Site Chronology.

December 30, 2013. As this year draws to a close I wish to thank everyone who has supported the museum this year from proof-reading, suggesting enhancements and donations of exhibits to donations of funds. In all cases it has been much appreciated. In the first few months of the year I completed the re-research of all exhibits adding references, data and PDF's where possible. I have looked at the additions made to the body of the museum in 2013. Entries have increased by 311 to 3413, another 14 additional technical items have been added together with 154 adverts, 32 boxes, 16 timeline articles, 11 films, 357 equivalents and 70 main articles (each article takes best part of a whole day). Photographs have increased by 1141, Type names by xxx and PDF data-sheets by 470. The museum exceeds two DVD's and so the on-line friends site was launched with all of the images, articles and films. A 16Gb SDHC card option is also available.

October 14, 2013. A new trawl of CV valves to add CV specification data sheets wherever possible. Post Office valves re-named to POVT, this matches the CV sheets. The original was a VT No.nn format. See POVT38 box. Software updated to keep CVnnnn in the database but output without leading zeros in all pages. This improves the search functionality. The Summer has been marked by several significant donations of valves and documents - thanks to all.

May 29, 2013. Added advert indexes by year in Timeline section. Added more references.

May 1, 2013. The re-researching is drawing to a close with just 76 exhibits left to examine. The .PDF count has increased with some that will be new to the Internet. As of 06/04/2013 the museum has become my main occupation as I have said goodbye to the day job.

March 6, 2013. By chance testing it was found that the on-line search index had been faulty since Autumn 2011. The 'auto' setting on Cute FTP Pro uploaded the Zoom files as ASCII not binary. In the past month all of the re-researching of entries with PDF files has been completed, some 2631 entries. Dates of introduction have also increased in both number and accuracy.

February 2, 2013. In past weeks the process of re-researching all exhibits and adding references has accelerated and the number completed is 1984. This means that we have much more accurate date information, more data and a greater number of entries with data-sheets. In fact 2124 out of 3139 exhibits currently have data-sheets attached. Both Thrower and are good secondary sources of date information. They do not always agree.

December 24, 2012. Firstly a heart felt thanks to all who have supported the museum this year with donations and help. Looking back, this year has seen many software updates and enhancements. To add more rigor to the data I have added references as to where I have found information - over 800 exhibits to date have been annotated. I have also looked at the additions made to the body of the museum itself. Entries have increased by 162 to 3102, another 13 additional technical items have been added together with 240 adverts, 28 boxes, 29 timeline articles, two films, 65 equivalents and 32 main articles. Photographs have increased by 569, Type names by 140 and PDF data-sheets by 55. Stock waiting to be looked at fills many boxes.

August 4, 2012. Today team GB win six gold medals in the London Olympics. To date we have 3024 exhibits, 120 articles plus 100 additional text features, 592 adverts, 142 boxes and the DVD is almost full. The second DVD contains 11 films. With space running out on the DVD the software has been upgraded to dynamically resize the hi-res rather than have a second low-res image on the DVD. This has saved almost 0.5Gb.

March 2012. Time to add site branding to every page after I met a regular user who did not connect the non exhibit pages with the site name.

February 2012. Advert numbers exceed 500. Thanks to Stig Comstedt and his diligent proof-reading, a number of spelling and typographic errors have been removed. It is very difficult to proof-read ones own work especially when the text has been OCR'd from an ancient magazine and dozens of errors have already been removed. Studio Ace of Spades has produced posters of warm tone and cold tone. The former has been based on the EL34 image.

January 2012. With over 400 vintage adverts the single html page had been outgrown. The data was transferred to a spreadsheet, thumbnails generated and software written to output the individual makers pages. The design was harmonised with the manufacturers listings of valves and the two systems linked together. The films have been placed on a separate disc making the DVD a two disc set.

December 2011. Entries are up to 2930, and again this year the emphasis has been on increasing primary data, the list of Wireless World issues (280) in the archive has grown considerably plus: datasheets (1162), articles (106), adverts (354) and boxes (130). I have also been improving the accuracy wherever possible, entries carry reference sources and the VT question has been addressed. VTxx is UK RAF Valve Transmitting, VT-No.xx is UK Valves Telephone and VT-xx is the American Government Vacuum Tube nomenclature. Donations have kept the site on-line and allowed for the acquisition of the Wireless World magazines - thanks to all.

August 2011. The museum office area was overfull and needed a re-organise. I replaced the four XP based computers with a small form factor HP quad core machine running Windows 7 Professional 64 bit. Space gained, yes, but then the scanner and most of the software has had to be replaced. The XP Mode allows use of my 20 year old compiler and museum software.

February 2011. With the increase in primary date information from all the adverts, the museum has been expanded to present date information in the equivalents pages and exhibits. The year of introduction given in the exhibit is also a link to an index of other valves introduced in that year. The references have been expanded and where cited link to the reference and an image of the cover.

December 2010. Entries are up to 2814 but the big expansion has been in adverts (269), boxes (88) and time-line features (62). These items give primary data on dates direct from the manufacturers. The museum has 1163 PDFs, 90 articles and 86 technical features. The DVD has 3.86Gb of data and will split into two next year. Once again I would like to thank all those who have supported the museum with donations in the past year.

October 2010. I was deeply honoured to receive the Schrader award from the Tube Collectors Association. Many thanks.

September 2010. The adverts and boxes sections have been combined and greatly extended.

July 2010. Many of the early photographs have been re-mastered to improve image quality.

March 2010. The site software was updated to make the web pages appear correctly in all of the major browsers.

February 27th 2010. The museum is now in its 11th year on-line. All adverts now have hypertext links to the valves featured and the images have been re-mastered. The time-line has been enhanced with the addition of 50+ small articles from the Wireless World Golden Jubilee review published in April 1961. Each week the museum now welcomes over 20,000 on-line visitors.

December 2009. The exhibit count stands at 2,585 after a Summer and Autumn devoted to house and garden. The 2007 studio has been relocated into the radio shack and all of the computer collection has been donated to another museum. The AEI electrons series was this Autumn's project. The DVD now has 30,000 files and occupies 3.5 Gb. Also on the DVD is a pin finder spreadsheet. With this spreadsheet one can identify a valve's probable identify by observing which connections go to each pin. Site traffic has continued to grow and my thanks to all who have made donations towards the running costs. Most appreciated.

May 2009. The site now has 2,527 exhibits. After what seems a very short time the valve store is being re-organised once more. The new shelving will hold 100 plastic boxes with lids. This will provide space for an estimated 12,000 valves.

December 2008. After G3JMB passed away in 2004 I inherited all of the 'junk' from his radio shack, part of this assortment was an old small brown leather suitcase full of decaying newsprint magazines. Looking at them again I discovered a wealth of articles and adverts - primary data. Also this month I completed the Maplin article series and some extracts from the Mullard Circuits for audio amplifiers 1045. The exhibit count is up to 2450 with 9,000 entries in the equivalents list. The DVD is now 2.48 Gb and has 28,569 files. The search facility is very popular with some 2500 visits to the search page each week.

November 2008. The monthly downloads from the site exceeded 40Gb and the web hosting had to move to the next package to give a predictable cost each month. The site is receiving about 15,000 visits each week and the page views are touching 80,000 per week. That is some 4,000,000 pages viewed a year.

September 2008. 2317 exhibits thanks to a wet summer. A copy of Spangenberg's 1001 excellent book has been added to the library and a references section added to the museum. Wherever possible primary sources are used for maximum accuracy. The visitor numbers have grown to over 11,000 per week with about 55,000 page hits a week. Also launched is a project to record the industrial history as experienced by the people connected directly with it. The DVD minimum donation is 15 Euros.

April 2008. 2118 exhibits. Photoshop elements 6 is now in use and small changes to the way the program works have made significant improvements to the image preparation for the museum. The main camera remains the Olympus E20 but for macro photography a 60 mm Micro-Nikkor has been added to the Nikon D80 system. I had wanted a search facility from the start but how to achieve it remained a problem. Following a user's comment at the end of March I spent a day researching the problem again. Zoom Search provided the answer with tools for both on-line (uses the web server) and off-line for the DVD (uses Javascript). The graphics for the search logo were again designed by ToriArts.

January 2008. 2113 exhibits. The equivalents database has been updated using the 1969 CV register. The software has been revamped to include the data-sheet references in the equivalents listings as well as the exhibits, together with a new batch process control system. The programs now write directly to destination directories in lower case. The web server is unix based and the file names are case sensitive.

November - December 2007. The equivalents database has been overhauled by comparing with the eighth edition of the Wireless World Radio Valve Data book 1040. Wherever possible primary data sources are used ie manufacturers data, where this is not possible I have used contemporary secondary sources such as the Wireless World publications and the AVO valve tester data books 4001 4002.

Summer 2007. With the kind permission of Frank Philipse, many of his PDF data-sheets were incorporated into the museum. This has the twin benefits of enriching the museum and reducing the costs of his web hosting by reducing traffic. Many thanks.

November 2006. The stats at this date were: 7,318 equivalents, 3000 Type designations listed within 1,910 exhibits. Also the museum had 100 short form entries without images.

March 2006. The exhibits database had grown to 1,800 and the equivalents was at over 7,300 entries. The high resolution images exceed 680 Mb and the museum had outgrown the CD format for distribution. The first DVD edition was launched with 835 Mb of data and 14,141 files. The web statistics showed over 5,000 separate visitors a week for the first time.

January 2006. Photoshop Elements was added to the photographic system. The move away from Photoshop 4.0 enabled the use of the 10Mb RAW file images from the E20 camera. This immediately raised the image quality and simplified the picture handling.

2005. By September it was possible to increase the museum to 1,700 exhibits and expand the equivalents system. At over 6,000 equivalents the computer processing load had increased to the point where the merging of the exhibits database with the equivalents Excel file now took place in four stages.

2004 was a year of activity at work and slow growth of the museum.

December 2003. By the end of 2003 the museum was well loved by its users but the site had only grown slowly from the initial burst of activity. The records show some 16,000 page hits per week, more importantly we were regularly attracting 1,800 different users each week. With the aid of my artist daughter the site typography was transformed. Cascaded style sheets were introduced. The redesign also involved an overhaul to the code generating programs that transform the database into pages of HTML for uploading and use.

Summer 2002. An Olympus E20 digital camera was purchased to take the photography to a new level.

July 2001. As curator of an Internet museum with an appetite for cash, it was necessary to also have full time paid employment.

June 2001. As well as The RadCom article we were also featured in Radio Bygones.

June 2001. The site by now had 1176 valves, 3046 valve names and over 4100 equivalents. In total the site covered 2,892 files and 46.1 Mb. Hosting moved to a professional server company. The site statistics by then were showing a visitor rate of 40,000 per annum and a peak page hit rate of over 15,000 pages per day.

Summer 2000. The exhibits grew steadily in number to over 700. By October the number was in excess of 800 thanks to several generous donations.

July 2000. The then current edition of the UK Amateur Radio magazine RadCom, presented a review of the site, this boosted visitor figures to a rate of 10,000 per annum.

April 2000. The museum photographs went digital with a Sony SLR camera.

March 5th 2000. The exhibit list reached 127, with 1326 index terms presented.

February 20 2000. The first 46 full exhibits were uploaded together with the metal valve dissection article.

February 2000. The site was first launched on February 5th by the uploading of the equivalents system. This had taken three weeks of solid work in early January. The first edition had 3700 references.

January 2000. The software and database systems were designed and tested. From the outset of the project it was planned to offer a CD version of the museum so that the valves could be seen in detail in high resolution photographs. At the end of the software generation process a careless deletion erased all of the source code. A moment too traumatic to get angry. However, within 24 hours the programs were re-written and improvements made.

December 1999. An Internet Museum idea was forming. The technology of the 19th century, Steam Power, was large and impressive and readily attracted visitors to the remaining examples of Victorian Engineering. By contrast the defining technology of the 20th century, Electronics, was lacking in large visible artefacts. An exhibition of valves fails to capture the imagination, even of the converted. But - take a detailed photograph and the valves becomes a work of art sealed in a vacuum to preserve it over time. Not only a time capsule, but also a working demonstration of the black art of electronics.


Return to About or Main Index