Neon signs are created when electric, glowing tube lights (which contain rarefied neon or other gases) are fashioned into motifs and/or lettering. The fabled neon signs of glittering Las Vegas are well-known for their elaborate designs, incredibly saturated colors and massive size and scale.
However, neon signs may be simple or ornate in terms of form. First displayed in 1910 by George Claude, these signs were quite futuristic-looking at the outset. Today, they are more likely to have a vintage, kitsch quality. The first exhibition of a neon sign took place at the Paris Motor Show.
After neon signs were introduced, they became more commonplace in America. The United States population really responded to the visual impact of these luminous designs. Another key example of neon signs (aside from Las Vegas, Nevada) is New York City’s famed Times Square, which once housed two thousand neon signs (during the 1940s). These signs were typically used to promote businesses.
Neon Lighting is Also Used in Other Ways
Neon lighting is sometimes utilized in order to add visual appeal to the facades of buildings. It is also used in plasma display panels and TVs. These days, with the production of neon signs on the wane, signage industry members (and neon sign collectors in general) do take pains in order to ensure that examples of neon signage are lovingly restored and preserved.
After all, these antiques hearken back to a bygone era, and many of them are shining examples of the design form known as Americana. However, neon signs also appear in other parts of the world, such as China and Hong Kong.
Neon Sign Composition Information
Neon signs are quite basic in form. They consist of a tube or tubes, which may have varying diameters. These lights produce self-emitted light. Inside of every neon light, there is a rare gas which may be neon or argon (or another type of low-pressure gas). Since neon gas glows brightly, it emits a reddish hue, while argon light produces a range of colors, such as yellow, blue, green or white.
Neon Lighting Requires a High Voltage Level
Neon lights require a voltage of about one thousand volts, and this high voltage is the reason why internal gases in these lights are so very radiant. Every time that an electric current comes on, the tubes in the lamp will emit a very intense light, similar to a fire in terms of sheer radiance. Those who create neon lamps do so by bending glass tubes into a range of shapes. Bigger tubes are more difficult to bend. Neon signs must be produced by trained technicians who understand how to safely bend tubes in order to get desired results.
A Neon Tube is a Gas Discharge Tube
Neon tubes are also known as gas discharge tubes. These tubes give off their characteristic light when electricity is moved through the low-pressure gas, within the glass tube. Only glass may be used in the production of neon signs. Because plastics and other materials just don’t have the power to generate this form of light, neon signs will likely never be produced using anything but basic glass.
The invention of the gas discharge tube is credited to a German glassblower named Heinrich Geissler. His new creations were soon deemed, “Geissler Tubes” by those who worked in the neon lighting industry.
However, an engineer named George Claude is commonly regarded as the inventor of the modern-age neon sign. Neon gas used in neon signs is derived from oxygen. 88,000 pounds of liquefied air in needed in order to create a single pound of neon.