The neon sign has lit up downtown areas from Las Vegas to Hong Kong for more than 100 years. But is its cheerful glow in danger of being dimmed out completely?
The History of Neon
It was in the year 1896 when William Ramsay, a distinguished British chemist and future Nobel Laureate, discovered the spectacular qualities of the rare gas. Neon just forms just 0.0018% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Ramsay placed the rare gas in a glass container and charged it with electricity. When electricity passed through the gas turned into a blaze of brilliant crimson light. It was, he said, like the Northern Lights. Neon Lights have held mankind spellbound since then.
As early as 1910, Georges Claude, a French engineer, demonstrated two 12m-long bright red neon signs at the Paris Motor Show. In the years leading up to World War I, Claude’s company, Air Liquide, laced Paris with neon signs. It was 1919, the entrance of the Paris Opera was lit with neon. The public was awestruck.
Singapore's Long and Winding Road with Neon Signs
Singapore's Neon glow has been long and winding. In the 60's and 70's Singapore seemed to be awash in the glow of lights. Neon signs seemed to be omnipresent. No One could ever seem to escape being bathed in the glow of neon. The huge advertisement billboards that dominated Guillemard Circus being. North Bridge Road too had humongous billboards towering some 50 meters above ground. A huge flashing Setron neon advertisement that was wrapped around the cylindrical water tank could be seen for miles (Setron was a homegrown maker of TV sets).
Get the Neon Glow in the Dark
Virtually every major community has its share of Neon Signs, usually in the front window of a store. They are becoming popular these days. These gas filled crimson light emitting tube are back in fashion. But unfortunately very few sign companies have the talent and skill. Signarama CBD is one of the leading Neon sign experts in the region. Over the years we have honed the skill of bending the gas tube and shaping them to spell words or make designs. But what are the actual advantages of neon over traditional lighting or LED lights?
If properly made Neon Signs can last years. A light bulb has an average operating life of six months to a year. In contrast, neon lights last longer than ten years. When they do fail, it is usually because of the electrical transformer or wiring deterioration.
Variety of Operating Ranges
Traditional lighting that requires a standard electrical source. Whereas neon signs can be operate on a wide variety of voltages. This liberates lighting designers to try more creative approaches to lighting. They are not limited by the types of structures or utilization of power sources.
Low Energy Use
The interaction of the rare gas with electricity, causes the crimson glow. As a result, Neon lights use significantly less energy than traditional lights. The Neon Glow is obtained by using electricity as a means to instigate light. Some estimates put energy savings as high as 50 to 70 percent.