Is there a tube manufacturer in the house?

Discussion in 'Chat' started by K4TQF, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

  2. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Not much for sale yet, only two tubes. Looks like maybe they just started.
     
  3. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    I think they have been around awhile. They are located in Oceanside, CA just north of San Diego. Looks like their only client may be the DOD

    http://www.mu-inc.com/aboutus

    Manta:
    Categorized under Electron Tubes, Nsk. Our records show it was established in 1965 and incorporated in California. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $1 to 2.5 million and employs a staff of approximately 1 to 4.

    This from Charles Alexinian:

    "...Not knowing any better I simply picked up an old copy of the Thomas Register. For those of you generally under 40 that was our version of Google, and resembled a set of 10 yellow pages.

    I started calling companies listed under “Electron Tube Manufacturers” until I got a voice on the other end. Most of the numbers would ring to the familiar “this number is no longer in service” message, but in one lucky case I found I was talking to a Mrs. Roni Elsbury, nee Ulmer of M.U. Inc. Her company is one of the only remaining firms still engaged in the production of traditional style vacuum tubes in the U.S. Ever since then I have enjoyed occasional journeys down to her facility to assist her in maintenance of the equipment, work on tooling, and help to solve little engineering challenges that keep this very artisanal process alive. ..."
     
  4. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    But they only have two tubes listed for sale.

    Sounds like one of those places that once was and decided to come back and try it again after 50 years. It's probably just one person.
     
  5. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    From the horses' mouth...

    "...And Yes, we have been in continuous production since 1965.
    R. Elsberry
    M U Inc."

    The DOD must need a lot of rectifiers !
     
  6. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

  7. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    Long long time ago…

    They are in Palo Alto just off of Page Mill Road and when I lived in Sunnyvale I had an interview setup with them while I was unemployed around 2003, but then Analog Devices called and hired me right before the interview with CPI was suppose to happen so I canceled it. They were looking for someone to analyze and characterize the tubes in the lab and during burn-in, etc.
     
  8. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Mrs. Ellsbury down at MU Inc probably has no idea she is sitting on a gold mine, or at least, a silver mine. With the Russians closing their tube factories... It will soon fall to the Chinese to meet the demand for RF and audio tubes. I'm betting there is a large enough demand out there to command decent prices for "Made in the USA" tubes.
    I guess the Chinese will follow the path of the Japanese after WW2... the quality of their products will improve over time. I have seen some improvement over the past 25 years.
     
  9. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    That would have been a cool gig !
     
  10. W5HRO

    W5HRO Administrator

    I really don't think the job would have been that stable though and why I wasn't that interested in pursuing it. My career was up in the air at that point and it could have gone in about 3 different directions. I also almost went to work for Nextel right about the same time maintaining cell sites in Santa Clara including the Palo Alto area. That was my stomping ground for almost 10 years. Nextel became Sprint about a year later and I doubt the vacuum tube industry is very much in demand anymore. Once the TV and radio stations buy enough spare ceramic tubes it's probably a while before they need anymore.
     
  11. K4TQF

    K4TQF Member

    Just happened to run across this while searching for an old Acremeter tube tester from 1930.

    "MU Incorporated Contract manufacturer. Made occasional production runs of obsolete tube models for special purposes."

    Wonder what their minimum is?