This is a classic 1943 "PR" film about vacuum tubes as used in both military and commercial applications, such as radio telecommunications, radar, and industrial applications. Tubes are still in use, today (transmitting radios, medical applications, audio amplification, and more).

The movie explains the six basic functions of electronic tubes and shows how each type of tube is used in industrial and military applications. Here's the Wiki link regarding vacuum tubes:

A vacuum tube consists of two or more electrodes in a vacuum inside an airtight enclosure. Most tubes have glass envelopes, though ceramic and metal envelopes (atop insulating bases) have been used. The electrodes are attached to leads which pass through the envelope via an airtight seal. On most tubes, the leads, in the form of pins, plug into a tube socket for easy replacement of the tube (tubes were by far the most common cause of failure in electronic equipment, and consumers were expected to be able to replace tubes themselves). Some tubes had an electrode terminating at a top cap which reduced interelectrode capacitance to improve high-frequency performance, kept a possibly very high plate voltage away from lower voltages, and could accommodate one more electrode than allowed by the base.

The earliest vacuum tubes evolved from incandescent light bulbs, containing a filament sealed in an evacuated glass envelope. When hot, the filament releases electrons into the vacuum, a process called thermionic emission. A second electrode, the anode or plate, will attract those electrons if it is at a more positive voltage. The result is a net flow of electrons from the filament to plate. However, electrons cannot flow in the reverse direction because the plate is not heated and does not emit electrons. The filament (cathode) has a dual function: it emits electrons when heated; and, together with the plate, it creates an electric field due to the potential difference between them. Such a tube with only two electrodes is termed a diode, and is used for rectification. Since current can only pass in one direction, such a diode (or rectifier) will convert alternating current (AC) to pulsating DC. This can therefore be used in a DC power supply, and is also used as a demodulator of amplitude modulated (AM) radio signals and similar functions.

This film, in the public domain, is from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives. It has been edited and converted to HD, with reasonable viewing quality.

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