Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Perks Of Using Neon Lights on the Street

The electrifying and innovational concept of neon lights was introduced to the world in the early 1920’s and traditional marketing methods soared to another level. In the year 1923, a French company in the United States called Claude Neon owned by Georges Claude, introduced the world to neon gas signs. In the same year, the first neon sign was installed at a Packard car dealer in Los Angeles City at a cost of $24,000.
Since this early installation of neon, the concept has boomed due the many advantages neon offers over other types of signage. Even today, neon sign age holds it ground, despite what competing industries such as LED would have you believe. Some of the very prominent benefits of using neon lights are as follows:
Catchy Appearance for Consumers
The neon signs used today are infused with miscellaneous noble gases like helium, and neon that have the characteristic of producing a diverse variety of colors which is not possible with simple lights. These lights can be viewed from a farther distance no matter what the color. This is why neon lights are so attractive for consumers as they can’t help but notice the colorful sign boards. You hardly ever miss them as you look at the dazzling display of neon lights. Just take Broadway in New York or the Fremont Street of Las Vegas. They are just as beautiful and artistic as the fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Sign of Popular Trademarks
Neon lights have the potential benefits of not only attracting onlookers, but also adding to the image of the product or company. The eye-catching displays create a psychological impact on the mind, by luring the customers and to make them think that “this is their best choice”. Many national companies continue to select neon in their newest installations including: Target, Old Navy, Bass Pro Shop, Ramada, Red Lobster and Bennigan's  to name but a few. 
Customizable Characteristics
Neon can be used extensively to serve different purposes because of its customizable characteristic. It can be bent to form different shapes, letters, symbols, and numbers. This is why they are not only used for exterior signs, but also for decorating the interior walls and ceilings. This way, you can create different themes to make your displays catchy and relevant.
Low Cost and Energy Consumption
One of the massive benefits of using neon lights is that they are not expensive, at least as compared to the benefits that they render. Neon lights can easily be maintained for a long period because of their low energy consumption rate and durability. Too often, large corporations producing alternate lighting systems like LED, who have robust marketing campaigns, mislead the public or present incomplete information. When claims are made about the environmental impacts of neon, including energy efficiency and mercury content, one must consider the source of the data. Scientific studies have proven neon's low cost and energy efficiency. These studies show that neon signs are environmentally responsible and, with an extensive color palette, a creative flexible lighting system. 
You can boost up your business to greater heights with the lure of attractive and colorful neon signs. You can even follow up some ideas for your installations from Fire House Neon Signs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Neon Signs - Old is New

Surprisingly, the new-age is familiar with technology, but people are still attracted to the old signage mainstays especially in case of neon. Many companies are more dedicated these days to create “new signs” that are reminiscent of yesteryear. If you have ever visited the City of Memphis TN, you will have seen Bass Pro Shops nationally recognized flagship store that encompasses this vintage look.

Known as the “8th Wonder of the World”, the Brass Pro Shops massive 32 story/535,000sf store is positioned as the Worlds Largest Pyramid. How did Bass Pro Shops endeavor to design visual signage for entrances into the various sections of this colossal structure without appearing dwarfed and all the while maintaining a down home feel? Using neon of course! Facades and directional neon are integrated into the overall design concept of an old-time bayou village.

In April, thousand of residents congregated in the parking lot of the Pyramid for the grand opening, amidst music and speeches. However once the festivities died down, the neon signs assumes the staring role as the crowd slowly filed inside. Not only does the neon gives a unique look to the interior of this retail nexus, but also beckons visitors to explore. Retail signage for specific products (rain wear, hunting clothing and fly shops) blend into the themed visual presentations to provide easy way finding for customers.

An example of animated neon signage can be seen in the Waterfowl sign, as visitors experience flying ducks chasing one another into cattails  below. Other signs include the neon-illuminated Fish Bowl sign as the one of the main features of Big Cypress Lodge. A leggy female figure beckons shoppers to the Ladies Apparel section. The animated Footwear sign would have been at home on the storefront of a 1930's cobbler. In the center of it all, the worlds tallest freestanding elevator glows in neon as it rises to an observation deck above.

With more than 35,000 visitors a day this retail giant attracts visitors and tourists from all over the world proving that using the power of neon is just good design.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Vintage Neon Signs Trending in Chicago

Since the advent of neon signs, people have been fascinated with the brilliant glowing colors. Once they served as signage and now as attractions in the modern era. When you see a classic restaurant, you probably don’t think that it neon signs serves anything other than an advertisement of services, and good food. Nowadays, however, they have another purpose: providing “vintage charm”.
There are several signs in Chicago that were built about half a century ago with the ambiance of a bygone era when “eating out” was considered an occasion and a novel opportunity. The same old concept is trending again.
As owners have quoted that customers cannot resist crowding around these vintage signs and taking pictures for fun and trend. Surprisingly enough, many of the diners are even enticed into going for the new eatery that’s only based on the vintage signs alone. They also add that most of the diners even come time and again to these restaurants over years just to greet the historical landmarks just as their old friends.
According to a survey that the famous newspaper of Chicago Tribune conducted, which asked readers to tell them about the restaurants’ marquees that stood out in the Chicago area, and interviewed the restaurant owners regarding the signs’ history, vintage neon signs are the new trend. The signs either shine today as neon beacons or mark the cultural aspects of the previous generation. In the Chicago area, vintage signs have continued to turn heads even today as customers’ favorites. A few of them are listed below:

Margie's Candies

A restaurant in Chicago at the Western Avenue which has been there from the ‘60s still popularizes itself for its vintage sign. As reported by the owner of the restaurant who said that Acme Wiley Sign. Co created the sign in 1954 which has his mother’s name on it. It’s made up of neon, porcelain, and metal. He added that his mother paid about $3,500 for the sign back in those times when the same amount could buy a Cadillac. Moreover, it has cost them only around $200 to maintain the signage.

Bill's Pizza & Pub

The pub is located in the village of Mundelein at the Lake St and still marks as an attraction popular in the area because of its vintage sign. The owner said in the interview that, in 1957, he had found an aged Rexall Drug sign from a shop that was in Waukegan and he had redesigned the same sign using neon. He put the same sign at the top of his restaurant and his restaurant started doing a lot better than the others.
Palace Grill
Another restaurant in Chicago at Madison St. rated one of the most popular restaurants with vintage signs. Its owner, George Lemperis, had told the Chicago Tribune that their sign has been displayed since the year 1938 and they are happily celebrating their 75th anniversary of longtime success this year. He added that although we don’t see a lot of neon signs in this modern age, at least on small businesses, the one that you see in our restaurant is a real conversation starter. He further quoted that “We are a classic diner and this is a classic diner sign”.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How to Use Neon Signs in Home Décor

The myth that neon signs are limited to bars and open signs is gone.  Neon Signs have smartly made their existence known by glowing strong in fashionable home decor and favorite hangout places. With their vivid pinks, yellows and blues, neon signs are becoming the newest and one of the most in-demand trends in interior design. 
Neon Furniture: Interior designers are going crazy over it. Modern furniture turned into bright glowing orbs have changed the dynamics of the furniture industry. Believe it or not, there are several designers who are incorporating neon into old world furniture. You might be thinking tacky designers are trying to "pimp their ride", but it has a much more practical application. It provides illumination without the need for lamps or overhead lights and, it highlights the details and classic lines of the traditional furniture. It is art that is functional. This concept can easily be DIY-ed using your own furniture and turning it into modern artwork.
Neon Signs as wall décor: Bold designing on a whole new level, interior designers are creating instant booms of color in some of the most fashionably decorated homes around. It’s a night light element that might make moist traditional interior designers cringe, but is a lot of fun. Used in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and kids’ playrooms to add a touch of whimsy with simple catch phrases like “joy”, or "love", famous quotes or names. And the best part? These wordy neon lights can be customized to your own specifications. Probably the most well known room that has incorporated this trend is reality star, Kourtney Kardashian’s master bedroom.  Her hot pink neon LOVE ME sign by artist Curtis Kulig stands out and really makes a statement against the black, white decor.  
Neon signs as Gifts: Customized neon signs for your loved ones are an ideal and modern way to show that you care. Be it birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions, what man wouldn't want a neon sign for his man cave? These cool neon signs add a warm and festive feeling to an otherwise dark cave! But don't limit it to just the men. Neon night lights for kids rooms are all the rage. Check it out! Perfect kids room decor could be any of the retro style wall clocks, decorative sculptures, and neon signs that will add a spunky vibe for the wee modernist. Fire House Neon has hundreds of neon signs to choose from. Match any decor, hobby or interest! 
Neon lightening for your backyards: Neon lights in backyards has become a much widely acceptable and an upscale way to dress up the patio. Art and lighting combines in one durable show piece. Many people have started considering them as a creative alternative to traditional lighing.
Neon signs for home addresses: How many times has it been that the GPS in our car has led us to the wrong location? We all have been through that time where we drove for hours searching for a place or specific location. Imagine a glowing outdoor neon sign instead of old boring house number. Neon signs for home addresses should be encouraged. Such a smart idea to light up your house numbers in neon for safety and as well as aesthetics. People have already started doing it. With glowing numbers, evening visitors will have no trouble finding their way to your door.
There are hundreds of other ways neon signs and clocks can be added to home decors bringing a modern and stylish look to brighten up any dull location. Make sure to light up your world using neon signs as they are the hippest and trendiest way to redesign your interior.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How to Install a Neon Power Supply

Like any electronics, a neon power supply will eventually fail. However with some care, a neon power supply can easily be replaced on a bar sign. Installing a neon power supply may seem difficult at first, which is why we have provided below a step-to-step guide for its installation. Follow the steps as explained and you will again have a glowing neon sign.

Safety first!

Always be careful when working with electrical equipment. While installing a neon power supply, make sure that the sign is disconnected from any power generating source to avoid possible shocks. Always keep installation in conformity with all local electric codes.(NEC, CSA, Ect.) 
  1. The first step involves placing the neon sign on a safe surface and locating the power supply and the location of the GTO wires coming from the power supply. Follow the wires to where they connect to the neon glass. Make a note of the route, as we will want to install the wires of the new power supply in the same location. 
  2. This is where things can go wrong. Neon tubes are fragile and the glass can end up broken, so be very gentle when handling. Carefully detach the rubber end caps from the neon tube exposing the tube’s electrodes and wiring. If the end caps do not want to come off, use a X-acto knife to split it open and peel away. The caps can be replaced with new ones.
  3. Untwist the wires of the electrodes and GTO wire. Careful!  in old signs the wires can be brittle.
  4. If there is a plastic backing, free the GTO wires coming out of the power supply by running them through the holes in the plastic. Never run the GTO leads across the power supply.
  5. Find the screws holding the power supply to the sign backing, unscrew and remove. Save the screws to attach the new power supply.
  6. Now with the screws, fit the neon power supply on the backing. We assume you are replacing with the same make and model. If using a different model you may need to make new holes for the screws. When using multiple power supplies on one sign, be sure to keep at least 3 inches between each unit. Make sure the power supply is secure.
  7. Pass the two separate GTO wires coming out of the power supply though the holes in the sign backing. Turn over the sign to its front. You should be able to see the two wires out of the open holes.
  8. Take one wire and thread it back to the first electrode, following the route of the old wire.  Route the wire so it will not touch the glass or cross the other lead wire. Always keep a minimum of 1 inch between GTO leads and any metallic surfaces.  Align the electrode and GTO and determine the length of the GTO needed.  Keep the leads as equal in length as possible. This step is a bit tricky, so check and double check before cutting. Trim off the excess wire with wire cutters. 
  9. Strip the protective covering off the GTO wire about a inch from the end. Take the wire tips of the GTO and electrode in your hand and twist them together to join. Do this several times for a stronger grip and then bend the wires back to keep them in place.
  10. Slide the rubber end cap back over the new wire splice covering it completely. The end caps not only hold the wires together, but also guard from possible electrical shocks. If you had to cut the old end cap off, buy a new cap to replace it.
  11. Repeat Step 8 and 9 for the second GTO lead. 
  12. Lastly, plug in the electrical cord of the power supply to a  power plug and light up your neon sign.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Tucson Fight: Preserving Historic Neon Signs

With a population of over half a million inhabitants, Tucson, Arizona is one of the prime cities in the US. Located in Pima County, this city has been famous over centuries for its contribution to the world in terms of its giant glowing Neon Signs.
People who grew up here have spent their whole lives glancing at these big vibrant signs all their lives, which is why they are not in favor of the authorities’ decision to take them downs. But let’s take a break and take a look at the story behind it.

A sneak peek into the history of Tucson’s Neon Signs

Southwest had been a popular tourist location when in earlier times, the idea of camping and vacation for most people meant travelling the country through interstates and highways. A spectrum of big flickering neon signs on the highways gave this part of the state a unique and appealing charm. Because of their placements on highways that ran throughout the city, these pink, blue and yellow neon signs proved to be the right kind of attraction for coffee shops, theatre and motels that their owners needed during the late 1940s to 1960s.

America’s Ugliest Street:

These signs were not always seen as an attraction or considered historic landmarks. People considered them as outdated, gaudy in appearance, and visual pollution barricading the beautiful view of the mountains.
Adding to the horror, Life Magazine in 1970 published an article labeling these neon-lit roads as the “ugliest streets” in America.
Plastic signs were the new trendy way of promotion which made these neon signs seems bulky and simply old-fashioned. People who owned them stopped maintaining them and they were left as they were. Too big to take down and repair, all that was left were these unlit ruined signs all over the state.

Tucson stands up against taking the Neon signs down:

But times changed. Inhabitants got accustomed to viewing them every day on their routes and began to appreciate the art form. So, when a few years back the Tucson authorities decided to take down these unlit, non-functional neon signs, It came out as a blow for the Tucsonans. They were not ready to give up something they had come to consider historic and sacred.
In 2011, Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation took a stand to preserve the signs that can be termed iconic landmarks. Restoration began the next year.
In 2013, the city invested $125,000 for a preservation program to restore these iconic landmarks. Currently undergoing sign restorations include two famous neon signs; the Hacienda Motel and the Riviera Motor Lodge. Notices were sent out to the owners. The Foundation will pay up to 75% of the cost of restoring the areas historic neon signs, if the owners agree to maintain them for the next ten years.
Jennifer Levstik, who is the preservation lead planner for the city’s Historic Preservation Office, expressed her views saying,
It’s a part of our history that’s really unique. We have to start recognizing these historic resources of the past. Anything I can do to help bring these back to life, I’ll do it.” 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Advertising With Neon Signs

Neon signs are displayed everywhere as a form of advertising for businesses. They are a fairly inexpensive way to market your business because you can display them anywhere and it only costs you a one-time payment to have one made for you. They work great for advertising because people can see the signs from quite a distance away. They are so bright that they draw attention to your store, product or whatever you are promoting. Neon can definitely help your business make more money by increasing the number of customers who walk through your doors.

The main goal of signs is to attract attention. The glowing neon light stands out brightly in the darkness of night. Display one in the window of your store and people will be able to see it as they drive by. It may spark interest in one of these passersby, enough so to get them to come into your store.
Where to Get Neon Signs:
There may be places in your local area that sell pre-made neon signs. Many of the signs are standard template designs like, "Open", "Drive Thru", "Barber Shop", "Restaurant", etc. These types of pre-made signs work well to garner attention and won't cost you nearly as much as a custom sign.
Another place to find pre-made neon signs is on the Internet. These companies will likely have the greatest number of options for you to choose from. There are many retailers online that specialize in their own unique signs and you will find a variety of styles and colors of pre-made neon signs to choose from.
You will also find the opportunity to have a custom-made neon sign for your store as well. This means that you can hire someone to make a unique sign designed especially for your business. A sign like this is likely going to cost you more money but it gives your business the chance to stand out amongst your competitors. You can display your sign proudly because no one else will have one like it. A custom neon sign will gain a lot more attention from people passing by than a standard "Open" sign, which means it also has the ability to bring more traffic into your store.
No matter what, neon signs are a great way to promote your business with another unique form of relatively inexpensive advertising. If your business is near a road, intersection or any other place that has a lot of traffic, a neon sign is the perfect way to turn that traffic into potential customers and get these people interested in coming into your store.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Australia Releases Collectible Neon Sign Postage Stamps

The country of Australia recently announced its very own series of commemorative neon sign postage stamps – showcasing three of their historic neon signs.
The Skipping Girl, known as Little Aubrey, erected in 1936 as an advertisement for Skipping Girl Vinegar. The sign depicting a young girl playing jump-rope and instantly captured the eyes and hearts of all of Melbourne. The current sign erected in 1970 is not the original sign. The original was removed in 1968 when the company moved. Regarded as a local landmark, public outcry followed its removal. In response to this a campaign was undertaken to reinstate it. With the involvement of businessman John Benjamin, a new slightly smaller Little Audrey sign was reinstated on the roof of Benjamin's Crusader Plate Company, a short distance from its original location. Officially declared a Victorian Heritage Icon by the National Trust in 2007, the Skipping Girl Sign is the first animated neon sign in Australia and is included on the Victorian Heritage Register which lists the most significant places and objects. In 2012, Little Audrey was converted to solar power to skip 16,000 times every night powered by energy built up during the day from sunlight.
After World War II, Queenland's Gold Coast because a popular honeymooners destination. The Pink Poodle, built in 1967, to adorn the Pink Poodle Motel became synonymous with the surfers paradise. The motel was demolished in 2004, but the sign was saved and moved to a nearby location.
The Dandy Pig was erected in the 1950s for the Gippsland Co-operative Bacon Curing Company. The illuminated sign features a finely dressed Mr Pig in formal morning dress, doffing his top hat to welcome people to Dandenong, Victoria. After the company closed in 1983, the sign was placed in storage before being restored and re-erected at the Dandenong Market in 1993, as acknowledgement of the sign’s social, cultural and historical status.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seattle's Most Photographed Attraction

It’s been said that Seattleites will exaggerate about how much it rains in order to deter visitors from moving to their emerald city. The “rain” part is a bit exaggerated, because while it does get a lot of overcast skies, in reality it has fewer inches of annual rainfall than New York City, Houston Texas and dozens of other U.S. cities. Rain or shine, there is a multitude of photogenic scenes to be found in the City of Seattle. Pike Place Market, the majestic views of Mount Rainier, and the Great Wheel to name just a few. However, Seattle’s most photographed landmark is… NOT the Space Needle, as many would have first guessed. So what is it that can outshine the allure of Seattle’s defining landmark and draw shutterbugs away? How about a rotating pink neon elephant! The whimsical elephant sign of the Elephant Super Car Wash located at the corner of Battery Street and Seventh Avenue–literally a block or two from the Space Needle–takes the prize. 
Three brothers Archie, Dean and Eldon Anderson invented an automatic-hands free car wash and in the mid-1950s they opened this location- their second. Only six years later, the Space Needle would become the pink elephant’s neighbor.  Pink elephants now grace eight Elephant Car Wash locations in Seattle and more locations exist in Eastern Washington, Arkansas and California. According to the company’s website, the landmark Battery Street location has been visited by sports figures, celebrities and notable politicians. It’s rumored that Elvis stopped by to get his Cadillac cleaned while filming “It Happened at the World’s Fair.” Probably the most photographed car wash sign in the country, people come from all over and have their photo taken in front of it. 
But…why? In Seattle, there is a fondness for the fun and the quirky and who can't resist a happy elephant made out of hot pink neon bathing itself! It is really hard to not smile when you drive past this gigantic twirling neon sign. 

Interesting factoid: the rotating motor inside stops if the wind blows very hard.

Friday, February 13, 2015

What Size Sign Letters do I Need?

Proper selection of letter height is critical to ensure a sign is legible to its intended audience. To make sure you select the correct letter height, Fire House Neon Signs has included a useful visibility chart that shows an approximate letter size required to be legible at a designated distance from the sign.  
Calculations based on an externally (or naturally) lit sign with all uppercase letters. Factors that may affect required letter size include: color scheme, font selection, traffic and weather conditions. Please refer to the complete study by the Pennsylvania Transportation Institute, Penn University and the United States Sign Council.