Well, after a busy year, I have eventually got around to hanging up my Mullard neon sign. This came from my friend Zhang who lives in Wuyishan in China way back in June 2018 – some 6 months ago.
I really need my customers to purchase more radio collectibles so that I can afford to go visit Zhang where he has promised to treat me to the best Chinese cuisine available and a long hike in the Wuyi mountains. For now, I shall just sit and fondly think of him as I bask in the light from my sign and marvel at his craftsmanship which I think you will agree is impressive.
Many of us are familiar with neon as a constituent gas in cold cathode Nixie tubes like the one shown below:-
Neon, a chemical element having the symbol Ne and an atomic number of 10 is a noble gas which was discovered in Britain in 1898. It took a Frenchman in the form of Georges Claude to realise a commercial use for neon and he is cited as being the father of neon signage as well as the ‘Edison of France!;’ wowing the World with his first neon signs in 1910.
Curiously, when Andre Citroen decided to make the Eiffel Tower a giant advertisement in 1925 he chose NOT French neon for his signage but instead, American tungsten filament incandescent bulbs instead – 250,000 of them!
And so it fell to other countries to light their landmarks with neon – Britain had a go at London’s Leicester Square but following the introduction of neon signage in the United States in 1923 things really took off. New York’s Times Square and the Las Vegas strip being prime examples.
The arrival of WW2 curtailed much neon signage installation around the World and postwar, as with so many things, neon technology became unfashionable and was overtaken by fluorescent-lighted plastic and the art of bending coloured tubes into sinuous, gas-filled forms began to wane.
Just as the demise of neon came, the same has happened to fluorescent signage which itself is now being ousted by fibre-optics and LED.
If like me, you prefer the soft glow of neon, then why not contact Zhang and get him to make you a neon sign all of your very own?
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