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Mystery Apparatus

  1. Apr 6, 2017 #1
    Hello everyone,

    This is my second year teaching Physics and I have come upon an interesting apparatus that no one can seem to identify. It appears to be two vacuum tubes protruding from a casing which includes two sets of three parallel brass plates, presumably with some sort of dielectric in-between. These plates are in turn wired to what I believe is an insulated solenoid of unknown coil number. There is another coil of wire wrapped around a glass test tube connected in parallel to the bulbs and I think to the negative feed (although this connection seems to have worn out). It is made by the Central Scientific Company (Cenco), listed as a "laboratory apparatus" along with "supplies chemical." Dimensions are 30cm bulb to bulb with a 10 x16 cm base and stands 13 cm tall at its highest point (picture attached.

    I haven't the slightest clue what this thing is or does but my students are absolutely fascinated with it. Can anyone help me Identify it.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2017 #2
  4. Apr 6, 2017 #3

    anorlunda

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  5. Apr 6, 2017 #4

    dlgoff

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    Would be nice to have a side view and the underneath view of the wiring. Also, there are tube numbers that would be helpful. Initial ques is, the tubes are diodes being used to rectify the potential developed on the single brass loop (transformer secondary) from the coupling of the test-tube windings (transformer primary). But without seeing a side view, that could be completely wrong.
     
  6. Apr 6, 2017 #5

    dlgoff

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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  7. Apr 6, 2017 #6

    jim hardy

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    anorlunda's Central Scientific catalog is from 1918 and seems to be arranged alphabetically

    page 421 is start of Pyrometers section
    page 427 starts Radio Activity Apparatus (electroscopes)
    page 433 is rubber goods

    no radio equipment.... so i think it's newer than 1918

    Is there a number on the tubes? How many prongs , 4 ?
    Could be a #30 triode , i have an old radio that uses them

    mysteryapparatus1.jpg

    https://frank.pocnet.net/sheets/021/3/30.pdf

    MysteryApparatRCA30.jpg

    seems the right flavor for a 1930-ish radio experimenter's tool

    i can make out an RCA logo on one tube base but not a number. My #30's have the number on the glass envelope ~midway up.

    @dlgoff - you 're the maestro !

    old jim
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  8. Apr 6, 2017 #7

    dlgoff

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  9. Apr 6, 2017 #8

    jim hardy

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    Well , now !
    from https://frank.pocnet.net/sheets/049/8/801A.pdf
    myateryapp801TubeData.jpg


    801 tube has a real fan here !
    http://vinylsavor.blogspot.com/2014/04/tube-of-month-801a.html
    MysteryApp801Tube.jpg

    A real retro audiophile, that one ! He has interesting pictures showing internal details of disassembled tubes.

    old jim
     
  10. Apr 7, 2017 #9
    Thank you very much dlgoff and jim hardy. I really appreciate all the help and detective work. My students were becoming discouraged after they looked through the whole Cenco catalog and didn't find anything, they'll be thrilled to have the mystery solved!
     
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