Hickok Card-O-Matics

During the '60s both RCA and Hickok (possibly on urging from the military) produced tube testers that required the least amount of human intervention or interpreting possible, the Card-O-Matics.

Computers were becoming popular and the thught was that if a punch card could control a computer or cryptographic machine, they could control anything and tube testers were a candidate. For every tube in the inventory there would be a punch card. Place tube in tester, place appropriate card in tester, and push button. Simple and foolproof except that the fools are so inventive.

Probably the biggest problem was keeping the inventory of cards for all of the tubes which grew to a complete set of over 5,000 cards since multistage tubes required multiple cards. In the case of the UMB-118 which was a two man lift and the size of a medium suitcase, there was a second case required just for the cards. This has surprised collectors in the past on purchasing a 118 with about 500 cards in its case only to find there is another entire case of cards they are missing.

The Model 1234 (civillian)/UMB-118(A|B) (military) - here A & B refer to the case, cards in A and tester in B - and not revisions - is the military version of the Hickok 1234 tester which is very similar in panel layout.Note the 6000/800-like socket module plus three other sockets for Compactrons, subminatures, and inline tubes on the main chassis. Just visible under the screen are the tops of the EIGHT tubes used in the 118: 6AU6, 6CL6, 0A2, 6AW8A, 6CD6GA, 6C4WA, 6203, and 5U4GB. Two transistors (Q1 & Q2) are hidden elsewhere.

The UMB-118 also came with two "standard test units" - electrically active sockets which could be plugged in for calibration purposes, a punch, and a selection of blank cards to enable creation of cards for new tubes.


Hickok UMB-118 aka TS-1429 (Model 1234 similar)

Besides the 1234/UMB-118 Hickok listed two other Card-O-Matics, the entry level model 121 and the repair technician level 123.


Hickok models 121 and 123A Card-O-Matics