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 Post subject: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Wed 12, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Location: roanoke va
I have a 4 pin globe style tube- bakelite base with no markings on the baseand no number on the tube- the only id is a green and gold sticker on the tube with the name EMPIRE.Seems to be a 01 a-has the side pins.did rca make unmarked tubes for other manufacturers .this tube is silver shielded. thanks for any info.


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Wed 12, 2012 10:29 pm 
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Empire did make early tubes. Their 01A was numbered E-201-A

Empire Electrical Products
New York, NY

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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Thu 13, 2012 12:36 am 
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Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
Quote:
did rca make unmarked tubes for other manufacturers

In a way. RCA/GE/Westinghouse's rejects were bought by surplus dealers around the Newark area and resold under various names.


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Thu 13, 2012 6:39 am 
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Location: Olympia WA USA
IIRC, I had an email conversation with Lud Sibley on this topic and there was an article in the Tube Collector on this topic.
There were somewhere around 40-50 different companies that RCA made tubes for.
I'd have to go look in all the back issues to find the original article.
Most of the tubes will carry a coding on them which tells who made them.

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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Thu 13, 2012 5:03 pm 
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Thanks guys---------- didnt know anyone sold the rejects- good info


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Thu 13, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Location: Orlando, FL, USA
To FrankB...

When Lud talks about RCA branding tubes for other people, he is not talking about the 1920s. The era really extends from the late 1930s into the early 1970s. There are really two classes of how it was done. One class is where OEMs had their tubes branded for them by RCA so the equipment as shipped came with the house brand on the tubes. The list of "50 or so" companies RCA branded tubes for include companies like Wurlitzer and Seeburg. The tubes always mention the true maker and not just the brand (e.g "made for Wurlitzer by RCA"). Of course, the OEMs bought from others too.

The other class are tubes made by RCA for OEMs who also resold tubes. These are brands like Wards, Emerson, and Delco. RCA would make, brand, and box tubes for them. The tubes do not usually say "RCA" anywhere, but have the 274 manufacturers code.

Of course, RCA also traded with other makers like GE and TungSol. Such trades can usually be identified by the way the tube is branded, but the tubes usually do not have the true manufacturers code. They usually carry the manufacturers code of the final seller. Thus you get a TungSol 6550 branded RCA with a 274 code, even though RCA did not make that type.

Jim Cross


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2012 1:01 am 
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Jim,
Thanks for the additional info.
That now makes sense on the markings on some of tubes I have been sorting through; especially some of the OEM types that definately look like they had RCA "guts" but RCA was not on the tube.

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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2012 1:30 am 
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Location: Pocasset, Cape Cod, MA
The surplus rebranding was in the very early 1930s. I think they stopped selling their junk. There was still some business in buying used tubes, washing off the old markings and rebranding. Some RCA ads warned buyers about that.


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2012 6:46 am 
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Very true, Alan. In the 1930s RCA went so far as to stamp "RCA" into all of the box staples to prevent anyone from reboxing used tubes.

Jim Cross


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 Post subject: Re: empire tube
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2012 1:12 pm 
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Location: Long Island
It has been estimated that during the 1920s and early '30s, more than 230 companies made 01A tubes. In addition, more than a few bought dud tubes from radio shops, replaced the filaments, and then re-sold them as "remanufactured." As fast as RCA shut the unlicensed operations down, they moved to different locations and started up again under new names.

So it is entirely possible that your Empire tube came from one of the independent producers and never had anything to do with RCA.

More than a few large tube collections have been based on trying to find 01A's from as many different brands as possible. Some have gotten up to 170 or 180 tubes.

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