Friday, May 12, 2023

USA-Made Vacuum Tubes Return

 reports that vacuum tube manufacturing is making a comeback in the United States, and so is the Western Electric brand name. 

Charles Whitener purchased the rights to manufacture Western Electric vacuum tubes from AT&T 25 years ago and is now ramping up his plant in Rossville, Georgia to begin manufacturing a "reimagined" version of the iconic 12AX7 dual triode frequently found in guitar amplifiers, to be followed by others. 

Vacuum tubes remain popular among hams, musicians and audiophiles as tube amplifiers produce a distinctive sound quality. For decades now, tubes have been manufactured primarily in Russia and China, but costs have been increasing along with U.S. sanctions on trade with Russia. A report in Wired magazine on Whitener's tube plant says that "if all goes to plan, the U.S. could once again dominate vacuum tube manufacturing."