Neon signs, once considered a relic of the past, are experiencing a resurgence of interest and enthusiasm. Their electrifying charm is not only attracting artists and enthusiasts alike but also transforming home décor trends and business branding.
The Dawn of Neon: A Historical Insight
Neon signage first lit up the U.S at the turn of the 20th century, a concept introduced by French engineer Georges Claude at the Paris Auto Show in 1910. The application of physics and chemistry led to a "glow discharge," which was soon adopted for advertising purposes by glassblowers in the U.S. Read our neon history article.
The Working Mechanism
The process involves sending a voltage through electrodes in a sealed glass tube containing a noble gas. This results in a glowing discharge. The glass tubes, also known as 'benders,' are manipulated into various shapes to form letters, lines, and elaborate designs.
The Neon Artistry
This innovative approach of "painting with tubes" led to the creation of advertisements both grand and simple. The vibrant glow of neon became emblematic of the American landscape, drawing attention to diners, motels, and casinos, especially along the lonesome highways of the American West.
The Evolution of Neon
Neon signs featured prominently in some of the 20th century's most vibrant architectural styles. They highlighted the Art Deco hotels in Miami's South Beach and outlined the futuristic diners and drive-ins of Los Angeles in a style known as Googie.
However, by the 1970s, neon had fallen out of favor as it started being associated with less glamorous establishments. Many businesses found it more cost-effective to use backlit plastic signs, leading to a decline in the use of neon.
The Revival of Neon
As the 20th century neared its end, collectors and preservationists started acquiring old neon signs, often for free. They restored these signs, hanging them in homes or businesses, marking the beginning of the neon resurgence.
Neon Museums and Parks
Appreciation for neon led to the creation of neon parks and museums. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas, opened in 1996, holds around 250 signs, while L.A.'s Museum of Neon Art, launched in 1981, holds dozens of vintage pieces along with contemporary artwork.
Neon Learning Workshops
The resurgence of interest in neon has also seen a rise in neon artistry workshops. New artists are learning the craft, intrigued by the handmade and hard-to-replicate glow of neon signs.
Why Neon is Becoming Popular
Neon signs are not just a thing of the past. They are becoming increasingly popular for their unique appeal, versatility, and energy efficiency.
Neon signs add a distinctive pop of color and light to any space, creating a unique and edgy appeal. Whether it's a retro look for your kitchen or a calming touch for your bedroom, neon signs can transform the aesthetics of your space.
Neon signs are versatile, allowing you to experiment with different shapes and words. They can add authenticity to your walls or revamp your shelves, making your space truly unique.
Contrary to popular belief, neon signs are energy efficient, using more than 50% less electricity than basic light bulbs. They also last up to 10 years, making them an eco-friendly option.
Neon for Business Branding
Neon signs offer a great advertising solution for businesses. Their vibrant glow attracts customers and increases brand awareness.
Neon for Events
Neon lights are perfect for special occasions, from weddings and parties to business events and charity dinners. They create an amazing photo backdrop, adding a touch of glamour to any event. View some neon signs for events.
Neon as Art Pieces
Since the 1960s, artists have been using neon lighting to create impactful contemporary pop art. These electrifying artworks can be used as wall art, giving your room a modern vibe.
Conclusion: Neon in the Modern World
As neon becomes more widely available, people are using it to bring a touch of nostalgia to their homes. From adding fun and positivity to entertainment venues to promoting brands, neon signs are truly having their moment.So, whether you are an artist, business owner, or homeowner, it's time to illuminate your world with neon signs. As the saying goes, "if you say it with neon, people will listen.", Chris Diprose, Voodoo Neon