For a more detailed discussion on the use of valve amplifiers in specific applications, see Valve audio amplifier, Valve RF amplifier, and Valve rf power amplifiers for wireless communications pdf amplifier technical specification. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A valve amplifier or tube amplifier is a type of electronic amplifier that uses vacuum tubes to increase the amplitude or power of a signal. Low to medium power valve amplifiers for frequencies below the microwaves were largely replaced by solid state amplifiers during the 1960s and 1970s.
Until the invention of the transistor in 1947, most practical high-frequency electronic amplifiers were made using thermionic valves. The simplest valve was invented by John Ambrose Fleming while working for the Marconi Company in London in 1904 and named the diode, as it had two electrodes. The diode conducted electricity in one direction only and was used as a radio detector and a rectifier.
In 1906 Lee De Forest added a third electrode and invented the first electronic amplifying device, the triode, which he named the Audion. This additional control grid modulates the current that flows between cathode and anode. The relationship between current flow and plate and grid voltage is often represented as a series of “characteristic curves” on a diagram. Depending on the other components in the circuit this modulated current flow can be used to provide current or voltage gain.