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How Neon Signs Work

Neon signs may not be as popular as they once were, but there are still plenty of them around. You will not have to look very hard to find neon signs for sale.

The lights are called neon signs, but the light itself is determined by different kinds of gases. Neon is just one type of gas that is used. When Claude Georges invented the lights in 1910 in Paris, he used neon gas, and that is how they got the name.

Georges first displayed the light at the Paris Motor Show in 1910, and by 1913 neon lights were being used all around France. It didn’t take long – 1915 – for the signs to make their way to the United States. Soon it was very common to find neon signs for sale everywhere.

Georges was the first one to perfect the process of making a light that would last. He created a glass tube and filled it with neon gas. He used an electrode to charge the gas, and the result was a red or orange light.  He also used a filter to clear out impurities that would interfere with the quality of the light.

It was soon discovered that different kinds of gases would produce different colors.  The type of gas is not the only variable. The type of gas is just one aspect, though it is the most important aspect. The factors include:

  • The type of gas
  • The amount of gas used.
  • The amount of electrical charge produced.
  • Coating inside the tube.
  • The color of the glass tubing.
  • Combining any of the above can also affect the color.
  • Combination of gases.

Neon produces a red or orange hue, and that made some great signs for awhile.  As more gases were shown to produce different colors of lights, artists began seeing a lot more possibilities with this new invention. The name “neon light” stuck, but several other gases can also be used to create different colors.

Here are the colors created by various gases.

  • Neon: Orange
  • Mercury: Blue
  • Hydrogen: Red
  • Helium: Yellow
  • Carbon Dioxide:  White

The 1930s were the heyday of neon sign usage. Many of the techniques still in use today were invented in this period.  Animation with the signs was also developed during this decade.  With the onset of World War II development slowed dramatically. After the war, other types of lighting started to be used and neon signs fell out of fashion. Neon signs are still around as they last a very long time. In recent years there has been increased interest in neon signage. The use of neon lighting is coming back more as an art form than as a means of advertising – which is how neon signs for sale got started

Post Author: Admin