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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:50 pm   #1
G6Tanuki
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Default That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Backstory: I was recently talking with some friends when one of them came up with a contentious claim; I responded with "Let's watch that again on the Jumbotron".

They were bemused, even though they were typically in their 50s/early-60s I guess they never watched sports-coverage on satellite-TV in their youth, where the term was commonplace.

It got me thinking about the pervasiveness of the -tron suffix.

Magnetron, Thyratron, and maybe Rhumbatron [a kind of resonant cavity] will surely be familiar to us all.

But who came across the Numitron [a 7-segment display popular in the 1970s for things like petrol-pumps] or Strobotrons, Carcinotrons [a backward-wave microwave oscillator that was extensively used in 1950s/60s RADAR-jammers], or Trigatrons [a kind of ionisation-based spark-gap that could pass massive currents] or Krytrons and Sprytrons that could again pass massive currents with highly-predictable turn-on characteristics that made them ideal for use in nuclear-weapons detonators.

The "-tron" suffix was also used extensively on consumer-stuff; RCA branded its valves as Radiotrons, I can also remember Cleartron and Reliatron as brand-names for US sourced valves.

And "Lumitron" was used as a brand for some phosphorescent backlighters on 60s/70s dials.

What other '-tron' things come to mind?

[OK, yes, the Jumbotron was an 1980s/90s big display used at sports grounds etc to show action-replays of contested referee-calls and the like; it was actually a trademark of Sony but since became a generic name for the things, like Hoover for vacuum-cleaners. See... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumbotron ]
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:09 pm   #2
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Wasn't there a film called Tron, in the eighties?

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:12 pm   #3
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

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Originally Posted by Aub View Post
Wasn't there a film called Tron, in the eighties?

Aub

Yes... someone I know was involved in using a dirty great mainframe computer-of-the-day to generate some of the visuals!
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:15 pm   #4
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

And a recent sequel as well.

'Tron' (or 'Tronic') is one of what I regard as the unholy trinity of bad brand name endings, eg, 'Lloytron' along with '..tone (As in Binatone) or '..sonic' (As in Kingsonic).

If you see any of those attached to the end of a brand name you can be virtually assured that it is low-end, if not actually junk.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:18 pm   #5
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Etronic wasn't bad stuff.

Had many of their sets over the years.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_hers...ompany_id=6418

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:27 pm   #6
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

I was generalising of course, but usually this sort of branding was synonymous with something which had came out of Hong Kong.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:27 pm   #7
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

"Midgetron" was also another use of the -tron name.

They were a brand of valves made by a bunch of people 'moonlighting' and infringing the patents of Hivac, which led to a lawsuit that established precedent in how 'knowledge' gained when someone was working for an employer could then be re-used outside that employ.

https://www.radiomuseum.org/dsp_hers...mpany_id=18629

and

"Hivac Ltd. v. Park Royal Scientific Instruments Ltd. [1946] Ch. 169; 62 T.L.R. 231; [1946] 1 All E.R. 350.)"
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:33 pm   #8
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Apart from Magnetron,and the film, pretty well all of those are a mystery to me. There is another I know, but we don't talk about that.

EDIT: of course I'm ignoring atomic particles, such as Electron that are a little important round here.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:35 pm   #9
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aub View Post
Wasn't there a film called Tron, in the eighties?

Aub
Yes... someone I know was involved in using a dirty great mainframe computer-of-the-day to generate some of the visuals!
Foonly F1.

Actually, most of the effects in the original Tron movie were produced using conventional optical techniques, but there was indeed some ground breaking computer animation.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:45 pm   #10
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aub View Post
Wasn't there a film called Tron, in the eighties?

Aub
Yes... someone I know was involved in using a dirty great mainframe computer-of-the-day to generate some of the visuals!
Foonly F1.

Actually, most of the effects in the original Tron movie were produced using conventional optical techniques, but there was indeed some ground breaking computer animation.
His 'bits' of contribution were more associated with Triple-I, he then went to work for I-Squared-S [IIS] developing geographical-information-systems for things like oilfield prospecting.

He was also a big user of the FR-80 computer-to-35mm-film stuff back then.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:48 pm   #11
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

"Cyclotron". When I was six, in the fifties, one of the very few US Sci-Fi type programs that appeared on BBC 405 lines B+W TV, involved one of these [earliest 1920's] Particle Accelerators in the storyline! I didn't know what it was for years but it's circular shape caught my interest and imagination. When I was 22 I looked at [effectively] an overnight machine minding job at a Manchester University Phsyics Lab. They had these huge circular electro-magnets in the lab and the Professor asked me if they reminded me of anything? I didn't immediately think of a TV CRT tube and the associated coils on the neck but I knew what they were and what they did. He said "We are trying to develop a particle splitter using a magnetic field". When I asked what it was for he said "I don't really know but I think it's it's going to be big!" That was the start of Cerne and the Large Hadron Collider-a much bigger circle than the Cyclotron overall Much later in life, my friend had a partner who worked at the same lab. One of his duties was to take various bits of Kit developed by a Professor and the Team over to Cerne for testing "in-situ". "Positron"-Sub-Atomic Particle.

Dave W

I would never have guessed that a "Jumbotron" was a large scale video screen used in Sports Stadiums. I thought it might be a sports term or something worse!

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:50 pm   #12
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

We did contract work for a local branch of a furniture chain (I'm blowed if I can recall its name atm) and they flogged cheap-as-chips small-screen TV's by the name of 'Global'. They weren't too bad, but the real junker was their music centre that carried the badge 'CapeTronic'. Moulded all in white plastic which was very modish at the time, they sported a cheap turntable with a flimsy arm which wobbled in its mount and a radio tuner which would barely have served in a bedside radio-alarm.
The very worst bit was the cassette deck, which had a fragile smoked 'glass' (plastic) door into which the user would lay the poor cassette tape. Pressing the play lever, the owner would wait for James Last to fire up, but all they would hear would be the sound of their beloved tape being torn and tangled.
Some of these things at least waited a decent interval between purchase and the deadly deed, but others got stuck in right out of the box.. and it was my job to jump in the van, drive up to Rochdale (or wherever, but it was always miles away) to pick the ghastly thing up and stick it on the bench and fit 'new, improved' clutch assemblies. That's the TRON that I remember. Oh, the shop was HARDY's, it's come flooding back in all its horror now.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:55 pm   #13
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Triotron was the trademark of an early valve manufacturer. Then there was Radiotron of course.

A very similar ocurrence happpened with camera lenses, where every other lens name ended in 'or' or 'ar'.


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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:56 pm   #14
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

I suspect the popularity of the 'tron' term comes from 'electronics' in the 1930s.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 8:13 pm   #15
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Fans of C4 comedy Peep Show will recall the Megatron- the bundle of 4 remote controls taped together for convenience. Glad to see no-one has taken the bait regarding Sleeper and Barbarella.

I think that the Klystron valve was involved with the development of 10cm radar small enough to fit into an aircraft's nose.

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 9:09 pm   #16
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

15 posts and not a mention yet of Dynatron, started by the Hacker brothers in 1927.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
'Tron' (or 'Tronic') is one of what I regard as the unholy trinity of bad brand name endings, eg, 'Lloytron' along with '..tone (As in Binatone) or '..sonic' (As in Kingsonic).

If you see any of those attached to the end of a brand name you can be virtually assured that it is low-end, if not actually junk.
Nay, nay, a thousand tines nay!

It's also the name of a variety of oscillator dating back a little further,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynatron_oscillator

Paul
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 9:31 pm   #17
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

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Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
What other '-tron' things come to mind?
Ladytron, by Roxy Music?
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 9:47 pm   #18
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

There is also a band called Ladytron
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladytron_discography

But I think this is not what the thread is about.

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 9:53 pm   #19
dave walsh
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

Ladytron is also the title of a song by Roxy Music [1972]. "You got me girl on the run around, run around!" I wonder if the band of the same name play it? I didn't think that the suffix "tron" was at all explained by the examples I gave but it's from the Greek [no surprise there like "tele"/phone/vision/ graph/gram "from afar"]. Tron means "instrument". Apparently the Metatron was an instrument of the Gods in Greek Mythology! Now define "instrument".
Tron, also a weighing beam in Scotland eg Trongate Glasgow!

Dave W

Last edited by dave walsh; 9th Aug 2023 at 10:20 pm.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 10:55 pm   #20
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Default Re: That ubiquitous "-Tron"

The Emitron TV camera was the first one that came to my mind.
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