(old) Tung Sol manufacturer date codes?

Laurence

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Hi,

I just picked up (bought) the newest looking Tung Sol tube and box I've ever seen. The box looks to be from the 1960s (I understand they stopped in about 1967). The tube is a 5V4GA with a 322544-3 code.



I've been doing some homework on the codes and I know 322 is old Tung Sol, but it seems the date codes weren't consistent.

Any ideas? Thanks!
 

Timbre Wolf

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The Tung-Sol EIA code is 322, and it is followed by the year of production - 1954, in this case. Are you sure that there isn't another digit following that final "4" (just before the "-3")?
 

Timbre Wolf

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Actually, that is to be expected. Shortly after that time (1954), Tung-Sol added the other digit that can be seen, up until they began using a letter code. Thanks for the photo!
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
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8,326
Cool 5V4. What amp are you planning to use it in?
I have three of these tubes, two RCAs and this Tung Sol. I used to use them to pump up a 5Y3 based amp ('64 Princeton, GA20, whatever) for a bit more headroom if the amp had solid caps and could 'take it'. I have 5R4GY tubes for that as well, but they are physically very large.

Now I'm saving these for 5AR4 replacements (almost) unless I can get some nice older 5AR4 at a reasonable price. Good old 5V4 tubes can be had for reasonable money. 5AR4 tubes are crazy money for a rectifier (in my old man humble opinion).

I have a '61 Super and a '67 black line SFPR that take the 5AR4 rectifier.
 

Timbre Wolf

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Now I'm saving these for 5AR4 replacements (almost) unless I can get some nice older 5AR4 at a reasonable price. Good old 5V4 tubes can be had for reasonable money. 5AR4 tubes are crazy money for a rectifier (in my old man humble opinion).
5V4 can sometimes be a good sub for a GZ34/5AR4. I used one in a Vox AC30 for several years, and I liked it. You'll lose some low-end thump in your Fender amps.

Thanks for your help!
Glad to help, if I can!
 

Jeff West

Member
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The 5V4 code is for 44th week of 1955, in this case. Later in the decade they started adding both last digits of the year, e.g., “3225944-3” for 44th week of 1959.

Btw- there’s now a reprinted Tung-Sol reference for some (but not all) of the mysterious capital letter date codes they used with the 322 often in the ca. 1960-65 period.
 

Timbre Wolf

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The 5V4 code is for 44th week of 1955, in this case. Later in the decade they started adding both last digits of the year, e.g., “3225944-3” for 44th week of 1959.

Btw- there’s now a reprinted Tung-Sol reference for some (but not all) of the mysterious capital letter date codes they used with the 322 often in the ca. 1960-65 period.
Well, I screwed that up royally. Thanks for kicking my ass back in line once again, Jeff. How embarrassing! I forgot this ‘50s Tung-Sol code where the missing digit was the “5” in the tens place, not a digit from the week.

Apologies for mistakes earlier in the thread.

I love ya bro! :D
 

Jeff West

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1,037
Hey Thom- I didn't mean to be kicking anybody!

When I have a little more time I'll post here on the T-S codes "HD" to "MR", covering a period 1/31/60 through 7/31/62, as given in a T-S publication identified by Tom Bryant. It takes a little explanation of what the dates mean, though, they're not dates of manufacture.

Stay healthy, all!
 

Jeff West

Member
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1,037


As an example of what we're talking about with two-letter Tung-Sol codes, consider the T-S branded early pressed stem/bottom getter 6L6GC on the left above (yeah it was made by RCA in this case, but branded for T-S, they are the sponsor of sale responsible for warranties, etc., so they can put their "322" EIA manufacturer code and other codes on it for sale or OEM, even though they sourced it from another maker). The "KR" portion indicates a date period ending on 7/31/61. The "3" on the right is for "Tung-Sol internal purposes only"; it may designate the factory, since T-S did use "3" as a factory code, but not positive that's what it means in this position. More to follow . . .
 

Jeff West

Member
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1,037


As an aside, this illustrates that around mid-late 1956 is when they added the tens place/decade character (also verified with many other examples; to my recollections, 1957 dated specimens seem to always have the "5" ).
 




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