The MB&F M.A.D.Gallery has unveiled the third and final Nixie Machine conceptualised by Frank Buchwald – a sculptural table clock which displays the time via fascinating old-school Nixie tubes.
Frank Buchwald’s Machine Lights – an impressive collection of hand-crafted lamps – were part of the initial line-up of artists showcased at the 2011 launch of the first M.A.D.Gallery in Geneva. MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser was so taken by them that the Berlin-based metallic furniture designer and manufacturer’s work soon became a permanent exhibit at the M.A.D.Galleries.
The first Nixie Machine followed a few years later – a clock created around vintage Nixie tubes, following the same alien-like, sci-fi aesthetic. Introduced in the ’50s, Nixie tubes or cold cathode displays, were a popular way of presenting numerals using glow discharge. The name Nixie is said to be derived from the Burroughs Corporation’s NIX I, which stood for Numeric Indicator eXperimental No.1.
Each glass tube is filled with a low-pressure neon-based gas and includes a wire-mesh anode and layered cathodes shaped like numerals (a separate cathode needed for every numeral). When power is applied, a distinctive orange glow discharge surrounds each cathode. Nixie tubes were commonly used for computers, clocks, and frequency counters, and were eventually replaced by more practicable and less costly displays such as LEDs.
With only 18 pieces available, the Nixie Machine III is made of solid stainless steel and all components have been exclusively hand-sanded and polished. Like its predecessors from 2015 and 2017, it has been entirely crafted by hand from design and construction, to the six Nixie tubes.
The electronic heart of the Nixie Machine III takes on an unprecedented approach to telling time. Within the machine’s core are powerful, wi-fi enabled electronics that allow internet connectivity and guarantee both ceaseless accuracy of time without the need for a manual setup.
All its settings and special features – including scroll effects, day/night mode, digital-light dimming, time-zone settings and more – can be set online (no user manual needed). The clock itself is, however, autonomous and can operate both on- and offline.
The Nixie Machine III is available exclusively from the M.A.D.Galleries in Hong Kong, Geneva, Dubai, and Taipei, and at its eShop.
This story first appeared on Prestige Singapore
(All images: MB&F)