I encountered them while studying at Warsaw University of Technology. There 
are still dozens of Meratronik multimeters being used there - mostly 
because these are really idiot-proof and students won't destroy them :)  
Having a manual range setting is also a bonus, because students can learn 
about how the measurement is actually done. I doubt that the 5-digit 
display was still useful, as these probably weren't calibrated for years.
I instantly fell in love with the orange glow and the way the digits are 
not in one plane. I didn't know how these were called, but then... I've got 
a message from my friend, that one of the institutes will be disposing old 
equipment. It was not working as intended, but the displays were mostly 
intact. I literally carried as much as I was able to carry - a V-541, a 
PFL-21 and three C549As.  I didn't yet know which tubes are more worthy, if 
I had the knowledge, I would take another C549A instead of PFL-21 ;) 
Since then I am collecting tubes like a maniac - I snipe on internet 
auctions alot and visit local scrap electronics market regularly (that's 
where real deals can be found). I'm still studying and working at the same 
time, so I made only one clock so far, but I'm getting closer and closer to 
a solid base on STM32 microcontroller. 
Right now I own about 300 nixies waiting for better future as clocks.

W dniu niedziela, 4 lutego 2018 19:00:38 UTC+1 u┼╝ytkownik SWISSNIXIE - 
Jonathan F. napisał:
> 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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