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Old photographic flash bulb.
An example of the element Rhenium

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Rhenium Old photographic flash bulb
Old photographic flash bulb.
Back in the dark ages, cameras used one-time-only flash bulbs that ignited a fine wire inside a glass bulb. We're not concerned here with the fine wire, but rather with the "igniter": these top-quality GE #5 bulbs were advertised as coming with "the guaranteed RHENIUM igniter". I don't know for sure what metal the wire in this one is made of, but I have a different type under zirconium which is labeled as using a wire of that metal (but that one doesn't say what it's igniter is made of).
Reports Tryggvi:
The woolly stuff in GE flashbulbs is zirconium. (I.e. , the stuff that burns and makes the light. The bulbs are also filled with a few atmospheres of oxygen). The flashbulbs in the cubes that were used on some Kodak Instamatics were not triggered electrically (with rhenium wire), but with a percussive pyrotechnic mix inside a little metallic tube that stuck out of the bulb.

Source: eBay seller erinsplace
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 1 August, 2002
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009
Price: $1
Size: 1.5"
Purity: >50%
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