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History of the manufacturer  

Arcturus Radio Tube Co.; Newark, NJ

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Name: Arcturus Radio Tube Co.; Newark, NJ    (USA)  
Abbreviation: arcturus
Products: Tube manufacturer
Arcturus Radio Co., 253 Sherman Avenue, Newark becomes later Arcturus Radio tube Co., 220 Elizabeth Avenue, Newark. The company was licensed by RCA in 1929. It used blue glass envelopes for several years. See Tyne page 352 and Stokes page 79.

The company sold radio panel/dial lamps for a few years, in company boxes. It is probable these were made by General Electric 

Founded: 1927
Text on the "Blue Arcturus Tubes": The first information is found in September of 1927 and in October 1927 there can be found ads. The first tubes had carbon heaters for 15 volts AC. One heater lead is tied internally to the cathode. The idea was to "electify" battery receivers with a standard 4 pin tube. There were 7 tubes in the 15 volt series with numbers running from AC22 to AC48. Arcturus did not use the "AC" prefix on the tube numbers in their ads, but the earliest production tubes were so marked on their bases. The early ads made no mention of blue glass and indeed not all of the original 15 volt series had blue bulbs. The early production of the AC30 and AC40 (both power tubes) had clear tipped bulbs. Later versions had blue bulbs. The AC32 (hi-mu type) has been seen with an amber bulb, and other variations may exist. While this first series was not a huge commercial success, sales were sufficient to continue manufacturing into 1933 as evidenced by their inclusion in the Spring 1933 Federated Purchaser catalog.

In June of 1932 types 46, 56, 57, 58, and 82 were announced. August of 1932 saw the addition of the 41, 42 and 44. The 41 is shown in one Arcturus brochure as the PA. No samples of a tube marked PA have been seen. By September the line included types 134, 55, 59, 83, 85, 89, and GA. The GA was a 5 volt power pentode for DC use. Intended to replace the 71A in new designs, it had higher gain and greater output power capability. It did not catch on, and has no known usage in commercial receivers.

In July of 1932 the Wunderlich special detector was announced. This tube has two co-planer grids which when properly driven causes the RF to cancel out leaving only the audio signal at the plate. The Wunderlich Type A have a 2.5 volt heater and were made in two different styles, a 5 pin with a top cap and a 6 pin without the cap. The Type A Auto has a 6.3 volt heater and came only as a 6 pin. The Type B has an extra element called the anode grid and could provide amplified AVC. The B has a 6 pin base with top cap and a 2.5 volt heater. The Type B Automotive is the same with a 6.3 volt heater.

In April of 1933 four more special tubes were announced, the AD, AE, AF and AG. The AD is a half-wave rectifier similar to the Type 1 but having a fuse in the plate lead. The types AF and AG are the same as the 82 and 83 but with protective fuses in the plate leads. In an Arcturus technical bulletin of May 1934 the AD and AE were no longer listed, and the AF and AG were shown only as reference designations to the 82 and 83.

One other 1933 release of note was the 39/44. This tube replaced the earlier types 139A and 44, which have similar characteristics. The interesting feature of this tube is that some were made with blue bakelite bases, the only Arcturus tube known to use that construction.

From 1928 until the mid 1930's, the Arcturus Developmental Company research staff applied for over 80 patents on tubes, tube parts and manufacturing equipment for tubes. Clarence A Horn was one ot these researchers and he developed the "Coronet" metal glass tubes. Two patents were issued to him for tube development and manufacturing equipment, respectively. As was company policy, all patents were assigned to the ADC. The first patent was for "Electric Tube Construction" and was given Application serial no 53848. This was on December 11, 1935 and patent no 2107254 was issued on February 1, 1938. The second patent was entitled:"Metal Tube Construction". This application was given serial number 60588 on January 24, 1936. Patent no 2190788 was issued on February 20, 1940.

Arcturus made a number of tubes for other companies, only some carried their name. Best known are Sonora/Arcturus types which have special numbers but are equivalent to other Arcturus tubes. Crosley/Arcturus series have standard numbers. Some tubes were also made for Sears under the WLS logo. The WLS 4631 is a 127, tipped but using clear glass. Less common is the 686 made for a few Sparton receivers. This tube is a 3 volt battery triode which has a 5 pin base with one unused pin. Blue bulbs were used but the Arcturus name is not present. Some of these tubes are marked 686 but most have no marking at all. The 686 was only used in two late model battery sets made by Sparton. One theory holds that Arcturus made these briefly for Sparton before Sparton had tooled up this type in their own tube factory.

The three digit number system was dropped before the use of blue glass stopped and almost all of the 100 series numbers can be found as two digit numbers. In some cases four different number variations were used. As an example the 137 became the 137A, was shortened to 37A and finally ended as the 37. Some later types can be found with clear bulbs but marked "Arcturus Blue" in blue paint. You find a more complete and pictured article at "".

After the development in 1934 by RCA, of metal-glass tubes, a few established manufacturers made these but in a bigger bulb and metal tube (shield). The Arcturus company developed the "Coronet" series of metal clad tubes (different to those made by RCA and the others). Their tubes used a novel design of glass disc, or button, which held the leading-in wires in place in what they called a "coronet formation". This enabled the height of the tubes to be reduced by about 15 m. The 6H6 was an exception to this and was actually about 15 mm taller than the standard 6H6. All tubes had octal bases and there were twelve tubes originally released in 1935, all replacements for tubes with 4,5,6 or 7 pin bases. Arcturus sold an adaptor with each if these tubes so that socket replacement for the octal base was not necessary. The 27, 51, 78 and 2A6 are examples of these. In a short time Arcturus added 10 more tubes to the list and all these tubes had octal bases with no need for the adaptor. As far as is known, the diameter of all the Coronet tubes was 32 mm. While the tubes are branded Arcturus Coronet, this name is not a brand name but recognizes a tube series.     

Following the development, by General Electric and release by RCA, Arcturus, being licensed by RCA, was able to make a series of transmitting and rectifier tubes. The company made nine different types. These all had the prefix E7; thus an RCA UV211 is an Arcturus E711 or 866 E766 etc. One advertisement found for the tubes is on page 2 of "Radio Engineering" magazine, February 1932. 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

Adv. Radio Broadcast, May 1930tbn_usa_arcturus.jpg
QST magazine November 1927tbn_arcturus_ac28_qst_1127.jpg
Radio Magazine December 1929tbn_arcturus_radio_1229.jpg
Type 47 dial bulbs made for Arcturus by GE c. 1935tbn_arcturus_radio_dial_lamps_47.jpg
Radio Engineering October 1927tbn_arcturus_re_1027.png
Radio Engineering February 1932tbn_arcturus_re232.png
radio Engineering March 1932tbn_arcturus_re332.png
Radio Engineering April 1931tbn_arcturus_re431.png
Radio Engineering April 1932tbn_arcturus_re432.png
Radio Engineering September 1932tbn_arcturus_re932.png
Radio Engineering October 1930tbn_arcturus_re1030.png
Radio Engineering October 1932tbn_arcturus_re1032.png
Radio Engineering November 1927tbn_arcturus_re1127.png
Radio Engineering November 1931tbn_arcturus_re1131.png
Radio Engineering December 1932tbn_arcturus_re1232.png
Radio Engineering September 1929tbn_arcturus_rn929.png
Radio Engineering March 1932tbn_arcturus_wunderlich_re332.png
Radio Broadcast Advertiser July 1929tbn_arcturus_rba_729.png
Electronics April 1930tbn_arcturus_p4_advert_e430.png
QST November 1927tbn_adv_qst_11_1927.jpg
Arcturus Ad, Electronics, April 1931, 1st pagetbn_arcturus_551.jpg
Arcturus Ad, Electronics, April 1931, 2nd pagetbn_arcturus_pz_ad.jpg
Arcturus brochure September 1932tbn_arcturus_brochure_september_1932.jpg
Electronics April 1932tbn_arcturus_electronics_april_1932.jpg
Electronics March 1932tbn_arcturus_electronics_march_1932.jpg
Shop sign c. 1929tbn_arcturus_tube_advert_c._1929_e122.jpg
Joe Knight collection USAtbn_arcturus_spare_tube_kit.jpg


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