We recently left our two part Star Trek blog wondering whether or not thermionic technology ever again appeared in episodes moving on from the pilot episode, The Cage and the answer is a resounding YES. I want to bring your attention to Star Trek TOS, season 1, episode 28, titled The City on the Edge of Forever, from star date 3134.0 or by my calendar February 18, 2326, Time: 21:50:24. This episode first aired on 6th April 1967.
As in the prior posting, I could paraphrase the plot but I am not going to, instead, here is a nice little video of part of this episode showing (excitement) a loved up Tiberius outside a radio shop: -
OK, so Joan and Bill are outside the radio shop well what else, where are the tubes I hear you cry. Well, as Kirk and Spock are marooned in the world of depression era New York City, they try and escape and they can only do this by accessing critical information on Spock's tricorder which Spock manages to do by jury rigging a tube powered interface which you see below: -
There are two things that radio collectors will find familiar about this photo of Spock's contraption, the first thing being that they may have seen something similar before, yes, I think you are right, Spock's inspiration for this build was driven by the Atwater Kent breadboard radios just like the one pictured below:-
The second thing will be the realisation that something is wrong in the photo, yes, you've got it, Spock has inadvertently let out the "magic smoke" that powers thermionic electronics. That'll teach him not to check for leakage and reform cheap or secondhand capacitors before using!
I'll leave you with one more photo from this interesting episode which you will have to watch if you want to discover the reason for Bones' acute discomfort, but I'll leave you with a clue, no he didn't sit on one of Spock's red hot 01 tubes!!!!
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- Tags: atwater, bones, breadboard radio, capacitor reforming, deforest kelly, james t kirk, joan collins, kent, mullard, star trek, tiberius