Although neon signs were not popular in the 1980s and 1990s due to their retro appeal, this century-old technology is still highly sought after by retailers, restaurants, and other service businesses. Neon signs for sale communicate information with style.
- Although historians claim that the first experiment with lighted glass tubes dates back to the late 1600s in some cases, neon signs as we know it have only been around for about a century. Sir William Ramsay, who discovered a variety of “new gasses” including neon in 1904, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Georges Claude (French engineer) invented the neon lamp in 1910. Two years later in Paris, Claude’s business associate sold the first neon sign of its kind to a barber.
- Neon signs have attracted attention ever since 1912 because they can be clearly seen even at night. Many neon signs for sale outdoors are used to complement colorful backdrops, creating streetscape signage and functional pieces of art. The signs’ high visibility was a major reason they were so popular in America’s growth of roadside culture during the 1950s and 1960s. Numerous businesses use custom neon signs in order to assist customers in making decisions. Hoteliers, for instance, use neon “vacancy” signs to lure guests.
- Even though neon signs have not changed significantly since their introduction to America during the 1920s, it is still an integral part of many marketing tools. The late 1990s saw a revival in neon signage. Engineers improved the process by using different gas combinations to broaden signs’ color ranges. A LED neon sign may contain helium (or carbon dioxide) or argon depending on its color. LED and fiber optic technology now allows for more efficient signage. Many signs are shaped in familiar, neon-like designs.
- A number of historians and architects have accused business owners of creating visual clutter by using too many neon signs. Sign owners need to consider the message they send and how it looks in the environment when choosing neon signs. Neon signs can be viewed in many different ways by different communities. New Yorkers were upset about a neon umbrella attached to their bank headquarters. Bostonians however loved their iconic gas station signs and have not had to deal with the new foreign owners.
- Vintage neon signs owners now draw the attention of both customers as well as spectators. Some of the country’s most loved and iconic neon signs are being preserved by historic commissions and restoration societies. They bring prestige to the businesses that have been using them for many decades. More practically, neon signs have been a way of communicating that a store’s business hours are actually open.