A Brief History of Neon Lightng

You’ll see impressive neon signs as you drive through LA, such as the Angel City Brewery sign located in the Los Angeles Art District. It was created by Dave’s Signs. Did you know that the art of creating these signs dates back more than 100 years? Let’s go back in time and see the history of neon lights to find out why they still play an important role in business advertising.

1855 – Illuminated Glass Tubes

While many believe that neon signage was introduced by Georges Claude in the early 20th century, it began with illuminated tubes made of glass in the middle 19th century. Heinrich Geissler, a German glass blower, began to experiment with mercury-filled glass tubes. Geissler ignited an electric charge using electrodes. The tubes started to glow. The tubes produced a soft yellow glow, but it was not stable enough for constant lighting. This experimentation led to some of the most striking neon signs in Los Angeles today.

1894- Neon Discovered

Sir William Ramsay, a British chemist, made an important discovery just before the beginning of the 20th Century. Ramsey isolated 6 noble gases (neon included) and created a new group of elements. Ramsay was given the Chemistry Nobel Prize for this discovery.

1902 The First Neon Light

Georges Claude, a French chemist, experimented with the Geissler technique of charging glass tubes using combustible materials. He was selling neon lamps in advertising within a decade.

1920s-Neon in the USA

Two large neon signs were purchased by a Los Angeles Packard dealer for 24000 dollars in 1923. The neon signs were everywhere by the time the Interstate Highway system was popularized in the late 1950s.