A timeline of neon development

1675 Picard Creates 1st Light

The technology that creates light is older than the age of electricity experimentation. Although the actual cause of the barometric light is not known, it can be attributed to static electricity

It was being investigated. It was later discovered that electricity had principles.

Once they were discovered, scientists were able move forward to the invention of many types of lighting and, eventually, neon lighting.

1855 Heinrich Geissler’s Glowing Glass Tubes

Heinrich Geissler invented a sealed glass tube with two electrodes in 1855. He then ran an electric current through it to make the gas glow. His famous mercury air pump would be used to help Thomas Edison create his first incandescent lamps. In 1879, Geissler started to experiment with the Geissler tube. Full-scale production was possible in the 1880s. A partially evacuated tube emits an electrical discharge that glows in a specific color depending on the glass and gas inside.

1894 Sir William Ramsay Discovers The Chemical Element – Neon

Sir William Ramsay discovers Argon in 1894 and then isolates Helium. He had discovered the first and third members of the group (Helium, Argon). Ramsay asks Morris W. Travers for help. They searched for the Krypton member element and found it. The fifteen liters of Argon were then solidified by boiling liquid air under reduced pressure. The result was complex with lines in red and violet, as well as a few faint greens. The yellow line is quite bright and lasts at very high vacuum. This was the element that they were looking for. Ramsay kept the chemical family’s name and named it “Neon”. Because of his discovery and subsequent publication of four noble gases (Neon Argon Krypton Krypton and Xenon), Sir William Ramsay was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1904).

He eventually discovered Neon. Neon is a Greek word that means “new gas” and comes from the Greek “neos”. The rare gaseous element neon is found in the atmosphere in a proportion of 1 in 65,000. You can obtain neon by liquefying air. Then, you will be able to separate it from other gases through a process called fractional distillation.

1902 Georges Claude – Develops the First Neon Lamp

Georges Claude, a French engineer, chemist, inventor, and a pioneer in neon lighting and signs development, was Georges Claude. His inventions and discoveries revolutionized neon technology. He was the first to use an electric discharge to a sealed tube containing neon to create the first neon lamp (circa 1902). Claude invented the method of extracting neon from the air by liquefying it. This yielded very pure neon in small quantities. Claude also made a contribution to neon technology with his invention of nonreactive electrodes that can withstand the ion bombardment. The invention of nonreactive electrodes opened the door to a longer-lasting neon tube and requires far less maintenance. Eight years after Claude lit his first neon light, he presented his first neon lamp in Paris to the public. December 11, 1910.


Jaques Fonseque (Claude’s associate) sells the first commercial neon sign to a Paris barber in 1912.1923 Neon comes to America. Two neon signs are sold to a Packard Car dealership near Los Angeles. Earle C. Anthony bought the signs that read “Packard”. Georges Claude was charged $24,000 for these two signs. The popularity of neon signs in outdoor advertising quickly grew in the U.S. The first neon signs were instantly recognizable even in the dark and had a unique visual display that people loved. Its brilliant red illumination intrigued the public so it was called “liquid fire”. The American spirit of creativity and ingenuity was represented by neon. In the 20’s and 30s, neon lights became more popular and dominated American towns. Las Vegas was the center of attention in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. They had colorful neon signs and impressive animations. The City streets were surrounded by decorative architectural accents and border neon.

Main Street lit up by neon from 1950 to 1960

The 50’s saw neon signs dotting the landscape.

All across the United States, diners and motels lit up the night sky, lined our roads and signed our businesses. In 1960, neon usage in cities declined sharply. Municipal sign codes

Public tastes have changed. It was no longer considered “the” option for electric signs, and it was being replaced by cheaper options.

60’s, 70’s 80’s… Only a tiny amount of neon lights dimmed

While neon was still used for electric sign manufacturing, it became less common to use “exposed” neon in the U.S. and fluorescent sign cabinets with translucent plastic face became a low-maintenance alternative to neon signs. The pre-60’s design style is now separated by the sharp decline in neon use from the 60’s through the 80’s.

For decades, this was the dominant theme in our cities, buildings, and signs.

Today Neon Returns/ Evolves Art and Signage

Projects like the 1999 Route 66 Corridor Restoration Act have helped to preserve some of the most iconic Retro-Neon Signs, and monuments, of the past.

Recent years have seen a revival in neon (and argon) design. With elaborate neon signs and increased use of neon in sign design, neon is becoming more popular in retail and outdoor architectural design. The neon art form of neon, also known as neon art, is just as important as its revival in the sign business. The Museum of Neon Art (MONA), Los Angeles, became the first museum to focus exclusively on Neon Art in 1981. Retro-design is gaining popularity. Neon is an integral part of the Electric Sign Industry as well as the Neon Art World due to its versatility and large color palette. Although some recent developments in simulating neon with colored LED’s or colored plastic tubes have made it possible to create close simulations, they still lack the brightness and unique characteristics of neon and argon tubes.

Neon was invented as a scientific invention, just like other forms of art. It is the result of many scientists, engineers, chemists and craftsmen. The result of many Physicists, Engineers, Chemists and Craftsmen.

Our buildings will be displayed in our art galleries, as well as in our widows. They will continue to be an art form and an advertisement tool for many years.

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