O'Neill's Electronic Museum

Penn Valley California

Crookes Tubes


Geissler Tubes

geissler tube 1
                  Geissler Sir William

These tubes were probably made by (or for) Heinrich Geissler, possibly as early as 1850.
Sir William Crookes improved upon Geissler's technology so these are sometimes referred to as "Crookes Tubes".

State of the Art Writings from 1904 "Electric Theory of Matter"
By Sir Oliver Lodge

Address Before The British Association For the Advancement Of Science, 1898
Regarding Psychic Research
By Sir William Crookes

Semi - Technical notes: These tubes were powered using a Rhumkorff Induction Coil. The coil was powered using a standard power supply set to 12 volts. This coil works like the coil of a car in the days when cars used points. As a DC voltage is applied to the coil (charging a capacitor in the wood base) the coil operates like an electro magnet opening the "points". When the points open the capacitor discharges into the coil now acting out it's part as a transformer. It releases it's energy either by jumping the gap set by the adjustable arms (about 3/4 of an inch at most) or by powering the tubes.

Historical Note: I recently saw the text of a letter represented as being written by Sir William Crookes. The letter was a declination for a dinner. Sir Crookes declined due to a previous engagement at a seance. It was unclear to me if he was taking electrical equipment to the seance, but it was my impression is that he was going to perform experiments.

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Unknown and Geissler Tubes

                    discharge tube discharge tube
This is a simple (by comparison) tube with the electrons (called then Cathode Rays) passing through a slot cut in an aluminum plate.
                    tube geissler tube
This is another straight forward style of tube. It is filled with Neon gas.
                    tube geissler
While the top (on the right working) tube of this pair is one of the best electrical "gizmos" I have ever seen, it is also a demonstration of the glass blowers art. The lower tube is a dual chamber tube filled with Neon on the left and Mercury vapor on the right.

Crookes(?) Vane Tube


This is a photo of a demonstration tube. The vanes rotate from the cathode rays (electrons) striking them. The most interesting thing is the white speckles in the photo. They can be easily seen in the larger photos. Upon reflection with some good engineering buddies I realized that these were X-Rays causing misfires in the digital camera.

Crookes Tubes

I will let these photos speak for themselves.
If you choose to view the larger pictures be patient as they are large.
Crookes tubes Crookes tubes

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