12 Interesting Facts About Neon

12 Interesting Facts About Neon

  • Neon was discovered in 1898 by two British scientists Sir Ramsey and MW Travers
  • The discovery wasn't limited to neon, they discovered 3 gas at the same time - neon, krypton and xenon
  • Neon gas is a stable element - meaning it has limited reactivity and is also one of the lighted noble gases
  • Signs made with neon are only a reddish-orange in color, other colors aren't true neon
  • The average household contains 10 liters of neon (in tv's, fridges, air-conditioners)
  • Neon lights penetrate fog better than any other form of lighting and are still used in modern ships
  • Neon is rare in our atmosphere and is expensive to buy
  • Neon is extremely cold, 3x colder than liquid nitrogen and 40x colder than liquid helium making is important in the medical field and cryogenics
  • Whilst neon has its uses in modern society, the most commonly known use for neon signs has been surpassed with advances in LED lighting technologies. 

Welcome to the radiant world of neon. An element that's both rare and abundant, neon has an intriguing dual nature. Its brilliant glow has become a symbol of modern cities, while its scientific properties have sparked countless innovations. From the depths of the universe to the heart of urban landscapes, neon has left an indelible mark on our world. Let's embark on a journey to uncover some illuminating facts about this vibrant element.

Right, lets dive into our fun facts about neon.

1. The Birth of Neon

Neon made its grand debut on the world stage at the end of the 19th century. It was the year 1898, and at the University College London, two British scientists, Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers, were on a quest to discover new elements. By cooling air until it formed a liquid and then warming it, they collected the gases that boiled off.

Their experiment resulted in the discovery of not one but three previously unknown gases: krypton, neon, and xenon. But it was neon, a gas they discovered between helium and argon, that would go on to take the world by storm.

2. The Cosmic Connection

Neon has a cosmic origin. This element is created during the alpha process of stars, where helium and oxygen fuse together. However, it requires a star with a mass at least eight times that of our sun to produce neon. So, every time you look up at the stars, remember: you're gazing at the birthplace of neon.

3. The Brilliant Invention of Neon Lighting

The year was 1902, and a French engineer named Georges Claude was about to revolutionize the world of lighting. Using the leftover neon from his air liquefaction company, Claude created the first neon light tubes by passing an electric current through the gas.

He unveiled his invention at the 1910 Paris Motor Show. Even though his initial intention of using neon lighting for homes didn't take off, neon signs quickly became a popular form of advertising. Today, it's impossible to imagine cityscapes without the mesmerizing glow of neon lights.

4. The Colors of Neon

Despite what the rainbow of neon signs might lead you to believe, true neon signs are only reddish-orange. Other colors are produced by different noble gases or colored fluorescent lighting. So, the next time you see a neon sign, remember: if it's not reddish-orange, it's not truly neon.

5. The Versatility of Neon

Neon's distinctive properties make it suitable for a wide range of uses. From television sets and lasers to vacuum tubes and lightning arrestors, neon has found its way into various aspects of our daily lives. Even in our homes, an average American household contains about 10 liters of neon gas.

6. A Beacon in the Fog

One of neon's most fascinating properties is its ability to penetrate fog. Other lights can get obscured, but not neon. This attribute is especially useful in airports, where neon lights guide aircraft in foggy conditions.

7. The Price of Neon

Despite its abundance in the universe, neon is quite expensive on Earth. The reason? Its rarity in our atmosphere and the cost of extracting it from the air make neon more than 55 times more expensive than liquid helium.

8. The Hidden Dangers of Neon

Neon might be beautiful, but it's not entirely harmless. Exposure to neon can cause frostbite, and inhaling too much of this gas can lead to suffocation. So while neon lights can dazzle us with their glow, it's best to leave the handling of this element to the professionals.

9. Neon in Cryogenics

Neon's cooling capacity, which is three times that of liquid hydrogen and 40 times that of liquid helium, makes it an important refrigerant in cryogenics. In fact, neon is used in cryonics, a process of freezing corpses in the hope that future medical technologies can revive them.

10. An Element of Stability

Neon is a part of the noble gases group, which also includes helium, krypton, xenon, and argon. These elements are known for their stability and lack of reactivity, thanks to their complete outer electron shells. Neon, with its 10 electrons, is the second lightest of the noble gases.

11. The Luminous Legacy of Neon

Today, neon continues to illuminate our world, from the vibrant cityscapes to the screens of our televisions. Its brilliant glow has become a symbol of modernity and progress. Whether in the form of eye-catching advertisements or scientific innovations, neon's luminous legacy continues to shine brightly.

12. The Future of Neon

As we look forward to the future, one thing is clear: neon's journey is far from over. Its unique properties continue to inspire new innovations and applications. So, the next time you see a neon sign or a neon-colored item, remember the fascinating story of this radiant element.

The future of neon doesn't rest with gas neon signs, it has evolved to LED neon signs .  In the world of Voodoo Neon, we strive to bring the vibrant, creative, and innovative spirit of neon to our customers. Our passion for design and our commitment to customization ensures that every one of our faux neon, LED neon signs that we create is a unique reflection of our customers' vision. Whether you're looking to make a bold statement or add a touch of retro-futuristic charm to your space, we're here to light the way.


Are you ready to brighten up your world with neon? Check out our collection of neon signs. If you're looking for something truly unique, why not design your own custom neon sign? Start creating your masterpiece today!

Discover the magic of neon with Voodoo Neon. https://www.voodooneon.com

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Chris Diprose - Author, Interior Designer and Neon Sign Consultant

Chris is our subject matter expert whose vast experience in helping business owners and individuals with a neon sign designed specifically for them.

With over 20 years experience in online he has worked with many businesses.

Founder of Voodoo Neon, Chris is our resident expert.

He also helped setup Neon By Design.

Author Bio