Illuminating the Past: Tracing the Development of Neon Signage in History
What do neon signs look like? Can you picture a glowing neon flamingo pointing towards a tiki bar to your destination? Is it the neon sign you saw in the window of your favorite restaurant? Neon images can make you nostalgic. Neon signs evoke the glory of the old days and give off a light that is unlike any other.
This post will examine the colorful history of neon signage. Its popularity in America and its decline is all part of the story.
What Is a Neo-Sign?
A neon lamp, also known as a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL), is called a neon sign. A typical neon sign consists of glass tubes with neon gas and a small amount of argon. Even though neon can be used to denote signs of various colors, it does NOT produce every color. A yellow “neon” sign might be made with helium. Red neon signs are made from neon gas. Neon signs are frequently used to accent lighting, enhance building features, or draw attention to a product/service.
Who Invented Neon Signs
It wouldn’t be fair to claim that neon signs were created by one individual. Instead, neon signage was created gradually by a variety of inventors and scientists over time. It took years to discover neon signage and then trial and error. Here are some of the key contributors to the invention of neon signs.
1. William Ramsay und Morris W. Travers
In the 1800s Scottish scientist, William Ramsay teamed up with Morris W. Travers to search the air for rare gases. Ramsay and Travers, who had liquefied the argon to create neon, discovered it in 1898. When charged with high potential, each of these gases emits its own brilliant color. Their discovery led to the invention of neon lamps.
2. Georges Claude
Georges Claude, the inventor of the liquidizer air, used these techniques to produce large quantities for industrial uses. L’Air Liquide became a multinational corporation quickly after he formed the company L’Air Liquide in 1902.
Claude was a researcher and a liquid oxygen seller, hoping to make new discoveries. Ramsay seems to have found all the answers, and Claude discovered that there was nothing else to pull from the air. He decided that he would focus his attention on other things, such as solving the problem of brightly lit electrical lighting. To create other light sources, he used neon, which was left over from his liquefaction.
Claude applied Daniel McFarlan Moore’s concept of sending an electric current through a gas-filled, glass tube to create brightly colored light. Claude improved Moore’s invention with larger electrodes which stayed cooler longer and by substituting Moore’s gases with neon. Claude’s lamps were stable and bright for hundreds of hours.
Claude, a 1910 patent holder for neon lighting was filed. Claude admitted red neon was not a good lighting choice, but that it could be used to create a striking decorative light.
What is the working principle of neon signs?
A neon sign lights up because an electric current passes through it and makes it glow. However, gases cannot conduct electricity by themselves. For a current, a gas (like neon) must be contained within an enclosed gas-discharge tube. A gas discharge tube is made up of a tube of glass-enclosed with electrodes. The tube’s gas pressure is raised when an electrical current flows through it. The electric current causes the gas to glow. Neon emits red, but other gases produce other colors like yellow or blue.
Learn difficult techniques from a skilled craftsman to make a fluorescent sign. The process involves using heat and adhering electrodes to the tubes, as well as pumping in gases. It requires practice and skill.
What year did neon signage become so popular
Georges Claude in Paris was responsible for the popularization of neon signs in 1912. He installed the first neon advertisement sign at a Parisian Barbershop. Soon other businesses, including the Paris Opera, sought the same appealing exteriors. To ensure that Claude’s business continued to grow, Claude established Claude Neon. The company sold franchises of neon signs. The company has many franchises all around the world.
Earle C. Anthony was the owner of Packard Motor Car Company’s Los Angeles location and was responsible for the first American neon signs. Anthony had previously been to Paris and seen Claude’s signs in 1923. Anthony ordered two custom signs for his downtown showroom. The elegant orange neon signs reading “Packard”, cost approximately half the amount of a vehicle. They caused traffic chaos, according to reports. It was very difficult to drive past Packard’s showroom in 1920 without stopping to take in the neon signs.
Soon neon signs were a popular symbol of progress in America and modern industry. Neon signs were mostly designed to attract travelers using interstate highways. Neon signs were commonly found in the 1930s advertising gas stations, motels, restaurants, and other services. Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles were known for their neon signs, which attracted customers to their cities.
Around World War II the popularity of neon began to fall. Many business owners did away with the need to repair neon signs and replaced them with plastics and fluorescent tubes. Plastic signs were more affordable and less difficult to maintain than neon signs. People began to associate the neon signs with run-down motels or sleazy bars. The 1970s saw a small revival of neon signs. This trend continues today. Modern neon signs are usually very small and are used to advertise beer stores or open new locations.
Why are neon signs no longer being used?
The neon indoor signage can still be found in barrooms across the nation. Many businesses have switched over to illuminated signage for many different reasons.
- The cost of neon signs for sale is high.
- Highly detailed custom neon signs require skilled artisans.
- Neon signs break down more quickly than other types, making them harder to replace.
- Cold weather may cause neon signs to not work due to the extra argon.
- Neon signs tend to be heavier than other forms of signage.
- Neon signs have a lower flexibility than modern signs.
Even though neon signs don’t seem as popular, they are still very much appreciated. It is possible to find neon signs in museums that are dedicated to conserving their cultural significance. Additionally, you will still find neon signs advertising businesses such as nail salons and restaurants in many cities.
Alternatives for Neon Signage
Neon signs for sale give off a unique glow that is not available from other sources. Neon signs can be quite limited when compared to modern signage. Here are some options for neon signage.
1. LED Signs
Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, produce a mesmerizing glow like neon but are more durable and efficient. LEDs can be very small and mix red and green colors to create white light. LED neon signs are light and portable, making them ideal for advertising sales, new products, or events in a store, restaurant, or other business. For business owners, large LED neon signs can be placed outside to promote their products and convey messages. A programmable, LED neon sign is more flexible than neon signs. You can modify the advertisement to suit your needs and reach customers as you wish. Here are more reasons for businesses to switch to LED neon signs:
- Energy Saving: LEDs are energy-efficient because they emit light in a specified direction. This reduces the need for light trap reflectors. They are one the most energy-efficient light sources and consume 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent lighting. Widespread use could lead to savings of more than $30B in the U.S. by 2027
- Durable LEDs are 25 times more durable than incandescent lighting. LEDs can be used to save money and time by not needing to change light bulbs as often. Neon signs however required skill and time in order to replace or repair the parts.
- Does not emit too much heat: LEDs emit less heat than other forms of lighting, which may release as much as 90% of their energy.
- Less impact: LEDs contain no mercury. However, there are some neon signs that contain mercury. This can be harmful to the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency advises that households contact local agencies to learn how they can recycle a neon bulb instead of throwing it out with the rest of their trash.
- Reliable visibility Since LEDs are simple to maintain and have a long lifespan, business owners won’t have any worries about having their signs fail. The LEDs can be used in colder weather than neon signs, which may take longer to warm up.
- Bright, attractive: Some led signs use bold, vibrant colors and movement to grab people’s attention. LED signs are difficult to miss and can be an enjoyable sight.
Backlit graphics are also available to business owners. Backlit graphics feature custom designs and messages using interchangeable fabric overlays and LED light frames. They are also known simply as light boxes. Backlit graphics provide a lightweight, adaptable solution for businesses looking to get customers and stand apart from the rest.
2. Digital Signs
The power digital signage gives to business owners more than any other light source. The digital sign can be updated at any time. Digital signage also holds customers’ interest and feels familiar, like a TV. Digital signage gives business owners total control over what they share. Here are some other benefits:
- Get flexibility: There is no need to purchase new signs every time you want to market a different product. You can create animated videos and photos, share news, and much more with digital signage.
- Get noticedAccording to the Nielsen 2015 study, 75 percent of travelers saw a digital signboard during the preceding month. 55 percent also noticed the message frequently or always. Digital signage stands out, and it makes an impression.
- Inform. Excite. Accordingly, to the same survey, 61 percent of respondents agree that digital billboards provide a way for people to learn about sales events and other relevant information. This suggests that digital signage could be an effective method to promote a business.
- Improve brand recall. Eighty percent of the respondents to our survey remembered advertising on billboards. Make it digital to help people remember your brand.
- Increase customer happiness: There are many opportunities for digital signage to make customers smile. First, they simplify things. Bright menu boards are a great way for customers to easily browse menu options, making it faster and easier for them to make their choices. Outside customers will also be attracted to illuminated menus. The digital signs can be programmed so that they change with the season, month, or day. This makes it easy for staff to do their jobs.
- Make customers feel at ease: The digital signs can be used in many places from waiting rooms to hotel lobby lobbies. To share health tips with patients, you can use digital signage. Digital signage can be used for directing people within large buildings. Digital signs can be easily missed and will fit into any setting.
- Promos stand out: Have you had a major sale? A new product was released. Use a digital signature to generate excitement and motivate customers to purchase.
SpeedPro offers Neon Sign Alternatives
Get the attention you deserve for your business with high-quality displays. SpeedPro is eager to turn your vision into an eye-catching sign. Our team will assist you in finding a unique solution for your sign and making it stand out from the crowd. Stop by our studios today if you are ready to stand out from the rest.