I suppose there are two reasons why so many pins are present. One is 
locating the right position of the tube - if you skip most of the pins, 
then orientation can be located only by judging where the front of the tube 
is. If there is only one way to put something in something, then the risk 
of something wrong happening is minimized.
Also, if the socket has all 27 slots present, but the tube doesn't, someone 
might thing his tube is broken, as it has less pins. 
The other reason is that as far as I know the stems weren't produced by the 
same companies, or at least not in same factories, so ordering unique bases 
was more problematic than just purchasing same type as for the other tubes. 

Similar thing goes in signal tubes - many tubes do not utilize all pins 
there are present, but to keep with the standard sockets and to provide 
good grip all pins are produced anyway. For example, there are many single 
triodes with noval base - and those require only 5 pins out of 9.

Voltage stabilizers use extra pins just for rigidness of internal structure 
- they are essentially neon tubes, like nixies, but have larger working 
areas to support currents varying between 5mA and 30-40mA. So their model 
has only two electrodes, but as there are more present in the envelope, 
then why not use them as extra mechanical support.

W dniu piątek, 18 maja 2018 01:20:07 UTC+2 użytkownik Terry Kennedy napisał:
> On Thursday, May 17, 2018 at 12:44:31 PM UTC-4, Jens Boos wrote:
>> Nice observation, Jonathan. Maybe it's the Americanized version of the 
>> GR4G ;-) http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/data/gr4g/gr4g.htm
> That tube must hold the record for "most pins to display the fewest 
> things"! I'm somewhat surprised that they populated all of the pins in the 
> tube base instead of just using enough for positive keying - when I worked 
> in the glass base business, we would have omitted those in the pellet 
> pressing process in order to have a lower chance of leaks after sintering 
> and assembly + flow in the hydrogen furnaces.
> It looks like there are additional digits in the OP's 2-digit tube 
> (possibly 5 per position, hard to tell from the picture). If that is the 
> case, do they seem to be connected to any pins?

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