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If you are going to take a walk at night, notice the luminescent, glowing signs that are gracing the façade of many buildings. These are called neon signs.

The first neon sign appeared in France in 1910 at Grand Palais. The display caught people’s attention – in fact, the effect was so bright and catchy that other countries took notice. As a result, demands to create neon signs for commercial use have grown since the 50’s and are still very much in demand.

Neon signs are created out of brightly colored gas discharge lamps filled with a certain gas. These are actually glass tubes bent and twisted to form different designs and letters. The light uses a high voltage but very low volume of amperage. To make the gas inside the tube glow with light, you will need to increase the electrical pressure from your wall outlet so that enough supply of current is transported.

One known advantage of neon signs is that electrical cost is relatively low. The typical lifespan of neon signs range from 7 to 10 years but there are some that have been known to last 20 years.

If you are wondering why those neon signs vary in colors, it is because these signs are created in three different ways using three different gases. Some use inert gas, for example. This is the combination of neon and argon/mercury gases. While neon gas glows in reddish-orange color, argon and mercury lights give off a light blue color. Some neon light also use fluorescent powders. Such lights use combinations of different gases to filter out different colors from the light spectrum. Some neon lights, on the other hand, use colored glass. This is the oldest method and the most expensive among the three. They provide the most vivid colors, but they are not as bright as other neon lights.

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