Where have you been, neon signs and where are you going?


Many experts in the field of lighting believe that the overall outlook for neon signage seems to be very optimistic. Neon signs have a record 100 years of successful use in advertising. If there were no neon signs, cities and towns would be darker places and the neon sign industry would cease to exist, but that is not likely to happen.

Let's start with general information about neon, such as why it is used, other uses than advertising, where it is used here and in other countries, neon signage worldwide and much more. Everyone knows that its main use is for advertising and that is what keeps the neon sign industry going, but it has many other uses that are beneficial to the public. Do you enjoy watching TV? Neon is used in television tubes. Do you have a neon wall clock? Neon lighting is used at home and in many businesses to enhance and highlight dark areas. It is used in gas laser is used to eliminate eye cataracts and for other medical problems. Many people have flown, but did you know this? It has been used in beacons and pilots can see it 20 miles away when it was impossible for them to see other types of lights. Neon lights can be seen through the fog. Many travelers have found it very useful when looking for a motel on a foggy night. Neon does all this and more.

However, the largest and best known use of neon is in neon signs. What makes it so useful for signs? There are two reasons for this. The first neon is a first-level electricity conductor, and secondly it has the surprising ability to emit light that can be seen over great distances. As difficult as it is to believe that neon technology began in Europe in 1675. It is not that neon signs were invented then, but only the idea that would become the modern neon sign. In fact, oddly enough, electricity has not yet been discovered. These two ideas developed independently because neither depended on the other being in place.

It was not until 1910 that in Paris, a man named Georges Claude came up with the idea of ​​neon signs. His first effort was a sign for a barbershop in that city. How and when they first arrived in the United States. Earle Anthony, the owner of a car dealership in Los Angeles, apparently heard about neon signs and visited Paris. The result was two Packard neon signs that he bought for $ 1,250. It was the year 1923. The idea spread rapidly because both companies and the public took over this new concept in advertising. Traditional poster advertising was affected by the bright explosion of neon signs. These first signs were called "liquid fire", no doubt, because the bright red light they emit seems to mean danger.

The first sign that arrived in Las Vegas was a sign that announced a place called "Oasis Cafe House." Who then realized that the city would become one of the two main neon showcases in the country? It was a remarkable event, but few people thought much more than that.

When talking about neon signs in the United States, the Las Vegas Strip (or "The Strip", as it is usually called) and Times Square in New Yok City are the logical starting points. It's easy to see how they won their titles. Both receive millions of visitors every year who see neon screens that are almost blinding. Las Vegas may have an advantage over Times Square because it receives many more visitors due to its casinos that offer the city's neon display. By comparison, Times Square signs are subject to more frequent changes due to the fact that businesses in that city change often, while Las Vegas has casinos that are the basis of the city's revenue and casinos are always in the business.

The Las Vegas Strip is home to a famous iconic neon sign that was erected in 1959. The sign was the idea of ​​Betty Willis, who worked for a local sign company. The sign contained the words "WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS NEVADAS". The sign was never copyrighted because Willis considered it his gift to the city. This sign is synonymous with the City of Las Vegas. The Willis sign is number one on the list of the 10 most impressive neon signs in the world. Las Vegas also houses the world's largest neon sign that bears Hilton's name and is owned by Hilton Hotel Corporation. This sign was erected in 1996 and covers more than 70,000 feet, Hilton's name is 164 feet wide and the letters are 28 feet high. With a price of approximately $ 9 billion, it could easily be called the most expensive neon sign in the world.

Times Square received its first neon sign in the mid-1920s. The density of the light signs in Times Square has reached the point where it starts running on the Las Vegas Strip. This density is the result of the smaller size of Times Square compared to that of the Las Vegas Strip that stretches for miles. In any case, both locations are full of thousands of posters.

By directing our attention to these two neon shop windows, there are other places in the United States that have notable neon signs. However, they are naturally not at the same level as the neon signage giants mentioned above. In Elk City, Oklahoma, at the National Route 66 Museum, proudly displays the iconic Route 66 neon sign. The city of Saginaw, Michigan, states that it has the largest neon sign in the state and the most Great of the nation. The neon signs in the figure show humans and animals. This neon sign is 35 feet tall and fifty feet long.

The list of the top 10 neon signs in this country has many neon signs that are known nationally. Many of them have been gone a long time ago. All of them once lit up a city street. The number one is Boston, which had its Schrafftt sign n, which was a symbol of the company's candy and chocolate business. The second place on the list went to the "Vegas Vic" sign that stood on Fremont Strees Street from 1951 until about 1995 when it was removed.

In position number three is the sign of the Great Bear of the Grain Belt in Minneapolis, which was used for many years since it was installed in 1940 and is now for sale. The fourth is the Coppertone Girl sign that was erected on Miami's Biscayne Boulevard to announce the company's product, suntan lotion. It was a landmark of the city and was there from 1959 until the 1990s. What made the sign so remarkable was the puppy that was pulling the girl's swimsuit. Next on the list is the Skipping Girl sign from Abbotsford, Australia. It was called "Little Audrey" and announced the product of the Nycander Company, sugar. He left in 1968, but due to public outrage over the loss of this milestone, it was replaced by a replica in 1970. The "Made in Oregon" sign from Portland, Oregon, which announced that sugar was erected in 1941. It changed over the years and remained in place when the company left the building in the 1950s.

The Westinghouse Company sign in Pittsburgh at number seven. It had been in operation since the early 1920s and was demolished in 1998. Occupying the eighth place is the Magikist & # 39; s Company of Chicago with its advertising posters. The 41,400 pound lips on this sign were considered a city landmark. However, all the neon signs mentioned above disappeared. The number nine sign, the Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada, which was built in 1927 and still stands strong. The last on the list is the Traveler's # Umbrella umbrella sign that can be found in Des Moines, Iowa. It was built in 1963 and still in operation.

No mention of neon signs would be complete without including a list of the 10 most impressive examples in the world of neon signs. It should not be surprising that the number one on the list is the iconic WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, the neon signage. This is followed by the Times Square screen. Third place goes to the Hong Kong 15-minute skyline light show. The next place belongs to Osaka's Dotonbun signage, which was the inspiration for the movement, "The Blade Runner." Shanghai Najinj Street takes position number five with Ginza and Shibuya from Tokyo occupying the number six spot. The Vegas Boneyard (where old and iconic Las Vegas posters are restored and displayed) is as follows. This is followed by signage showing vintage Times Square neon signs from the 1920s to the 1950s.

As for the last two on the list, the Caesar & # 39; s Palace neon signage is in ninth place and Bankok's soi cowboy road completes the list. It is interesting to note at this point that, at an earlier time, the world famous Piccadilly Circus in London would surely have been near the top of this list. He received what many have called the first neon sign to come to Europe, a popular soda sign, which was replaced by a new version in 2003. However, today all the neon signs in Piccadilly Circus are in a building with all the names. Big international corporations.

Many organizations have emerged throughout this country. Its purpose is to collect, restore and display old and classic iconic neon signs. One of them is the Philadelphia Neon Museum, which opened in 1983 and shows corporate neon signs. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas has iconic neon signs for casinos and closed businesses. It has more than 150 historic neon signs restored and not restored. It is not for profit and was established in 1996. The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, was founded in 1999 and has more than 2,800 posters of all kinds, including neon. The Los Angeles Neon Museum opened in 1981 with the intention of preserving old neon signs and other neon art forms. In a related line, a gallery and workshop called Let There Be Light opened in New York City in 1972 to train artists on how to use neon.

After the use of light signs began in the United States, other cities followed, albeit at a much slower pace. Tokyo seems to be one of the first cities outside the United States to obtain them. They settled in a city park in 1926. The first in Australia appeared in a suburb of Melbourne in 1930. Johannesburg, South Africa got the first in 1935. India did not get the first until about 1940. Shanghai, China had to wait until 1982 To get your first. Puskin Square in Moscow received its first poster in 1989. It was a popular soda poster. Stockholm. Sweden received its first around 1936. On the other hand, Zurich Switzerland is reputed to have no neon signs.

Even so, there are some cities in the world that have banned the use of neon signs within their jurisdictions. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, trying to combat his country's growing power problem, banned them and the luminous signs. In January 2010, the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is the fourth largest city in the world, prohibited them from trying to stop their growing pollution problem. In the United States, in 1996, the city of Avon, Connecticut, passed an ordinance prohibiting the use of what they called exposed tubes, but the neon signs enclosed in plastic were fine. City residents questioned the reasoning behind this ordinance. More recently, a ban on the production and sale of illuminated tubes came into effect in Vermont and Massachusetts with other states seeking to do the same. Illuminated tubes that do not use mercury are allowed.

The city of Madrid, Spain, has an ordinance that prohibits all light signs in the city center to reduce pollution, conserve energy and make the city more aesthetically pleasing. This ordinance covers all the neon used in pharmacies, theater tents, commercial signs and bars. Madrid had had luminous signs for more than 70 years until now. The city of Duluth, Georgia, prohibits neon signs, and although these signs are not prohibited in Mesa, Arizona, current city ordinances and policies weigh heavily against the survival of illuminated signs. signs.

From the 1960s there was a movement in the United States and Canada against the light signals. The city of Vancouver prohibited the use of these signs in what were once brightly lit streets that later turned into dark corridors that left the city with a cold and heartless look.

Since we are talking about neon signs, it might be a good idea to have an idea about the neon sign industry. In 2008, the total revenue of the neon sign company was approximately $ 2.9 billion. The sign industry, as a whole, had revenues of around $ 11 billion. At that time there were about 35.00 sign shops, including luminous sign shops, in this country. These amounts have grown in the following years.

How much is a commercial neon sign? That is really hard to say. However, when it comes to the prices that collectors could pay for them, there are some figures available that show what they have paid for very precious luminous signs. In fact, in June 2006, at a souvenir sale, an illuminated sign of the Thunderbird Hotel sold for $ 26,000, while one that said Cloud 9 sold for $ 21,275., And the star part of a Holiday sign Inn sold for $ 3,220. This shows what people are willing to pay for collectible neon signs. Prices for the commercial type vary according to size and other factors.

Now is the time to compare neon signs with another form of lighting, the LED. Before entering the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods, since they belong to their commercial use.

Let's start by seeing what an LED is and some information about it. The letters LED mean light emitting diodes. The LED was first used as a replacement for incandescent indicators and for laboratory equipment screens. It was later used in televisions, watches, radios, indicators and calculators. It is not only until recently that LED prices have fallen allowing sales in residential and commercial markets. Outdoor lights and Christmas lights are part of the LED home lighting products. With the current energy crisis and some foreign countries looking for ways to reduce energy costs, LED lighting companies can probably expect a profitable future when it comes to their products.

Now that we have a practical knowledge of LED lighting, we can make a more fair comparison with neon signs, since we mention the good points and the bad points of each. The basis for comparison is the use of the two lighting methods in advertising.

First, with respect to the use of neon signs, the advantages are the following: they have a very long life when used correctly, the neon has a very high operating range and can operate with very high voltages using AC or DC current, not always They require special power supplies, and these signs have very low energy consumption. A unique advantage, which only neon signs enjoy, is that they can be done anyway. This very important advantage, the ability to bend makes it ideal for use in advertising, wall clocks and lighting for homes and businesses. Finally, it is economical for small indicators and decorative lights.

Neon signs also have their disadvantages. They have a low light output for the input power, they only produce a small range of the color spectrum, they produce only one color at a time, they require a large surface area for general lighting and their use is expensive as signs and screens.

The advantages of using LED lights are these: the US Department of Energy. UU. It is expected that the cost of producing LEDs will decrease below that of compact fluorescent lamps called CEL in approximately 2013, high level of energy efficiency, more durable, long product life and reduced heat load in space (an additional benefit of reduced use of energy).

The disadvantages of using LED lighting include that "warm" lighting generated by LEDs is more expensive than "cold" lighting, LEDs are more expensive than some more traditional lighting concepts, selection and limited options, color quality and lack Product standardization.

The purpose of this article was to provide on the many topics related to neon signs that the general public does not know frequently. What the future holds for each of these types of lighting is difficult to predict. Simply referring to the material presented, the most reasonable answer could be that both will be in use for some time, but that could easily change due to improved designs and advances that could be developed, changes in the economy or any other one of a number of other factors. . Both industries have very large financial resources and will do whatever it takes to get most of the signage market.

In the final analysis, there are two basic factors that will influence the sign industry with respect to profits and investment. Companies want to use whatever method they find most successful. The consideration of future advances in technology with respect to each form of lighting, prices and many other factors is crucial, in addition to examining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Another idea is which attracts a better response from the buying public. This may well be the deciding factor. Like all industries, these two competitors will undoubtedly consider market research studies as a reliable guide for decision making. Each of these two systems has only one goal in common and is the same as any business or company and is trying to make the right decisions that generate the most money and that is the name of the game.