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Nixie tubes, beautiful relics of early computing, display their numerals with a quivery orange glow. Peter J. Jensen makes Nixie tube clock kits, and it was a joy to put one of them together, thanks to the clear step-by-step instructions and parts envelopes labeled with corresponding numbers.

Jensen designed the clock and circuit board himself, and his elegant sense of aesthetics became apparent to me as I assembled the board and mounted it and the tubes into the handsome metal case. The finished clock looks like the creation of some famous mid-century modern designer. I plan to buy more of Jensen’s clock kits to make and give as gifts.

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.

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