The final series of the Nixie Machine series designed by Frank Buchwald for kinetic sculptures emporium M.A.D. Gallery are here. The Nixie Machine III Clock is a limited edition of 18 pieces and in inspired by vintage Nixie tube displays and is steeped in Buchwald’s cyberpunk aesthetic.
The Berlin-based Buchwald is best known for his hand-made “Machine Lights” lamps, these were part of the initial line-up of artists showcased when the first M.A.D. Gallery opened in Geneva in 2011. The first Nixie Machine was unveiled in 2015 and two years later came the Nixie Machine II.
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To recap, Nixie tubes is a relic of the mid-20th century era, the word Nixie derives from “Numeric Indicator eXperimental No. 1” and is an electronic device used for displaying numerals or other information using glow discharge. The glass tube, filled with a low-pressure gas, holds a wire-mesh anode and multiple cathodes, shaped like numerals.
A distinctive orange glow discharge surrounds each cathode when power is applied. Assembled in multi-digit arrays by connecting electronic circuitry to several tubes, Nixie tubes were often used for computers, clocks, and frequency counters, though these were eventually replaced by the more practical, albeit less charming, light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
The six Nixie tubes used on this clock were fabricated by Dalibor Farny, maker of high-end Nixie tubes, and are based on the notable Z568M specification. Made of stainless steel, all components of the Nixie Machine III have been hand-sanded and polished. The shape is reminiscent of a cyberpunk candelabra with the row of tubes extending from the duo-support bracket that’s been riveted to cylindrical tower propped up by a solid tripod-like base.
The clock is WI-FI-enabled and all the settings and features (including scroll effects, day/night mode, digital-light dimming, time-zone settings and more) can be adjusted online. Limited to just 18 pieces, the NMC 3 is priced at 32,000 Swiss Francs.