Taking A Look At Neon Signs Throughout History

NEON Signage History

What comes to mind when you think of a neon sign? Do you picture a glowing flamingo leading you in the direction of a tiki bar?

Or do you remember your favorite diner's neon sign hanging in the window?

You're not alone if you start to get homesick when you visualize neon signs.

Neon signs are a throwback to bygone eras and have a unique radiance.

In this article, we'll look at the vibrant history of neon signs, from their widespread use in America to the reasons they are becoming extinct.


A cold cathode fluorescent light is what a neon sign is (CCFL).

Glass tubes carrying neon gas and a small bit of argon gas make up a conventional neon sign.

Despite the fact that neon is used to describe signs of many colors, not all colors can be produced using neon.

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For instance, helium, not neon, is used to create a yellow "neon" sign.

On the other hand, neon gas is used to make red neon signs.

As accent lighting, to highlight architectural details, or to call attention to a good or service, neon signs are frequently utilized.


To suggest that one person invented neon signs would not be accurate.

Instead, neon signs were invented throughout time by a number of different chemists and inventors.

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Years of research, testing, and failure were required before neon signs illuminated the night sky.

These people made the biggest contributions to the development of neon signs.


Scottish scientist William Ramsay and his collaborator Morris W. Travers combed the air for uncommon, concealed gases in the 1800s.

Ramsay and Travers isolated the gases from liquefied argon in 1898 and discovered neon along with krypton and xenon.

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When these gases are enclosed in a glass tube and electrically charged, each of them emits a distinct dazzling color.

Neon lamps were created as a result of their discovery.

2. George Claudius

Maker Georges Additionally, Claude created vast quantities of liquid air for use in industries.

In 1902, he founded L'Air Liquide, which swiftly expanded into a global conglomerate.

While marketing liquid oxygen, Claude undertook research in an effort to make novel findings.

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Ramsay appeared to have located everything, but he discovered there was nothing left to draw from the air.

He made the decision to put more emphasis on other issues, such as finding a solution to the extremely bright electrical lighting issue.

He used the remaining neon from his liquefaction of air to make substitute lights.

Claude used Daniel McFarlan Moore's idea of producing bright white light by running an electrical current through a glass tube filled with gas.

By including bigger, cooler electrodes and using neon instead of the gases

Moore employed, Claude improved on Moore's design.

As a result, Claude's neon lamps blazed brightly and steadily for hundreds of hours.

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Claude applied for a patent on neon lighting in 1910.

Claude acknowledged that red neon was best suited for decorative lights that drew attention rather than general lighting.


Because an electric current illuminates the gas in a neon sign, it functions.

Gases cannot efficiently conduct electricity on their own. A gas-discharge tube must contain a gas, such as neon, in order for a current to flow through.

An electrode-sealed glass tube is referred to as a gas-discharge tube.

The gas pressure rises to a point where an electric current can go through the tube when a voltage is supplied to the electrodes.

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The gas is lit on fire by the electric current. While other gases such as yellow and blue release different colors, neon emits red.

You must master challenging skills taught by an expert craftsman in order to create a neon sign.

Glass tubes are bent using heat in a pattern, electrodes are fastened to the tube, gases are pumped in, and glass imperfections are eliminated.

Overall, it's a complicated process that calls both expertise and practice.


In 1912, Georges Claude placed the first neon advertising sign in a Parisian barbershop, which helped neon signs gain popularity.

Other enterprises, including the Paris Opera, soon want the same striking exteriors.

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Claude established the business Claude Neon and offered neon sign franchises in order to expand further.

Franchises opened up in dozens more countries.

Earle C. Anthony, who ran a Packard Motor Car Company dealership.

Was responsible for putting up the first neon signs in the United States in Los Angeles.

When Anthony went to Paris in 1923, he saw Claude's signage and ordered two personalized ones for his downtown showroom.

The classy orange neon signs that say "Packard" cost approximately half as much as a car and read "Packard."

Traffic bottlenecks were apparently induced by the signage since they were so compelling.


It was difficult to pass the Packard dealership in the 1920s without stopping to take in the mesmerizing neon signage.

Neon signs quickly gained popularity in the United States and started to represent development and contemporary industry.

The primary purpose of neon signage was to draw in drivers who used interstate highway systems.

In the 1930s, travelers could anticipate seeing neon signs advertising gas stations, motels, and meals all throughout the country.

Additionally, populous towns like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas have a reputation for luring visitors with eye-catching neon signs to go dining, dancing, gambling, seeing movies, and other activities.

"Rise And Grind"

Around World War II, neon's appeal began to wane. Many business owners choose to replace neon signs with signs made of plastic and fluorescent tubes instead of spending money on fixing broken signs.

Compared to neon signs, plastic signs were less expensive and simpler to maintain.

Additionally, neon signs came to be associated with shabby hotels, seedy pubs, and other unsavory places.

A modest neon sign resurgence that began in the 1970s is still going strong today.

Nowadays, beer advertisements and store opening announcements are frequently made with the help of small, modern neon signs.


There are still neon interior signs in homes and bars all around the country.

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However, a lot of companies have converted to various types of LED signs for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The cost of neon signs is high.
  • The labour of skilled artisans is required for elaborate custom neon signage.
  • Compared to other sign materials, neon signs are more prone to breaking and are more difficult to replace.
  • Due to the additional argon, neon signs may not be reliable in cold weather.
  • Neon signs frequently weigh more than other types of sign materials.
  • Modern signage are more adaptable than neon ones.

There is still a strong love for a neon light, despite the fact that neon signs are not as common as they once were.

Neon signs still advertise businesses, from nail salons to restaurants, and you can still see neon signs in many towns and cities.

Museums devoted to maintaining their position in culture display neon signs.

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Nothing else produces a radiance like that given forth by neon signs. However, in comparison to contemporary signals, they are very constrained.

Here are a few neon signs substitutes and how they attract attention while doing much more than just lighting up the sky.


Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide a captivating glow akin to neon, but they are more effective and durable.

Very tiny LEDs often combine red, green, and blue light to produce white light.

In comparison to neon signs, many LED signs are much lighter, making them excellent for advertising sales, new items, events, and other things inside a store, restaurant, or other establishment.

To draw visitors and communicate messages, some business owners erect sizable LED signage outdoors.

"Money. Power. Glory."

Unlike neon signs, programmable LED signs allow you to alter the advertisement to meet your needs and attract clients in the ways that work best for you.

Additional justifications for companies switching to LED signage include:


Light-trapping reflectors are less necessary because LEDs emit light in a precise direction.

They are one of the most energy-efficient lighting options, using 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Widespread adoption might result in savings of more than $30 billion in the United States by 2027.

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Compared to incandescent lighting, for instance, LEDs last 25 times longer and are exceptionally durable.

You can save time and money by not having to worry about changing bulbs as frequently with LEDs as you would with other kinds of light sources.

On the other hand, replacing or repairing parts for neon signs required expertise and patience.

Emit little heat:

Unlike other types of lighting, which can release up to 90% of their energy as heat, LEDs do not emit much heat.

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Impact is lessened:

Because LEDs don't contain mercury. However, some neon signs have trace levels of mercury that could be harmful to the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises people to recycle neon lamps rather than tossing them in the trash by contacting local organizations.

Reliable visibility:

Since LEDs are low-maintenance and have long lives, business owners don't have to worry as much about their LED signs breaking as frequently as other light sources do.

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They can also rest easy knowing that their signs are constantly visible.

In contrast to neon signs, which may require some time to warm up, LEDs function well in cold weather as well.

Bright and attractive:

Some LED signs draw attention with motion or strong, dazzling colors. Similar to neon signs, LED signs are noticeable and entertaining to watch.

Additionally, business owners can design adverts employing illuminated graphics.

LED lighting, frames, and adjustable fabric overlays with captivating personalized designs and messages are used in backlit graphics.

They can be used indoors, outdoors, or anywhere there is a power supply. They are also known as light boxes.

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Businesses looking to draw customers and stand out from the competition can benefit from the versatile, lightweight solutions provided by backlit graphics.


Digital signage empowers business owners unlike any other type of lighting.

A digital sign enables you to update the information being displayed whenever you want.

Whether you want to project an engaging animated movie, an events calendar, new menu items, or anything else you can think of.

Additionally, just like a TV, digital signage feels comfortable and keeps a customer's attention.

Business owners have total control over the content they publish thanks to digital signage.


More advantages are as follows:

Embrace adaptability:

Creating content on a computer and transmitting it to a sign is as versatile as it gets.

You don't have to buy a new sign each time you want to promote a different commodity or service.

With digital signage, you have countless options. You may make animation and films, broadcast news, show images, and much more.

To be noticed:

A 2015 Nielsen study found that, in the month before the poll, 75% of travelers had seen a digital billboard.

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And 55% had seen the advertisement most of the time. In other words, digital signage is distinctive and memorable.

Inform and excite:

The same survey found that 61 percent of participants think digital billboards are an effective method to learn about deals and activities.

This shows that using digital signage to advertise a business is a good idea.

Boost brand recognition:

82% of study participants remembered seeing advertisements on digital billboards.

Go digital if you want people to remember your brand.

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Increasing client satisfaction:

Numerous chances exist thanks to digital signage to please clients. They first make things more practical.

For instance, vibrant menu boards make it simple and quick for customers to browse menu items and make decisions.

Additionally, illuminated menus aid in drawing in outside clients.

Staff members' workdays can be made easier by using digital signs that can be set to alter with the day, month, or season.

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Make customers feel at ease:

Digital signage can be utilized in a wide range of settings, including hotel lobbies and medical waiting rooms.

Digital signage can be used, for instance, to give people health advice as they wait.

Or, you may utilize digital signage to guide visitors around a big building. Digital signage blend in with any environment and are impossible to overlook.


Ensure promotions are noticed: Do you have a huge sale? Has a fresh item arrived on the market?

Use an appealing digital sign to thrill clients and persuade them to make a purchase.

As a final recommendation

You can discover more about how to take care of your neon sign in our previous blog: The Importance Of Neon Signs In Homes

To discover more about the history of neon signs. SEE HERE

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