back to article Atomic keyring's eerie blue glow lights SPB lab

The news last week that El Reg merchandising tentacle Cash'n'Carrion had sourced new tritium-powered glowrings prompted some atomic-powered nostalgia from those readers who'd bought the original Traser. Way back in 2002, we laid our hands on a big batch of these novelty keyrings, and promptly shifted thousands of them. No …

  1. 27escape

    Atomic glowring

    It would be awesome if you had actual rings. That would make decoder rings like toys for kids ;)

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Just curious...

    So how many of these keyrings would one need to boost the performance of a run-of-the-mill, built in the garden shed, fission device? Hmm... I hear a helicopter... did I ask the wrong thing?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. JDX Gold badge

    UV blue

    Is that just marketing for blue, like how Apple have "space gray" or does it actually act as a uv light source?

    1. Ralph the Wonder Llama

      Re: UV blue

      Surely UV is violet, only more so. Hence the name.

      I'll get me coat...

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: UV blue

        well what does "violet blue" mean then? Isn't violet purple?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UV blue

          I was reading an article recently that suggested that there is no such primary colour as violet, contrary to Newton's belief. The response of the human eye doesn't show any change other than amplitude at the blue end, and (presumably for evolutionary reasons) the RGB at the eye is turned into two channels to the brain: blue -yellow and red -green. (An intelligent designer would not design it like this, but evolution doesn't necessarily create optimal results. Octopus eyes are in some ways better designed than people eyes.)

          What we perceive as violet is therefore likely to be a combination of blue and red, i.e. the transmitted version of purple (which is a reflected colour.) That would agree with your post.

          Why did Newton see violet in the rainbow? It's argued that his perception was influenced by the secondary bow above the primary, so that there is a red band adjacent to the blue of the primary.

          (Also Newton had a lot of alchemical ideas and wanted seven colours because seven is a magic number). On strictly perceptual grounds the only colours in the rainbow should be red, yellow, green and blue with orange being identified as a distinct colour because in the red/yellow/green band we are more sensitive to colour differences than at the green/blue end.

          1. Velv Silver badge

            Re: UV blue

            Most "blue" flowers photgraph as purple or violet (or at least they did on good old film). I believe it's down to attracting insects which have a different visible light range to humans.

            Lithospermum was one of the few that looked the same to the human eye in real ire as on film.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: UV blue

              "Most "blue" flowers photgraph as purple or violet (or at least they did on good old film)."

              It depended on the film. Kodachrome had quite a lot of sensitivity in the IR and quite a lot of blue flowers reflected IR. As a result light blue flowers turned out pink. Ektachrome was much better for flower photography.

              1. earl grey Silver badge

                Re: UV blue

                Kodachrome and Ektachrome

                Burn the Pan-x witch!

          2. The last doughnut

            Re: UV blue

            Whereas if you photograph a violet flower or other pure violet colour source using a digital camera you get a blue.

        2. Martin Budden

          Re: UV blue

          well what does "violet blue" mean then? Isn't violet purple?

          Purple = red + blue (or to put it another way, purple = white - green).

          As has been explained above, violet isn't really a thing, it's just the edge of the rainbow where the blue fades out of our visible spectrum.

      2. launcap Silver badge

        Re: UV blue


        Please report your clone to reprocessing for possession of knowledge above your security clearance grade (for surely you are merely Orange).

        Remember: The computer is your friend!

        (Ah - Paranoia. One of the few RPGs better(best!) played when not of entirely a sober nature..)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Green???

    Technical reason???

    1. SteveK

      Re: No Green???

      All the 'glowing green stuff' has been stockpiled by assorted mad scientists and for illuminating secret underground bunkers, and so is not available for the general public.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. 20legend

    Still got my original blue Traser,

    Still on my keyring, still glowing brightly enough to find my keys when dropped in a state of inebriation upon returning home from a night at the pub.

    IIRC I paid less for a pair of them back in the day than one on it's own costs now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still got my original blue Traser,

      Various supervillains have hogged the tritium supply.

    2. Haku

      Re: Still got my original blue Traser,

      The price has certainly doubled since their introduction, I seem to recall paying about £6 each for my pair somewhere in the region of 15 years ago:

      A shame because I'd definitely buy a couple of normal sized ones now if they were £5 each, at £10.99 my wallet is staying put.

  6. thomas k.

    Sold out

    I'm getting "Sold Out" on mini-ring page, both last week when the story first ran and again tonight.

  7. David Lewis 2


    Any update on when new stock will be available?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Availability

      I did ask the C'n'C bods for an update. They'll post something when the stuff's back on the shelves.

  8. Raithmir

    Other colours

    Also available in green, orange, and pink.

    For some reason Cash 'n carrion is blocked as a gambling site at work, so I'm not sure how postage compares.

  9. graeme leggett

    Bought one years ago as a present

    Wherever it's been lost to - it may or may not be glowing still. Schrodinger's torch?

    1. maffski

      Re: Bought one years ago as a present

      So, let me get this right.

      If a cat eats your key ring your house is both locked and unlocked until the keys come out the other end?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Bought one years ago as a present

        "If a cat eats your key ring your house is both locked and unlocked until the keys come out the other end?"

        OK, now you got me wondering: If the above happens and you're outside in the pouring rain, do you get half wet?

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Bought one years ago as a present

          No, that's a common misconception, in reality you just won't know how wet you are until you get inside.

          And depending on how drunk you are, exactly how much of that wetness is due to rain...

  10. Bill B

    Latex gloves

    I can't wait for my next visit to the States.

    TSA Bod: "So, what does this glowing key ring do?"

    Me: "Oh, it's a radioactive source. If you have enough of them you can make a fission bomb".

    TSA Bod: "I'll get me gloves".

    1. Cameron Colley

      Re: Latex gloves

      I was lucky when I went ot the US with one of the original batch -- I'm assuming the bright lights of Orlando Airport meant that the TSA didn't notice I was carrying a source of nukiller radiation or I might have been arrested as a turrist.

      This was in September 2002 too so security was stepped right up. So much so that while we were there I saw a report that a woman was detained by the TSA for carrying her partner's (not sure whether it was her husband or not) federal issue firearm. Trouble was -- they did so after she had already flown...

  11. defiler Silver badge

    Mine worked fine until about 2 years ago

    Then I accidentally rolled my motorbike over it. Sad day.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Mine worked fine until about 2 years ago

      Is the tritium is slightly less safe once released from the capsule?

  12. zedee

    My purple original still going strong-ish - well, at getting on for 1.3 half lives later it's noticeably dimmer.

  13. Ed_UK

    Bragging rights

    I treated myself to a Traser watch, some years back. It has 14 of those tiny glass tritium/phosphor tubes on the hour marks and main hands. The 12 o'clock mark has orange phosphor while the others are green.

    Forking out eighty-odd squids was a bit of a leap, as all previous my watches had been under a tenner. Still, it really does the business; perfectly findable and readable in those wee hours.

    One day, of course, it'll just be a watch.

  14. Riscrich

    Very disappointed

    Saw these back in stock and ordered four units. White, Ice Blue, and two UV. Arrived today.

    Do not be fooled into thinking they look anything like the brightness in the pictures, you're in for a big disappointment if you do.

    "Can be seen from 30 feet away" - with night vision goggles maybe.

    Honestly gutted...

  15. The last doughnut

    I want one in black

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solution, meet Problem!

    The folks in Fukushima Daiichi seem to have an overabundance of tritium on their hands:

    Perhaps the production of these keychains could be increased, as well as their brightness?

  17. BitCoward

    Still going strong 16 years later. Ours illuminates the light pull in the garage so we can find it in the dark, however for years, it was a comforting nightlight to our little ones, we nicknamed it Gary Gaslight.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019