In case you don’t know, Nixie tube, or cold cathode display, is an electronic device for displaying numerals or other information using glow discharge. The glass tube contains a wire-mesh anode and multiple cathodes, shaped like numerals or other symbols. Hundreds of variations of this design were manufactured by many firms, from the 1950s until the 1990s. They’ve since become serious collectors’ items and can sell for hundreds of dollars a piece.
Now, we have one example where these tubes can sell for CHF 24,800 ($27,000) when works as limited edition clock offered by Geneva’s M.A.D. Gallery. Created by German artist Frank Buchwald for M.A.D.Gallery and based on an idea by Alberto Schileo, Nixie Machine is is a clock like no other. It is crafted out of burnished steel and brushed brass, and features six glowing 90mm high Nixie tubes from the 1960s. Each one of Nixie Machine’s glowing six digits is displayed via an original, incredibly preserved Z568M Nixie tube manufactured by RFT in East Germany half a century ago.
The six tubes are presented as three pairs – for hours, minutes and seconds, or day, month and year – atop an eye-catching structure built in Buchwald’s signature “heavy engineering” style, as he puts it, that he established in his Machine Lights series. The stunning retro-futuristic design, bearing four legs and body-like symmetry, could have stepped straight out of a sci-fi movie.
Nixie Machine is available in a limited edition of 12 pieces.