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Laird of the valve!

aird of the valve. Fascinating is such an inventory—not just on sheer scale but  variety—with its stacked crates of Telefunken double triodes or giant Siemens transmission tubes. Here you can find nearly anything including a whiff of  antique charm permeating the aisles. That’s because BTB Elektronik who  specialize in electron valves of all types already pack a solid 66 years in business and some of their glass bottles can claim even more.

Even certain valve measurement gear as the one above exudes such bygone charm. But it’s not all about yesteryear. Tubes have enjoyed a renaissance to be fashionable once again. They’ve nearly re-entered the mainstream so that valve amp aficionados no longer need to occupy the freaky fringes. But first a quick glance at the past. By 1946 Eugen Queck [framed, above] launched an eponymous engineering bureau which commissioned the production of electron valves and sold them to firms like Saba, Grundig, Nordmende et al. Success wasn’t long in coming and by the mid 50s Queck’s outfit employed some 130 people. 10 years later the German headquarters even had regional offices in Switzerland and Holland. When the emerging transistor threatened displacement and global supremacy, Queck refused to end up on the endangered species list and promptly added semi conductors and other passive electronic parts to their catalogue. By the 70s and early 80s the old valve business had seriously thinned out and whilst a large inventory remained, “much which would make your heart bleed today then ended up in the trash” explained Michael Kaim, today’s boss.

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