Many experts in the lighting field believe that the overall outlook for neon signage seems to be very optimistic. Neon signs have a record of 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 occur.
Let’s start with some general information about neon such as why it’s used, uses other than advertising, where it’s used here and in other countries, neon signage around the world, and so much more. Everyone knows its main use is for advertising and that’s what keeps the neon sign industry going, but it has many other uses that are beneficial to the public. Enjoy watching TV? Neon is used in in television tubes. Do you have a neon wall clock? Neon lighting is use in the home and in many businesses to enhance and highlight dark areas. It is used in gas lasers is used to remove eye cataracts and for other medical problems. Many people have flown, but did you know this? It has been used in beacons and it has can be seen by pilots have seen it 20 miles away when it was impossible for them to see other kinds of lights. Neon lights can be seen through the fog. Many travelers have found it very helpful when looking for a motel on a foggy night. Neon does all this and more.
However, neon’s biggest and most widely-known use is in neon signs. What makes it so useful for signs? There are two reasons for this. First neon is a first-rate conductor of electricity, and secondly it has the amazing ability to give off light that can be seen at great distances. As hard as it may be to believe neon technology started in Europe in 1675. It’s not that neon signs were invented then but just the idea that would grow into the modern neon sign. In fact, strange as it may seem electricity was not even discovered yet. These two ideas developed independently because neither was dependent upon the other being in place neon signs in lahore.
It wasn’t until 1910 that in Paris a, man called Georges Claude came up with the idea for neon signs. His first effort was a sign for a barber shop in that city. How and when did they first come to the United States. Earle Anthony, the owner of an auto dealership in Los Angeles, apparently heard about neon signs and visited Paris. The result was two Packard neon signs which he purchased for $1,250. The year was 1923. The idea spread quickly because both businesses and the public took hold of this new concept in advertising. Traditional sign advertising was hit with the brilliant explosion of neon signs. These first signs were called “liquid fire” no doubt because of the bright red light they emitted seem to signify danger.
The first sign that came to Las Vegas was a sign advertising a place called the “Oasis Cafe House”. Who realized then that the city would become one of the country’s two premiere neon signage showcases? It was a notable event but few people, gave much thought other than that.
When discussing neon signage in America the Las Vegas Strip(or “The Strip” as it is often called) and New Yok City’s Times Square are the logical starting points. It is easy to see how they earned their titles. Both receive millions of visitors each year who view neon displays that are almost blinding. Las Vegas may have an edge over Times Square because it receives many more visitors because of its casinos who provide the city’s neon display. In 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 mainstay of the city’s revenues and the casinos are always in business.
The Las Vegas Strip is home to a world 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 Fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA”. The sign was never copyrighted because Willis considered it her 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 world’s 10 most impressive neon signages. Las Vegas is also home to the world’s largest neon sign which carries the name Hilton and is owned by the Hilton Hotel Corporation. This sign was erected in 1996 and covers over 70,000 feet, The Hilton name is 164 feet wide and the letters are 28 feet high. At a price tag of approximately $9 billion it could easily be called the world’s most expensive neon sign.
Times Square received its first neon sign in the mid-1920’s. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square has reached the point where it’s beginning to give the Las Vegas Strip a run for its money. This density is the result of the smaller size of Times Square compared to that of the Las Vegas Strip which runs for miles. In any case both of these locations are filled with thousands of signs.
Turning our attention from these two neon showcases there are other places in the Us that have notable neon signs. However, they are naturally not on the same level as the previously mentioned giants of neon signage. In Elk City, Oklahoma at the National Route 66 Museum proudly exhibits the giant iconic Route 66 neon sign. The city of Saginaw, Michigan claims it has the largest neon sign in the state an d the largest figural sign in the nation. Figural neon signs show humans and animals. This neon sign is 35 feet high and fifty feet long.
The list of the top 10 neon signs in this country has many neon signs that are nationally known. Many of them are long gone. They all once brightened a city street. Number one is Boston which had its Schrafftt’s n sign which was a symbol of the company’s candy and chocolate business. Second place on the list went to the “Vegas Vic” sign which was standing tall on the city’s Fremont Strees from 1951 to about 1995 when it was retired.
In number three position is the Great Grain Belt Bear sign in Minneapolis which was used a great many years since it was installed in 1940, and is now up for sale. Fourth is the Coppertone Girl sign that was erected on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard to advertise the company’s product, suntan lotion. It was a city landmark and was there from 1959 to the 1990’s. What made the sign so noticeable was the puppy that was tugging on the little girl’s bathing suit. Next on the list is the Skipping Girl sign from Abbotsford, Australia. She was called”Little Audrey” and she advertised the Nycander Company’s product, sugar. She was gone in 1968 but due to the public’s outrage at the loss of this landmark she was replaced by a replica in 1970. Portland, Oregon’s “Made in Oregon” sign which advertised sugar was erected in 1941. It was changed over the years and remained in place when the company left the building in the 1950’s.
The Westinghouse Company’s sign in Pittsburgh to the number seven spot. It had been up since the early 1920’s and was taken down in 1998. Taking the number eight place is the Magikist’s Company of Chicago with its sign advertising carpets. The 41,400 pound lips on this sign were regarded as a city landmark However, all of the previous neon signs mentioned are gone. The number nine sign, the Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada which was built in 1927 and is still going strong. Last on the list is the Traveler’s Insurance umbrella sign which can be found in Des Moines, Iowa. It was built in 1963 and still in operation.