I was sent a link to this really cool video of someone in France making their own vacuum tubes. Not a project for the average basement shop, yet amazing that it was done on such a small scale.
Nearly obsolete today, vacuum tubes not that long ago were a mainstay of radio and television equipment. They were so universal that they were mass-produced on assembly lines by the thousands all over the world.
But after being made nearly obsolete by transistors and ICs, the factories are mostly gone and tubes are becoming scarce. Only a few specialty manufacturers still make them in quantity. Most of them are not in the US.
The interesting thing about this video is – besides just the fascinating steps to make the device – is that while the equipment might be slightly unusual for your home workshop, it isn’t all that exotic. You would probably find almost all of it at say a major university. The wide spectrum of skills used, metalworking, glass-blowing, welding, and electronics, is something we don’t train people in anymore. The thing that could potentially make this a lost art is not the technology needed, but the fact that no one person ever seems to learn it all.
Something to be said for being a “Jack of all Trades!”