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The History of Neon Signs and Their Rise to Popularity

2 minutes read

Neon signs are an essential part of modern-day signage. These bright, colorful signs can be found on storefronts all over the world. But how did they become so popular? To understand the history of neon signs and their rise to popularity, we need to go back to the early 1900s.

In 1898, William Ramsay and Morris Travers discovered neon gas. Later, in 1910, Georges Claude, a French engineer and inventor, developed a process to convert neon gas into a reliable light source. And thus, the neon sign was born.

Claude's first neon sign was displayed in Paris in 1912 at the Salon d'Automne. It showcased a red "neon tube" spelling out the word "Cafe" and became a symbol of modernity and progress. Over the next few years, neon signs began to pop up across Europe and the United States.

In the early 1920s, the first neon signs appeared in the United States in cities like New York City and Los Angeles. The signs were an instant hit and quickly caught on with businesses looking to attract customers. Neon signs provided a new level of advertising that allowed businesses to showcase their products in a bright, colorful way.

In the late 1920s, neon signs became even more popular as improvements were made to the technology through the use of rare gases, such as krypton and argon. This allowed for even more vibrant colors and greater design flexibility.

By the 1930s, neon signs had become a major fixture in American cities. Some of the most iconic neon signs were created during this time, such as the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, which still stands today.

The popularity of neon signs continued to grow throughout the 1940s and 1950s. This was particularly true in Las Vegas, where the neon sign became a symbol of the city's bustling nightlife and entertainment scene.

However, the rise of LED (light-emitting diode) technology in the 1980s caused a decline in the popularity of neon signs. LED lights were cheaper, more energy-efficient, and required less maintenance than neon signs. As a result, many businesses made the switch to LED lighting for their signage.

Despite this, neon signs have maintained their popularity and continue to be used by businesses today. Many people still appreciate the unique look and feel of a neon sign. And while they may be less common than they once were, neon signs remain a beloved part of the cultural landscape.

In conclusion, the history of neon signs and their rise to popularity can be traced back to their invention in the early 1900s by Georges Claude. From there, neon signs quickly caught on as a popular advertising medium, with their popularity peaking in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, neon signs remain a cherished piece of cultural history and a valued addition to any storefront.

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