vacuum tube

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vac·uum tube

a glass tube from which the air has been removed, containing two or more electrodes, between which passes an electrical current or spark; used in the production of x-rays, or to control circuits. Previously in wide use, the vacuum tube has been supplanted by transistors in electronic circuits.

vacuum tube

A vessel of insulating material (usually glass) that is sealed and has a vacuum sufficiently high to permit the free flow of electrons between the electrodes that extend into the tube from the outside. In England, it is called a vacuum valve.
References in periodicals archive ?
As a result, tungsten filaments became universal in light bulbs, radio tubes, and other devices.
By the 1920s, engineers had at their disposal electric currents, together with radio tubes to control those currents.
The most important technological advance of the century was almost certainly the transistor, a small, rugged device that transmitted current more efficiently than radio tubes. By 1975 microchip circuitry had become so small that personal computers began to be used not only by science and business but by the general public as well.