Antique Tube Testers

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Supreme 85C

Supreme 85C

In August we ran a few photos of Steve Johnson's excellent collection of radios. This month, we're tuning in on his tube testers. All information courtesy of Steve's website.

Confidence Special

Confidence Special

First, the antique Supreme 85C tube tester is the Great Granddaddy of all corner drug store tube testers. This was made for radio shops front counters. It's an early Supreme 85C Tube Tester designed to allow customers to test their own vacuum tubes. The tube chart and operating instructions pull out on a wooden slide from the front bottom.

Triplett Model 1310

Triplett Model 1310

Next, is a Confidence Special tube tester. When Supreme Instruments founder Jewell R. Williams left Supreme Instruments in the 1930s, he started the Apparatus Design Company in Little Rock Arkansas and manufactured these “Confidence” and other model tube testers.

Finally, the Triplett Model 1310 tube tester tests early 4- and 5-pin tubes from the 1920s and 1930s. It is a Triplett 1210 tester in the Triplett 1211-A case, which was also available separately. This is a working tester that uses an 01A tube. The tube settings are listed on the metal plates on each side of the case.

Check out more antique radio equipment at

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