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Tube sockets were ubiquitous in early electronic equipment to allow vacuum tubes (also known as valves) to be easily removed for testing and replacement. Tubes often failed because the filament burned out, but other failure modes were common. In the heyday of radio and early television, it was common to find a vacuum tube tester in local drug stores, which also sold replacement tubes. Some varieties of nixie tubes were also designed to use tube sockets.

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