History Of Neon: The Good, the Bad, and the Future

by LWilliam on Oct 20, 2022

History Of Neon: The Good, the Bad, and the Future

Every era always has its own trend. When the next wave comes, they will gradually recede in the passage of time, or become the object of rejection in the new wave, end in a hurry, and almost disappear in the new era, but Therefore, they have become the unique style of their peerless period of time.

From the 1920s to the 1960s, it was the colorful neon lights that emerged on the turbulent streets of North America, sketching people's diverse nightlife.


An engineer who doesn't know chemistry is not a good neon inventor

In 1893, Gas-discharge lamps first appeared at World's Columbian Exposition, and Nikola Tesla personally demonstrated it, but he did not apply for a patent.
Neon was first discovered in 1898 by two British chemists, Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers. Not long after, American electrical engineer Daniel McFarlan Moore brought the first gas-discharge lamps to the market, the nitrogen-made lamps that became the precursor to neon.
In 1910, neon made their debut at the Paris Motor Show. Its inventor, the French engineer Georges Claude, invented the neon by illuminating neon gas, a by-product of his own air liquefaction business, in a sealed tube.
In 1915, Claude obtained a patent for corrosion-resistant electrodes, which removed the last technical obstacle and started the road to industrialized mass production of neon.

+++ Neon lights in front of the Grand Palais in Paris©Léon Gimpel (1910/1912)
At the beginning, Claude only regarded neon lights as ordinary indoor and outdoor lighting, and his partner Jacques Fonseque took a fancy to its application potential in the advertising industry. Sure enough, neon signs were very popular as advertising signs. People like its psychedelic lights and diverse text and graphics, and merchants are willing to buy this novelty sign at a high price. Neon gradually became popular in Europe, and Claude also began to expand his business empire to other corners of the world.
large, striking neon sign

+++ Large, striking neon sign in place Blanche ©Léon Gimpel (1929)

The colorful in the dark night is the one that client wants

In 1923, Los Angeles car dealer Earl C. Anthony bought two "Packard" signs from Claude's company, and neon began to successfully enter the United States, and more colors were developed. Neon first became a symbol of car culture, dotting highway fast food restaurants, gas stations and motels at night, and then lighting up city bars after Prohibition was lifted. Times Square in New York is also famous for its neon signs.

Since the popularity of neon lights, there have been many small workshops infringing on the manufacture. After the patent expired in 1932, the craftsmen became more reckless, and Claude's business was hit hard until the designer Douglas Leigh joined. He combined bold and creative signs and lighting designs with neon lights for a moment. 

new york times square neon signs

+++ New York Times Square in the 1930s on a postcard©Flickr

the "camel man"

+++ The "Camel man" signboard in Times Square combines the signboard with smell, sound and mist, making the man on the signboard breathable and eye-catching.©Unknown

In the 1940s and 1950s, Las Vegas became the epitome of neon culture, with garish colors, patterns, and lighting dynamics tightly integrated with architecture that filled the streets. Unlike Douglas Leigh's concept of signboards as landscaping, Las Vegas-specific culture makes the signboard itself a spectacular spectacle.
neon museum in las vegas

+++ Neon Museum in Las Vegas(The Neon Museum)©Deidra Wilson



Canada, also located in North America, also experienced neon fever. As Canada's "neon capital", Vancouver's number of lights reached its peak in the 1950s, with nearly 20,000 lights scattered all over the neighborhood, with an average of one for every 18 residents, second only to Las Vegas in total. Going to the street to watch neon even became a pastime for people at the time.



pender street neon signs

+++ Pender Street, Chinatown, Vancouver, 1960s©Archive Photos/Getty Images



Tacky or popular? Who has the final say?


After reaching its heyday in the 50s, neon began to decline. Bright colors often associate it with the red light district, public aesthetics have changed, and cities have begun to promulgate anti-neon laws.
In 1958, Vancouver's Community Arts Council asked City Hall to renovate the city's appearance, arguing that tacky neon were not worthy of the city's proud natural beauty and should not be allowed to tarnish the city's reputation.


"What kind of face do we want to show the world? If we insist on this very noisy and shiny appearance, how do we introduce ourselves? Where is our dignity?"

san francisco's north beach neon signs


+++ San Francisco's North Beach is also known as the red light district©Starcity
In 1974, new sign regulations were introduced, which imposed various strict restrictions on neon. Existing lights were spared, but once repaired and reinstalled, they had to comply with the new regulations. This greatly affected the development of neon, and now only a few neon have survived, some of which are left on the streets, and some of them have entered the city museum.
granville street neon signs

+++ Granville Street in downtown Vancouver is covered with dense neon lights and was called "the city that never sleeps" in 1965.(Great White Way)”©George Weinhaupl

The number of neon signs in the United States also declined rapidly in the 1960s. Fluorescent and plastic signs have become the new favorites due to their low prices, lower maintenance costs and savings on electricity bills, neon is out.
The controversy over neon isn't just about aesthetics, it's also about light pollution. Does the flashing light affect the rest of the surrounding residents? Does a cloudy city with long nights need more light? These questions are inconclusive, but they are worth thinking about.


10 Best Neon Wedding Signs Ideas to Brighten Up Your Wedding Day
Every couple would like their wedding reception to stand out from the rest. In order to achieve this aim, a neon wedding sign will give you such a feature. These signs can be incorporated into any wedding style you think and can work for modern, classic, and even traditional wedding receptions.   Neon signs aren't only exquisite, especially in wedding events, but they are quite adorable and they add some kind of perfect love story blend to the wedding celebration. Neon signs at weddings are usually used to illustrate the couple's love story, love theme, how they met, or even what they both love. Couples who have succeeded in using these signs to tell certain stories or to further brighten their wedding celebration keep hinting at the fact that, most of the guests at their wedding, kept pointing back at the pictures they took before the backdrop of their neon lights, as the highlight of their evening.   However, Neon lights are of different blends and for different wedding themes. But before we talk about the different blends of neon lights that you can use for your wedding, you need to also know that neon lights can be added as a wedding sign to your dance floor, the bar area, or a backdrop where guests can take pictures.   Neon Wedding Sign Ideas We've gathered some exquisite neon wedding signs that you can look out for in order to add a personal touch to your wedding. You can always try to make use of the custom neon wedding sign or you could explore more ways to play with the neon themes and styles for your unique wedding reception.     Wedding Backdrop:A neon sign would look simply beautiful when added to your wedding backdrop. Adding this to your wedding backdrop will add a touch of colour, classic décor and a trendy style to your wedding! You could even ask your photographer to capture unique photos of you and your bridesmaid or your guests in front of the neon wedding signs. It adds a kind of glamour to your wedding photos when taken in such a Also, ensure that the neon light signs blends perfectly with the backdrop. You could have a green fluffy backdrop with a grassy effect, with a blend of pink, golden and silver neon light signs. Personalize your neon sign: The truth is, your neon sign can be more than just a wedding reception décor. You can bring your neon sign into your new home after the wedding is over. This is because the neon sign has a creative way of entertaining you, reminding you both of the fascinating events at your wedding. In other words, you could put your new names on the neon sign. For instance, your neon sign lights can read; The Andrews or Sabrina & Joseph. After the light is customized, you could hand it over your entertainment space, or the cocktail/champagne/bar area. Add Neon light to a colorful wall: Colorful walls with neon signscreate a stunning effect. If you've always wanted a simple but yet beautiful décor element, then you could subscribe for a greenery wall or another random color that can blend with the lights. Such a creative fixture has a way of pulling the guests' attention. You could put signs like; drunk in love, happily ever after, or forever in love. When your neon light carries such signs, it tends to showcase your wedding reception in a more classy light. Use your Initials: Here is another classic way to use neon signs for your wedding reception. This style, when personalized, intends to project a message of subtleness to everyone. Your initials could be; A & J or A J. This style is for couples who may not want their names or love themesall over the place. But would love their initials personalized as a monogram on the neon lights. Light Up your Garden:Just in case you are one of those couples who wants a simple yet classy wedding, you can always use neon signs in your garden even if you have no backdrop. Or you could recreate a backdrop quickly. Without a backdrop, the neon sign can be placed on the flowers or if there is a tree, you can make use of the tree trunk to interpret your love for nature. Just in case you want a backdrop, you can always get a greenery backdrop or a DIY backdrop with plywood constructed to fit the colors and blend with the neon sign. When this is done, neon sign lights can be placed on it. Your Wedding Bar: Your wedding bar is a great place to showcase your wedding theme or even your personality. You could play with words or personalize words on your neon light like; Let's party forever. Such a theme also gives an idea of who you are, and what you would like your guests to do at your wedding reception. Hashtag wedding sign:Sounds like what any Gen Z couple would like to do at their wedding. In order to have a digital wedding album to look forward to, you could create or personalize your neon sign to be a hashtag of your initials or hashtag of your union. This will further encourage the guests to use your hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. Just imagine your wedding trending on social media! Hashtag neon signs can also be your wedding theme. Examples of hashtag neon signs; #E&Iforever #foreverinlove. Also, memories of hashtags inspired by neon signs tend to cause couples to bond even more after the wedding. More than One Neon Signs: No rule says you mustn't have more than one neon sign light. You can have more than one. As long as it doesn't get rowdy enough to cause distraction. Try to create your neon sign around an edifice like a waterfall, a tree, or maybe the rooftop of a house, or something you both treasure. The joy of having neon signs at your wedding reception is that it gives your reception a creative and appealing look. It doesn't look boring. Choose a beach-themed neon sign: Just in case you signed up for a beach wedding, you can always check for beach themes and other aesthetics that could fit with the neon sign and wedding theme as well. For instance; you could create a seashell backdrop with a fascinating neon sign. Or you could erect a small wooden-painted structure with a neon sign of a beachwedding! On it. Honor your Icon: The inspiration that should come with selecting a neon sign for your wedding should be well thought of. For instance, if you and your partner are a fan of Jackie Chan, Harry Potter, and any other classic heroes, you could create themes and aesthetics that fit with this purpose. Also, your wedding venue should fit with the theme of the wedding as well. So that the décor like the neon sign and style can properly fit in to enhance the wedding theme.   How should you hang your neon sign? First off, before you hang your neon sign at your wedding reception, you must have picked a particular type of neon signage. That means; you should consider what your neon sign wants to say. After which, you may now decide how you intend or where you want to hang it. For example; if your neon sign says; drunk in love, that means your neon sign should be hung on the dance floor, in the bar area, DJ booth or even by the reception area where the glasses of champagne are neatly arranged for toast. You need to interpret your neon signage otherwise, a wrongly interpreted neon signage could disrupt the wedding theme. You may hang your neon sign on the wall with flowers or better still, leave it on the wall to glow!   Also, your event planner or wedding décor company you hired should be able to make this decision for you. Your event planner and their design team may work together to create an even more fascinating neon sign for your wedding venue. Together, you both can work to create a safe and creative decision that will help make your dream/vision come to life!   How do I get inspiration for my neon sign? Just in case you can't find inspiration for your neon sign, you need to understand that there is a list of endless information for your wedding décor. Ranging from the numerous wedding themes online, you could always draw out inspiration from your achievements in life, a book you read, the most fascinating event of your life, how you met your partner, the best food, the best place to go, or even your best color can draw out the inspiration that you think you don't have for your neon sign. But then, a wedding theme settles it all. When you have a theme for your wedding, you can easily design your neon sign. So the question is, do you have a wedding theme?   Conclusion Neon wedding signs can't be overused because it brightens the mood of wedding guests, adds color, and ambience, and increases the interest of the guests at the wedding.  A neon wedding sign is quite affordable and can easily get you the exact décor style you want at your wedding.
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How To Install Neon Signs:The Ultimate Guide To Installing Neon Signs
  Your sign is like a beautiful painting, but even easier to hang 😎 You have 3 options: Mount it to the wall Hang it from the ceiling Use 3M Stripes Screw mounting In your box, you will find a set of screws tailored to your sign. This will allow you to easily mount the sign on the wall. It looks like this: Sling suspension It is also possible to hang your sign from the ceiling. Just mention it and we will pre-drill the support accordingly and provide you with a lanyard. 3M Strips Before we go step by step on how to install your sign with the 3M Strips, please note what surfaces they work on and which ones they don't: Now that you've figured out where you beautiful new neon is going to be displayed, here's how to install: Step 1: Separate the strips. Remove one of the white liners and press onto the backing of the sign. Step 2: Press a second strip on top of the first one until they both click. Repeat this operation with all the bands. Step 3: Press each side of the sign firmly against the wall for 30 seconds. Then, light it up! 3M Strips on UV Printed Backing Please note, we don't recommend using the 3M Strips with UV Printed acrylic backing. The strip can peel off the colour or print on the acrylic if you try to remove it after installation, thus damaging your beautiful neon. We recommend placing the 3M Strips in areas that are clear and not coloured to avoid this from happening.  
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