Everything You Wanted to Know About Our Neon Signs
The process of creating neon signs has remained largely unchanged since the invention of neon lighting in 1903. Each sign typically takes two days of work to make and is composed of between five and twelve hand-blown neon tubes.
To create the tubes, straight four-foot raw tubes of glass are used, with some tubes made from colored glass. When turned off, these tubes resemble colorful stained glass murals, and the colored ones are particularly expensive and are hand-drawn. The other primary type of tube is white when turned off, with a phosphorus coating inside that turns argon gas to various colors when excited by electricity. Handmade welds and different formulations of phosphorous coatings can produce multiple colors from a single tube.
Each tube is hand-bent over a ribbon burner, filled with either an argon/mercury mix or pure neon gas, and electrodes are welded to the ends before they are subjected to bombardment and vacuum pumping to remove all air. The rare noble gasses are then added and the tube is sealed. After being burned in for 24 hours on a 12,000-volt transformer, the tubes are arranged, connected, and mounted on a metal grid. Finally, black paint is applied to complete the artistic appearance of the sign.
Neon signs are delicate works of art composed of multiple tubes connected in a closed loop. If one bulb breaks or goes out, the entire sign will stop working. Because the gas itself conducts the electricity, neon signs are gas generating lamps with no filament, which can sometimes cause wavering due to the movement of the gas. Heavy wavering typically goes away in 2-3 weeks.
If used intermittently and left alone, neon signs can last for 20-30 or even 50 years without requiring recharge. If left on 24/7, their life expectancy is around 40,000 hours or 4 years. Neon signs operate best above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can be stored at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why neon lighting has been a popular choice for over 75 years in Las Vegas.
If you need help finding the perfect additions for your garage or man cave, you’re in the right place. At Grease Monkey Garage, we have everything you need, from neon signs, clocks, and metal signs, to automotive lifts and storage options. Start shopping now or contact us today for more information!