I made this post to share my story how i found my way to nixie-tubes, and 
i'm curious how everyone else came to this hobby :)

My way to nixie tubes was a "double accidental". The very first encounter 
with this type of tubes were around 2001 when i was around ~10-11 years 
old, along my way to school there was a little local scrapyards, where me 
and my friends used to go and collect all kind of materials for more and 
less usefull constructions of electronic. One day we tear apart a old 
calculator that had "strange looking number tubes" and we took a few of 
them home, after a few tries to get them on with a lab power supply and the 
few search request with the internet of that time didn't bring up anything 
helpful, so the tubes ended up in a storage container, which ended back at 
the scrap yard again..
I never seen a vacuum or nixie tube again until 2013. At that time i 
ordered a few GM-Tubes from a bulgarian seller on ebay, he put a few IN-12 
as a gift in the package. I instantly remembered my old scrapyard find, and 
started to reseach these type of tubes just for curiousity. From there on i 
fell in love with the typical orange glow that instantly remains of "old 
age" (from my point of lifespan :-) ) and just looks very beautiful. I 
quickly discovered that there are alot of different types of nixie tubes 
around, so i started collecting them. I also started to find out more about 
old electronic technology, and started to collect all kind of vacuum tubes 
and circuits. About a year in collecting tubes and stuff i noticed that i 
will run out of space.. so i had to decide to only collect nixie tubes 
since they don't take up to much space. Today, 5 years later I own around 
240 different types of nixies with around 600 tubes total.

Im very interested in how you got to the tubes, since there are a lot of 
people here that have seen encountered nixies when they still were a normal 
electronic part and not something considered rare or collectible.

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