Crookes Railway Tube (ca. 1910-1940)



Invented (1880s) by William Crookes as part of his investigations into the nature of cathode rays (electrons).

When the high voltage is applied, the paddle wheel travels down the glass "railway tracks" towards the anode. This demonstrates that the cathode rays, which strike the uppermost paddles as they travel towards the anode, possess momentum.

Each paddle has fluorescent strips attached to it that will fluoresce when struck by electrons - cool.


The above figure is from the 1914 catalog of the Otto Pressler company. The drawing is so similar to the example in the collection that it is hard not to conclude that this particular tube was manufactured by Pressler.

Size: approximately 9" long and 2" in diameter

X-Ray and Gas Discharge Tubes               Museum Directory

Last updated: 11/07/07
Copyright 1999, Oak Ridge Associated Universities