Neon Lights are classic and have a long and storied history in the United States. Neon signs were first introduced in 1910 in Paris by Georges Claude. Claude, an engineer by trade, figured out that if he sent voltage through electrodes in a sealed glass tube filled with the rarified gas, the result was a “glow discharge.” Georges Claude was not the first person to figure this out. However, he produced industrial quantities of the gas as a byproduct of his main line of business: air liquefaction.
After Claude brought his neon signs to the United States in 1923, it just took off. Almost immediately, Neon started to be seen in New York, where Times Square became known for all of its Neon. Some of the earliest signs in New York were Loft’s Candies and Willys-Overland Motors. (Willys was the first manufacturer of the still popular Jeep.) The Willys sign is considered the first roof sign in Times Square. Soon there were over 75,000 lighted signs in New York City, many Neon.
The other location in the US known for its Neon is Las Vegas, with the first Neon Sign being placed by the Oasis Café in 1929.
This was the Golden Age of Neon, but it didn’t last, with Neon signs falling out of style by the 1950s. There was a small revival in the 1980s, but Neon was never to be as popular as it was before World War 2.
That doesn’t mean that there are no more lighted signs. It just means Neon (or Argon with Mercury, depending on the desired color) is not as popular as it used to be. Now we have LED. LED lights are now the primary source of lighting in illuminated signs. LEDs are more efficient, have more vibrant colors, last longer, and are more cost-effective than Neon. LEDs are also safer since there is no need for dangerous elements such as Mercury.
Are you feeling nostalgic for some old-school Neon? Well, no need to worry. With LED lights, we can recreate the look and feel of Neon lights without the expense or risk involved.
In a head-to-head comparison of Glass Neon vs. LED Neon, the only area in which Glass Neon beats LED is in the area of nostalgia. The areas where LED is superior to Glass Neon include:
LED Neon is cheaper to manufacture.
LED Neon is far more durable and flexible, while Glass Neon is highly fragile.
Lower energy costs
Shatter-proof, heat-proof, and no dangerous gases or metals.
LED Neon is much easier to install.
LED Neon is lightweight and easy to transport. Neon is heavy and difficult to ship.
LED Neon has a lifespan of 100,000 hours, unlike Glass Neon’s 10,000 hours.
No maintenance, no sound pollution, no interference with Wi-Fi or remote controls
The list goes on. Two other significant benefits of LED Neon are its flexibility and its color varieties. The thin, flexible tubes of LED Neon can be bent in any way you need. You can even make tight bends to make intricate shapes. As for the colors, there are more options than were available with Neon, and as we mentioned, there is no need to use Mercury or any other dangerous metal or noble gas, for that matter. The best part is that there are no restrictions on LED, while many jurisdictions have limited or even banned the use of glass neon due to its risks. Interested in an LED Neon sign for your business? Give us a call, and we will help you figure out what you need.