn’t find any video of this running but it probably looked something like this:

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One Response to “The Burroughs B7971”

  1. […] and foremost, it is a 4-letter-word device.  Normally, these are made with tubes such as the B7971 or similar Panaplex displays (think of a flat version of a nixie tube).  Instead, the inventor […]

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