Neon signs have been in use present in the United States for about 100 years. They first came into use in the year Packard Motor Car tycoon Earle C. Anthony ordered two huge neon signs imported from France which were illuminated in their Packard name. The neon signs created so much a stir that it practically stopped traffic!
A Brief History of Neon Lights
Neon signs are produced using Neon (Ne) gas and other gasses that are similar. It was discovered first by a Scottish chemical scientist known as Sir William Ramsay and his colleague Morris W. Travers in 1898. Neon was not the first discovery made by Sir Ramsay.
In 1894 Sir Ramsay and Lord Rayleigh discovered argon gas. In 1895 Sir Ramsay discovered the first sample of Helium. Sir Ramsay knew without a doubt that there was a component in between helium or the element argon that was not present. After many trials and failures and trial and error, the two of them, Sir Ramsay as well as Morris Travers decided to freeze an argon sample in liquid air.
The sample began emitting gas, they gathered the gas in an air-tight glass tube. Once the gas was encapsulated in the tube, they ran tests to determine the characteristics of the gas sample. Visit Custom Neon Signs UK to get your own Custom Neon Signs now. Some of these tests involved applying a high-voltage in the form of electric current to the tube which led to discovery neon gas, and the invention of neon light bulbs. It would be only just a few years after that neon lights made an unforgettable appearance across France and Europe and America just a few years from the scene.
While it was not him who came across the neon lights but it was French engineer George Claude who had introduced France and the rest of the world to the first ever neon light. At the Paris Motor Show in 1910,
George Claude adorned the building with 40-foot tall vacuum tubes that were filled with the red-orange glow from neon, which captivated all the people of Paris. When they first appeared in the Paris Motor Show in 1910 the tubes would last just two more years before companies started using neon lights to promote their businesses including the Parisian barbershop being the first to take on the task.
What happened when neon lights arrive in the United States? Earle C. Anthony of Packard Motors commissioned two neon signs with orange and blue for their showrooms located in Los Angeles and San Francisco from France. Americans were so fascinated by the massive glowing lights that it created a disturbance to movement. Around the turn of the century, neon signs started to gain popularity throughout the U.S.
How Does Neon Work?
Neon gas (Ne) is a gas that fills an air tube with electrodes on both sides. The current of electricity (about 15,000 voltages) travels through the tube and ionizes the atoms in the gas. This process lets electrons escape from the atoms, resulting in “free” electrons. When the electrons are neutral, their color is evident, creating the glowing red-orange light we’ve come across so well. This same process can be applied to the other gases utilized in neon signs too.
The glass tubes that are used to create neon lights are typically either five or four feet tubes that have different dimensions. The glass tube is made up of Phosphorus powder as well as gas. In the tubes are electrodes through which electricity will be transferred. Glass tubes are able to be bent into any shape. A lot of tube benders employ designs to ensure top-quality designs. They are usually made of parts, and then welded in the final stage before being filled with the correct gas according to the desired color.
Is Neon (Ne) Really in Neon Lights?
Yes and not. Contrary to the term “neon signs”, neon gas is only used for specific shades. Other gases are also used to make different neon colors. Another gas that is commonly employed for neon lights is the gas argon. Argon emits a less powerful light and produces a shade of blue. In most cases, a little bit of mercury can be added so that the light is a bit more powerful.
Although helium is rare it is still able to make red-pink lights. Another gas or element that can be used to create neon signs is xenon. Xenon produces a hue of light purple/lavender. Visit Custom Neon Signs Now to know more about Neon Signs. The main place you’ll find xenon isn’t in neon lighting however, you’ve probably encountered it in strobe lights as well as flash photography.
Although krypton can be used to create more than neon lights, it allows for simple color control due to the color it produces. It emits a white, yellow glow. When it is coupled with a vacuum tube that has colored glass, it’s the glass’s color that will shine.
Although neon, argon Helium, xenon, and Krypton can be utilized to make those huge bright, and vibrant signs, the primary gas sources used for neon signage are argon and neon.
Because argon produces weaker light, it could be used to produce green, white, and yellow as well as the blue that it naturally emits. It is also possible to alter the color of the air through the use of a colored vacuum tube. For example, the argon gas releases the color blue when we fill a yellow tube with argon, then the resultant color will be green.
Environmental Impact of Neon Signs
There are many who worry that neon lights could have an impact on the environment. They do utilize natural gas in the end, at the very least. The research was conducted into these gasses and it was discovered that neon and argon gasses are non-toxic and inert that is to say they are not hazardous.
However, certain neon signs have very small quantities of mercury that can cause harm. When neon lights are disposed of in a proper manner, it reduces the impacts. Furthermore, the power usage of neon lights is significantly less than what fluorescent light bulbs consume. In taking energy usage into consideration it is evident that neon lights are greener than fluorescent lighting.
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