Victor Cold Cathode X-ray Tube (ca. 1900-1905)

This is a fairly typical example of a bi-anode x-ray tube. Produced by the Victor company of Chicago.

As seen in the photo, the aluminum cathode is located just inside the point where the glass arm attaches to the left side of the bulb. The glass arm attached to the right side of the bulb surrounds the anode, a simple aluminum rod. The anticathode enters the tube at a 45 degree angle from the top right portion of the bulb.  Since the target at the free end of the anticathode is embedded in a relatively massive copper heat sink, this is what was known as a “heavy anode” tube. Although I can’t be certain, the target itself is probably platinum.  Attached to the copper block and extending up to the right inside the bulb is a black metal tube that would help radiate heat generated at the target.

The "L-shaped" projection from the top of the bulb is the regulator (regenerative device). Its operation was controlled by changing the width of the spark gap between the electrical contact for the cathode and the free end of the wire lever connected to the regulator. If the gas pressure inside the tube became too low, current would jump across the spark gap and heat the asbestos inside the regulator. When it was heated, a chemical mixed with the asbestos would release a gas into the tube - this would cause the pressure to increase.

Victor was founded by C. F. Samms and J.B. Wantz in 1893 in Chicago and incorporated as the Victor Electric Company. Later, they moved their operations to Milwaukee. Between 1916 and 1920, General Electric purchased enough stock to have a controlling interest in the company and renamed it the Victor X-ray Corporation. Shortly thereafter, in 1924, GE moved all Coolidge tube production from Schenectady, NY, to the Victor facility in Chicago. In 1926 GE purchased complete control of Victor’s operations.

The company logo and the tube's serial number (86,353) are etched on the glass arm surrounding the cathode.

Size: approximately 13.5" long with 4.5" bulb diameter


X-Ray and Gas Discharge Tubes               Museum Directory

Last updated: 10/28/10
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