A Short History of Red Red Neon Signs
Red neon signs are a cool, vibrant, and exciting choice. Red neon signs are extremely popular in commercial and interior red neon sign design today. However, the history of red neon signs dates back to 1675 and 1850, when they were first discovered.
This article will examine the history of red neon signs.
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Photograph of large, elaborate red neon sign at night. On a tower that is above a marquee, the word “STATE” has been written vertically in neon tubing. Below the tower, a marquee sign has an elaborate neon tubing design. It also includes the word “STATE”, written horizontally in neon tubing. The panel’s front-facing reader board has black letters that read “AUBURN PLACER/PERFORMING AND CENTER/LIVE FROM ABURN.COM”. On a second panel, a reader board reads “LIVE ACOUSTIC MUSIC//THE MIGARDS/IN CONCERT 26 APRIL 26”.
1936 neon marquee sign, rebuilt in 2006 for Auburn, California. The tower’s large letters are illuminated in a sequence that repeats “S”, ST”, ‘STAT”, & “STATE”, off.
Red neon signs in the signage industry are electric signs that have been lit by long luminous gas discharge tubes that contain rarefied neon and other gases. These are the most popular form of neon lighting. They were first demonstrated at the Paris Motor Show in December 1910 by Georges Claude. Red neon signs are widely used all over the world, but they were most popular in America from the 1920s through the 1950s. Many of the neon signs in Times Square were designed by Douglas Leigh. There were pc tower almost 2,000 shops that produced red red neon signs by 1940.  Artists and architects also use neon lighting frequently. With the decline of signage over the past few decades, cities are now concerned about preserving and restoring old red neon signs.
To simulate neon lamps, light emitting diode arrays are possible.
- Red neon sign
The red neon sign is an evolution from the Geissler tube (a sealed glass tube that contains a rarefied gas). It is much lower than atmospheric pressure. An electrical glow is created when a voltage is applied through electrodes embedded in the glass. The popularity of Geissler tubes in the late 19th century was due to the fact that the colors they emit were characteristics of the gas inside. These tubes were not suitable for general lighting as the pressure inside the tube would decrease with usage. The Moore tube was the direct predecessor to neon tube lighting. It used either nitrogen or carbon dioxide as the luminescent gas and had a patent mechanism for maintaining pressure. In the early 1900s, Moore tubes were used for commercial lighting for many years.
British scientists Morris W. Travers and William Ramsay discovered neon in 1898. They also observed a bright red glow in the Geissler tube. Travers stated that the glowing crimson glow from the tube was an unforgettable sight and a story to be relived. The discovery of neon led to the creation of neon tubes, which were later used as novelties and scientific instruments. Perley G.Nutting may have displayed a sign containing the word “neon” at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. However, this claim has been disputed. In any case, the scarcity neon would have prevented the creation of a lighting product. Georges Claude’s French company, Air Liquide began to produce industrial quantities of neon after 1902. This was essentially because of their air liquefaction operations. Claude displayed two bright red neon tubes measuring 12 m (39 ft.) in length at the Paris Motor Show.The demonstration lit up a Grand Palais (a large hall for exhibitions).
Jacques Fonseque was Claude’s partner and realized the potential of a business based upon signage and advertising. A large sign advertising Cinzano vermouth illuminated Paris’ night sky by 1913. By 1919, neon tubes were used to light the entrance of the Paris Opera. Claude was granted patents for two inventions that are still in use today. One was a bombardment technique to remove impurities and gases from sealed signs, and the other was a design for internal electrodes that prevent their degrading by sputtering.
Georges Claude and Claude Neon, a French company that made neon gas signs, introduced them to the United States in 1923. They sold two signs to a Packard car dealer in Los Angeles. Earle C. Anthony bought the two signs that read “Packard” at $1,250 each. Soon neon lighting became a common fixture in outdoor advertising. These signs, also known as “liquid fire”, were easily visible in daylight and people would stop to stare at them.
The sign “Theatre”, which was installed at Lake Worth Playhouse in Lake Worth in Florida, may be the oldest red neon sign that survives. It is still being used for its original purpose.
The next technological breakthrough in neon signs and lighting was the invention of fluorescent tube coatings. These were developed by Jacques Risler, who was granted a French patent on May 26, 1926. Red neon signs made from argon/mercury gases emit a lot of ultraviolet light. The fluorescent coating, also known as a “phosphor”, absorbs the light and glows with its own color. Although only a handful of colors were available at first to sign designers after the Second World War phosphor materials were extensively researched for their use in color televisions. In the 1960s, red neon sign designers had access to about two dozen colors. Today there are almost 100 colors.
The glass is heated until it becomes malleable. Next, it is bent into shape using a red neon sign pattern paper that contains the lettering or graphics to which it will conform. The tube bender removes the hollow tube from the heat and holds the other end of the latex rubber blow-hose. He then gently presses air through the tube to maintain its diameter as it bends. One section of tubing must be bent at a stretch. This is done by heating one portion of the tube until it becomes soft. Once the glass has been heated, a bend must be quickly brought to the desired pattern. After cooling, it can’t be reheated without breaking. Sometimes it is necessary to skip a few bends and return to the pattern later.
Measure carefully along the length the tube. A single tube letter can have 7-10 small bends. Mistakes cannot be corrected without starting over. You can either affix another piece of tubing to it or all the pieces together at the last step. To be able to function, the tube must be sealed and cleaned inside. The tube must be filled with mercury. If there is any error, the whole tube should be reopened. This is because neon workers can get long-term heavy metal poisoning from breathing mercury-impregnated glass or phosphor.
Tubes are made of sticks of tubing until they reach an inconvenient size. The high voltage neon transformer joins several tubes together. To prevent tube puncture or buzzing, the extreme ends of an electrical circuit must be isolated.