Our most recent buying trip to the US yielded some terrific finds, not least of which were these stunning vintage neon signs.
In the Fifties and Sixties such signage formed part of the American landscape and indeed the culture, somehow symbolising the colour and exuberance of the post war period. From the drugstore on Main Street to the strip joint in the back alley, everyone knew that they could rely on these lurid neon tubes to send out their siren call to the customers.
Amazingly, the theory behind neon sign technology dates back to 1675, which is before the age of electricity! The French astronomer Jean Picard observed a faint glow in mercury barometer tube, and when the tube was shaken a glow called a ‘barometric light’ occurred. Unfortunately the cause of the light (static electricity) was not understood at the time.
Wind forward 180 years to 1855 and we see the birth of the ‘Geissler tube’, invented by German glassblower and physicist Heinrich Geissler. This heralded much experimentation with gases and electric currents, eventually culminating in the invention of the first neon lamp by Georges Claude in 1910. That’s the history lesson over, but as a point of interest it’s worth mentioning that the glow produced by neon gas is only ever red in colour. The creation of the 150 or so other possible colours is all down to the introduction of argon, mercury or phosphor.
All of which seems pretty academic when you can just sit back and feast your eyes on these beauties, each of them fully restored and adapted to work with a UK supply. They look superb in Games Rooms but are equally stunning in a large kitchen, where the vibrant colours are reflected in the various highly polished surfaces. Check out the incredibly rare show-stopping Budweiser sign along with all the other neon signs in the main section of the website, but be sure to measure your walls before considering placing an order as some of them are almost 2 metres wide!