The history of neon lighting is fascinating, with stories ranging from Claude’s original invention to Jeffrey Moss’s pioneering business. Claude’s invention was widely adopted as a marketing tool and spread a variety of messages in different cities and now you can find top-quality signs by Neon Mama. Neon lights were particularly important during the 1960s when the Soviets adopted ‘neonization’ strategies to mimic capitalist metropolises. Warsaw, for example, was a socialist country with very few consumer shops, so the Soviets used neon lighting to make its capital city look more like the capitals of the West.
Georges Claude’s invention of neon lights was first displayed at the 1910 Paris Motor Show. He used the new type of light to advertise Italian vermouth Cinzano. In 1912, he tried to sell neon lights. In 1913, he sold the first neon advertising sign in the world. The neon sign was a success, but it didn’t stay in one place for long. Claude went on to become the inventor of neon lighting, and in 1932 he opened his own company, Claude Neon.
Claude’s neon tubes were made possible by a new process known as air liquefaction. The process produced a byproduct known as neon, which he used to make neon lights. Neon was the fifth most abundant element in the universe by mass. But Claude’s neon lights had a serious flaw: they couldn’t function properly if other gases were present. The impurities in the air that enter the neon tubes cause the brightness to diminish. To avoid this problem, Claude invented a system known as an in situ filtration system. This process filtered the air around the electrodes, allowing for a longer burning time.
After completing his first demonstration, Claude sought a patent for his invention. He applied for a patent in 1911 and received it in 1915. He lost much of his wealth in the neon lighting business and on failed attempts to harness ocean thermal energy. In August of that year, he was arrested on suspicion of treason. He was accused of collaborating with the Germans. Nevertheless, he was cleared of collaborating with the Germans and was sentenced to life in prison in June of that year.
The invention of neon lights owes its existence to the French industrial chemist Georges Claude. After liquefying air, Claude discovered that it could emit light. This discovery gave rise to neon lights and, eventually, the neon sign. These lights are now ubiquitous in advertising, and the demand for them continues to grow. With the emergence of new technologies, Claude has paved the way for a new way of lighting.
Earle C. Anthony’s Pioneering Business
In 1923, an automotive entrepreneur named Earle C. Anthony bought two neon signs for his Packard dealership at Wilshire and La Brea in Hollywood, California. These were some of the first commercial signs with neon lights in the United States. They were also highly visible and drew hundreds of motorists to the store. In fact, the signs were so successful that they prompted a massive traffic jam.
In addition to developing the Packard dealership, Anthony introduced the neon sign to the United States, where he commissioned two signs in France. His “Packard” sign was the first neon sign on the United States side of the Atlantic. The pioneering businessman also introduced neon signs to gasoline service stations in Southern California, branding them with a chevron design, and selling them to the Standard Oil Corporation of California. In addition, Anthony helped to establish the Los Angeles Motorcar Dealers Association and was involved in the first automobile show in 1907.
After the first neon lights were installed, Anthony sold Packard automobiles and was a distributor for all of California. The company later merged with the Studebaker Corporation, and Anthony reneged on the Packard franchise. Nevertheless, he continued to develop his business and made his legacy a success story. In the 1950s, Anthony’s Packard dealerships also learned from Anthony’s example, alerting the local press of his success and promoting his name in the automobile industry.
The commercialization of neon lights led to the emergence of competing companies. Neon quickly became a symbol of progress and glamour. Neon became an essential part of the American economy. Hence, rival companies began promoting neon as a means of selling their products. This led to neon becoming a status symbol, and soon there were thousands of neon plants in America. In fact, there were more than five thousand glass benders in the United States alone.
In addition to creating landmark buildings, Neon art also became a popular medium for contemporary artists. It was originally invented in France and brought to the United States by Earle C. Anthony. Today, neon lights are recognized in some of the finest contemporary museums in the country. The art and science behind neon are a vital part of American life, and its history is rooted in a thriving, innovative business.
In the early 1900s, inventor Georges Claude developed techniques that allowed him to liquefy air in large quantities for industrial use. In 1902, he founded a company called L’Air Liquide and quickly expanded its operations. While selling liquid oxygen, Claude carried out research for various purposes. He soon found that there was no more oxygen in the air, so he turned to neon that was leftover from the liquefaction of the air.
Claude’s first neon sign was exhibited in the Grand Palais in Paris, where he earned a patent for the new invention. He also patented an electrode that had an extremely long lifespan, eliminating the last barrier to tube lighting. Throughout the 1920s, Claude’s invention was adopted in a variety of settings and quickly became a popular commodity. His neon signs were a hit in cities across the world, but he did not stop there.
Although neon works wonders on its own, it cannot perform as well with other gases. In addition to nitrogen, the gas must be pure. Otherwise, it will sputter out impurities, decreasing its luminosity. Claude devised an in-situ filtration system using charcoal immersed in liquid air. His pump, known as the “intelligent” pump, helped prevent this problem.
Although neon lights are used in advertising, their significance dates back to the early 1900s. The invention of neon lights was a logical result of a combination of earlier discoveries and new ideas. Claude was a mentor to Jacques-Arsene d’Arsonval, who had discovered ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). In 1930, Claude built a prototype OTEC plant in Cuba that produced 22 kilowatts of electricity.
The significance of neon lights cannot be overstated. Georges Claude first presented his creation at the Paris Motor Show, where he received critical praise. Although the gas is a rare and valuable substance, it contributes to 1% of Earth’s atmosphere. Today, all lights contain traces of rare gas. This discovery was the basis for the development of the neon sign, which we see everywhere from traffic signals to streetlights.
Jeffrey Moss is a writer and the owner of Moss LED Inc. in Mississauga. His company makes custom lighting for entertainment and film production, including the popular television show Schitt’s Creek and the two Star Trek movies. After his business grew, demand for his products declined, causing him to lay off staff. He turned to his backyard for a solution. Neon lights have long been considered a symbol of success and beauty.
The hearts are also symbolic of various causes. Moss has created hearts that support the World Wildlife Fund, the Canadian Cancer Society, and unemployed live entertainment workers. The company has recently released smaller versions of its heart signs, called Mini Hearts. The Mini Hearts are nearly identical to the larger hearts but are only half the size. The proceeds from the sales of these products go to various charities including War Child Canada, Movember, and the Canadian Cancer Society. To date, Moss has donated more than $76,000 to charities and hopes to expand his lights into the U.S. and the U.K.
The idea for Moss LED was born out of a desire to save the lives of his employees. Rather than throw away his spare neon, he used it in his shop. After realizing that this idea would work well for the residential market, he decided to create one himself. Moss took inspiration from the community and made the prototype in July. His neighbors wanted his neon heart immediately. They ordered more, and he posted photos of his creation on a Leslieville Facebook group. The response was overwhelming, and Moss soon sold out of the first heart.
The company sources the metal base plate from local manufacturers and sources the wood frame from another fabricator. In addition to the metal and wooden base plates, Moss donates $5 of every sale to the Michael Garron Hospital Foundation. Currently, Moss LED is hiring two people from the live entertainment industry and a pilot, and he receives 50 new orders a day. The company’s success is not surprising.