Here's What People Used Before LCDs

Illustration for article titled Here's What People Used Before LCDs

In the 1950s folks didn't have snazzy LCD displays, but they did have cold cathode neon readout tubes. Let's take a look inside one of the more popular brands of these tubes—the NIXIE—and marvel over its clever design


These photos are from a teardown conducted by the folks of Evil Mad Scientist Labs and they show the inner workings of a nixie tube—complete with the little stacks of numbers. You can check out more photos and learn more about the magic of these old-school displays over on the Evil Mad Scientist site. [Evil Mad Scientist via Core77]


Andy "What?" M-S

1950s? Let's try early 1970s. Look at a Wang calculator from the period some time, or a ham operator's digital display. This is how they were done.

I first heard of LEDs (as discrete "bulbs") sometime around 1970 (in Model Rocketry magazine, no less!), though by '73 or '74 the seven-segment display was starting to show up everywhere.