Tuesday 29 November 2016
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The Luminous Vintage Electronic Bargraph Clock

The Luminous Electronic Bargraph Clock by Nuvitron 

“Vintage tech from the Cold War era meets modern electronics in a handmade wooden enclosure for the coolest gadget ever!”

Introducing The Bargraph

The Luminous Electronic Bargraph Clock is the coolest gizmo around, because it is made using gas discharge tubes, survivors from the Cold War. A technology that have been given a new lease of life and could now be in your home or office.

Crafted by a group of skilled artisans, modern electronics combine with Nixie tubes in a beautiful handmade veneer enclosure.

With three modes of operation, the Luminous Bargraph Clock detects its position automatically and changes the mode accordingly, giving you endless hours of vintage entertainment!

Functions and Capabilities 

The Luminous Vintage Electronic Bargraph Clock has three modes of operation: clock, sound level meter and timer.

In clock mode, it… well, it tells the time. The sound level meter gives you a visual display of audio levels in the immediate environment and the timer can count down from 1, 5 or 10 minutes, whilst displaying a pleasing, and quite hypnotic, pendulum effect.

To change modes, the machine is turned round and incorporates sensors that detect its position to change the displayed values accordingly.

The different modes are indicated via a hidden LED that animates and changes colour. Much like a troublesome drunk at a party, to turn it off simply lay it on its side – the side opposite the clock mode – prolonging the tube’s lifespan and preserving the time for the next day.

Behind the Technology

We use gas discharge tubes, which, despite what you may think from the name, are not devices for dealing with flatulence. No. They were designed under military specifications with the intention of being used by the Soviet armed forces but were usurped when LEDs were introduced and ended up being abandoned in cold, dark and dusty basements.

It was from these very basements that Nuvitron rescued them and gave them new purpose and meaning in the coolest, old-school gadget ever.

First, let us look at the technology involved here. Exactly what is a gas discharge tube?

Well, put simply, it is a device that has an arrangement of electrodes within an insulated environment that is filled with gas or, more accurately in this case, a mixture of gases: Neon and Argon.

When a voltage is applied, the gas molecules get excited, then flow and glow but they do so in such a way as to produce oscillations and waveforms. Of course, the whole process is very much more involved than this but, for reasons of brevity, this particular science lesson must end here.

If you want to make yourself instantly more annoying at social gatherings you can research Townsend Discharge and Paschen’s Law.

How we Made it

The circuit within the Bargraph is designed using tiny surface-mount components matched with sensors and a microcontroller, giving life to the coolest gadget ever.

In order to do justice to this amazing technology, we designed an MDF enclosure that is resistant to temperature and humidity changes, no matter where in the world you are. This makes it impossible to warp, crack or split. We then used a beautiful grain veneer on each piece, hand glued to ensure that they are straight and smooth.

The front panel is printed using special ink and then three coats of semi-matt lacquer are applied by hand.
Due to the characteristics of the gas discharge tubes, each one is slightly different. This is why we test each one and try to match them so that they can glow together for years to come.

About Project Creator:


Electronics made art

We are a collective representing 5 different countries with a mission to design cool consumer products with a retro style and vintage components. We then make these available to you via the wonders of the Internet.

We didn’t design the Internet though.

Entrepreneurs with a firm foothold in the past, both eyes on the future and touched by just enough madness to make all the difference.


Link to the Project:

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