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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tube Box Art, Part 8: Arcturus


Today I will show the tube boxes of a radio tube manufacturer who was famous for the beautiful artwork: Arcturus.

I could not find much about the history of this company. It was founded in the 1920ies in Newark, New Jersey, USA. The actual year of their incorporation seems unclear. Some sources state 1927, others 1926. On some of their boxes it says 'since 1925'.

They were famous for the use of an observatory as motif on their boxes, as on this packaging of the 101A (equivalent to the UX201A):

The photo above shows all 4 sides of this stunning box. Another trademark of Arcturus was the use of blue glass for their tubes. Here a photo with one of the 101A unboxed:
The next photo shows 4 boxes of the 37 triode, the artwork has changed a little, but it kept the observatory as the theme:
The tube sin this box are globe shaped 37s, still with the beautiful blue glass:

A close up of the tube:

The top and bottom sides got closed with pieces of cardboards which got attached to the main box with little metal clips as seals:

The tube could not be removed from the box without damaging the seal. This was a way to ensure the tube was unused. The tube could be tested in the box, without removing them. The seals corroded a bit over time but are still intsct on these boxes.

A close up of the seal:

The boxes of a 71A (left) and a 45 (right):

When they changed to ST style tubes no more blue glass was used.

Another style of 45 boxes, still carrying the observatory:

The inner box kas the main motif and is protected by an outer sleeve. More views of this style packaging:

A shot of the packaging with the tube:

The observatory was kept well injto the era of octal tubes. Here a 6SF5 and 12SF5:

Top and bottom of the boxes:

As all the tube manufacturers, they also changed to simpler, less fancy motifs later on, here the boxes of 6AX4 TV damper tubes:

Top and bottom views.

The photo above gives the indication for 1925 as the founding year. I have no information how long this company produced tubes, or if they got acquired by another company at some time.

Best regards



  1. Hi Thomas!

    I think thats exactly my kind of tube box art;-)!
    The connection of space technologies and electron tubes fits really nice.
    I will try to get some of them for the next project!

    Best regards,

  2. It is nice work. Hard to find those tubes though!