"Nixie tubes were developed in 1952 by the Haydu brothers for the Burroughs Corporation as the precursor to the computer monitor. The name "Numerical Indicator experimental: NIX-I" was first a working acronym belonging to the Burroughs company but became the common name for these readouts. From the early 1950's to the 1970's Nixie tubes were the dominant display service. Later they were supplanted by LED displays and are quite rare today! They found their way into everything from test equipment over early computers to aerospace and submarines or the display of the New York stock exchange."
Cool clocks from Nixieclock.net
(Thx Golden Monkey!)