Large valves are very fragile and in the days before shock absorbing bubble wrap and expanded polystyrene the standard shipping and storage container was the wooden crate. The crates shown here all date from the WW2 era and the construction used is similar in all cases. An outer box provides strength and rigidity and was typically made of slats. The valve would be suspended inside on a fabric webbing that was attached to the outer frame by shock absorbing springs. The package was still fragile and had to be treated with respect. A drop onto a had floor would still transmit enough force to the valve to cause a breakage.
The BT69 Thyratron came in a crate that measured 643 x 360 x 357 mm. Inside the crate the valve is held by two sets of sprung loaded canvas webbing. In the detail picture below the webbing is clearly seen. When the valve is in place the canvas moulds to the spherical envelope and by placing a considerable area in contact with the glass the loads are not excessive on any single point.
The crate labelled CV1259 actually contained an NT19 valve. The two are very similar in size but differ internally. Clearly this was not the original packing for the valve but exactly the right size to hold the delicate balloon envelope. The crate dimensions are 455 x 326 x 305 mm.
The crate shown above houses an NT36 triode. The NT36 or CV1219 is better known by its civilian name of DA100. The valve is placed in an inner sock that is held together at the top by a draw string. The shock absorbing springs can be seen at the corners of the inner sock. In total eight springs hold this audio triode in place. The crate dimensions are 435 x 214 x 265 mm.
The valve inside this crate is a rectifier designed for Royal Navy use. The type designation is NU5 and the crate still has its original seal. This valve remains sealed.
Mullard silica valve TYS5-3000. All silica valves were very expensive but the cost was offset by the fact that the envelope could be run at much higher temperatures than glass without becoming lossy at RF. Also silica valves were returnable for re-manufacture at the end of their service lives. Our example had been returned from the manufactures and kept in store unused.
The crate for the TYS5-3000 measures 890 x 458 x 458 mm externally. The central support canvas bag houses the box that the valve is packed in, this box measures 672 x 172 x 170 mm and this inner box is made of thin plywood.
The VCR97 crate shown above is made of woven strips of wood which form a close mesh finish.Like the NU5 this VCR97 crate is still sealed. The crate measures 673 x 267 x 267 mm.