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Night Light Neon Signs

In the signage industry, neon signs are electric signs lighted by long luminous gas-discharge tubes that contain rarefied neon or other gases. Neon lighting is now used frequently by artists and

architects, and (in a modified form) in plasma display panels and televisions. Neon is a chemical element and an inert gas that is a minor component of the Earth's atmosphere.These neon tubes

were essentially in their contemporary form. The range of outer diameters for the glass tubing used in neon lighting is 9 to 25 mm; with standard electrical equipment, the tubes can be as long as

30 metres (98 ft).The pressure of the gas inside is in the range 3-20 Torr (0.4-3 kPa), which corresponds to a partial vacuum in the tubing.The signage industry has declined in the past several

decades, and cities are now concerned with preserving and restoring their antique neon signs.Neon tube signs are produced by the craft of bending glass tubing into shapes. A worker skilled in

this craft is known as a glass bender, neon bender or tube bender. The neon tube is made out of 4–5' straight sticks of hollow glass sold by sign suppliers to neon shops worldwide where they are

manually assembled into individual custom designed and fabricated lamps. There are many dozens of colors available, determined by the type of glass tubing and the composition of the gas


Tubing in external diameters ranging from about 8–15 mm with a 1 mm wall thickness is most commonly used, although 6 mm tubing is now commercially available in colored glass tubes. The

tube is heated in sections using several types of burners that are selected according to the amount of glass to be heated for each bend. These burners include ribbon, cannon, or crossfires, as

well as a variety of gas torches. Ribbon burners are strips of fire that make the gradual bends while crossfires, when used, make the sharp bends.

The interior of the tubes may be coated with a thin phosphorescent powder coating, affixed to the interior wall of the tube by a binding material. The tube is filled with a purified gas mixture, and the

gas ionized by a high voltage applied between the ends of the sealed tube through cold cathodes welded onto the ends. The color of the light emitted by the tube may be just that coming from the

gas, or the light from the phosphor layer. Different phosphor-coated tubing sections may be butt welded together using glass working torches to form a single tube of varying colors, for effects such

as a sign where each letter displays a different color letter within a single word, such as shown in the sign in the photo above right.

"Neon" is used to denote the general type of lamp, but neon gas is only one of the types of tube gases principally used in commercial application. Pure neon gas is used to produce only about a

third of the colors. The greatest number of colors is produced by filling with another inert gas, argon, and a drop of mercury (Hg) which is added to the tube immediately after purification. When the

tube is ionized by electrification, the mercury evaporates into mercury vapor, which fills the tube and produces strong ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light thus produced excites the various phosphor

coatings designed to produce different colors. Even though this class of neon tubes use no neon at all, they are still denoted as "neon." Mercury-bearing lamps are a type of cold-cathode

fluorescent lamps.

Each type of neon tubing produces two completely different possible colors, one with neon gas and the other with argon/mercury. Some "neon" tubes are made without phosphor coatings for

some of the colors. Clear tubing filled with neon gas produces the ubiquitous yellowish orange color with the interior plasma column clearly visible, and is the cheapest and simplest tube to make.

Traditional neon glasses in America over 20 years old are lead glass that are easy to soften in gas fires, but recent environmental and health concerns of the workers has prompted manufacturers

to seek more environmentally safe special soft glass formulas. One of the vexing problems avoided this way is lead glass' tendency to burn into a black spot emitting lead fumes in a bending flame

too rich in the fuel/oxygen mixture. Another traditional line of glasses was colored soda lime glasses coming in a myriad of glass color choices, which produce the highest quality, most hypnotically

vibrant and saturated hues. Still more color choices are afforded in either coating, or not coating, these colored glasses with the various available exotic phosphors.

Long lifetime
It is the wide range of colors and the ability to make a tube that can last for years if not decades without replacement, that makes this an art. Since these tubes require so much custom labor, they

would have very little economic viability if they did not have such a long lifetime when well processed. The intensity of neon light produced increases slowly as the tube diameter grows smaller, that

is, the intensity varies inversely with the square root of the interior diameter of the tubing, and the resistance of the tube increases as the tubing diameter decreases accordingly, because tube

ionization is greatest at the center of the tube, and the ions migrate to and are recaptured and neutralized at the tube walls. The greatest cause of neon tube failure is the gradual absorption of

neon gas by high voltage ion implantation into the interior glass walls of the tubes which depletes the gas, and eventually causes the tube resistance to rise to a level that it can no longer light at the

rated voltage, but this may take well over 50 years if the tube is properly processed during bombardment and gas back-filling.

The actual cause of 80% of neon sign failures is the burnout of the high voltage electrical wires connecting the tubes inside of metal conduits[citation needed]. A very common type of neon sign is

made from a formed metal box having a colored translucent face, called "channel lettering". Newer channel letter signs are being replaced by high brightness LEDs.

This long lifetime has created a practical market for neon use for interior architectural cove lighting in a wide variety of uses including homes, where the tube can be bent to any shape, fitted in a

small space, and can do so without requiring tube replacement for a decade or more.

Tube bending
A section of the glass is heated until it is malleable; then it is bent into shape and aligned to a neon sign pattern paper containing the graphics or lettering that the final product will ultimately

conform to. This is where the real art of neon comes in, that takes some artisans from a year up to several years of practice to master. A tube bender corks off the hollow tube before heating and

holds a latex rubber blow hose at the other end, through which he gently presses a small amount of air to keep the tube diameter constant as it is bending. The trick of bending is to bend one small

section or bend at a time, heating one part of the tubing so that it is soft, without heating some other part of the tube as well, which would make the bend uncontrollable. A bend, once the glass is

heated, must be brought to the pattern and fitted rapidly before the glass hardens again because it is difficult to reheat once completely cooled without risking breakage. It is frequently necessary

to skip one or more bends and come back to it later, by measuring carefully along the length of the tube. One tube letter may contain 7–10 small bends, and mistakes are not easily corrected

without going back and starting all over again. If more tubing is required, another piece is welded onto it, or the parts can be all welded onto each other at the final step. The finished tube must be

absolutely vacuum tight to operate, and it must be vacuum clean inside. Once the tube is filled with mercury, if any mistake is made after that, the entire tube has to, or should be, started over anew,

because breathing heated mercury impregnated glass and phosphor causes long term heavy metal poisoning in neon workers. Sticks of tubing are joined until the tube reaches an impractical

size, and several tubes are joined in series with the high voltage neon transformer. Extreme ends of the electrical circuit must be isolated from each other to prevent tube puncture and buzzing from

corona effect.

A cold cathode electrode is melted (or welded) to each end of the tube as it is finished. The electrodes are also traditionally lead glass and contain a small metal shell with two wires protruding

through the glass to which the sign wiring will later be attached. All welds and seals must be perfectly leak-proof to high vacuum before proceeding further.

The tube is attached to a manifold which is itself attached to a high-quality vacuum pump. The tube is then evacuated of air until it reaches near-vacuum. During evacuation, a high current is forced

through the tube via the wires protruding from each electrode (in a process known as "bombarding"). This current and voltage is far above the level that occurs in final operation of the tube. The

current depends on the specific electrodes used and the diameter of the tube, but is typically in the 45 mA to 80 mA range, at an applied voltage usually between 5,000–36,000 V DC. The

bombarding transformer acts as an adjustable constant current source, and the voltage produced depends on the length and pressure of the tube. Typically the operator will maintain the pressure

as high as the bombarder will allow to ensure maximum power dissipation and heating.

This very high power dissipation in the tube heats the glass walls to a temperature of several hundred degrees Celsius, and any dirt and impurities within are drawn off in the gasified form by the

vacuum pump. The greatest impurities that are driven off this way are the gases that coat the inside wall of the tubing by adsorption, mainly oxygen, carbon dioxide, and especially water vapor. The

current also heats the electrode metal to over 600oC, producing a bright orange incandescent color. The cathodes are prefabricated hollow metal shells with a small opening (sometimes a

ceramic donut aperture) which contains in the interior surface of the shell a light dusting of a cold cathode low work function powder (usually a powder ceramic molar eutectic point mixture

including BaCO2), combined with other alkaline earth oxides, which reduces to BaO2 when heated to about 500 degrees F, and reduces the work function of the electrode for cathodic emission.

Barium Oxide has a work function of roughly 2 eV whereas tungsten at room temperature has a work function 100 times more, or 4.0 eV. This represents the cathode drop or electron energy

required to remove electrons from the surface of the cathode. This avoids the necessity of using a hot wire thermoelectric cathode such as is used in conventional fluorescent lamps. And for that

reason, neon tubes are extremely long lived when properly processed, in contrast to fluorescent tubing, because there is no wire filament as there is in a fluorsecent tube to burn out like a common

light bulb. The principal purpose of doing this is to purify the interior of the tube before the tube is sealed off so that when it is operated, these gases and impurities are not driven off and released

by the plasma and the heat generated into the sealed tube, which would quickly burn the metal cathodes and mercury droplets (if pumped with argon/mercury) and oxidize the interior gases and

cause immediate tube failure. The more thorough the purification of the tube is, the longer lasting and stable the tube will be in actual operation. Once these gases and impurities are liberated

under pre-filling bombardment into the tube interior they are quickly evacuated by the pump.

While still attached to the manifold, the tube is allowed to cool while pumping down to the lowest pressure the system can achieve. It is then filled to a low pressure of a few torrs (millimeters of

mercury) with one of the noble gases, or a mixture of them, and sometimes a small amount of mercury. This gas fill pressure represents roughly 1/100th of the pressure of the atmosphere. The

required pressure depends on the gas used and the diameter of the tube, with optimal values ranging from 6 Torr (0.8 kPa) (for a long 20 mm tube filled with argon/mercury) to 27 Torr (3.6 kPa)

(for a short 8 mm diameter tube filled with pure neon). Neon or argon are the most common gases used; krypton, xenon, and helium are used by artists for special purposes but are not used alone

in normal signs. A premixed combination of argon and helium is often used in lieu of pure argon when a tube is to be installed in a cold climate, since the helium increases voltage drop (and thus

power dissipation), warming the tube to operating temperature faster. Neon glows bright red or reddish orange when lit. When argon or argon/helium is used, a tiny droplet of mercury is added.

Argon by itself is very dim pale lavender when lit, but the droplet of mercury fills the tube with mercury vapor when sealed, which then emits ultraviolet light upon electrification. This ultraviolet

emission allows finished argon/mercury tubes to glow with a variety of bright colors when the tube has been coated on the interior with ultraviolet-sensitive phosphors after being bent into shape.

Heat processed neon tubes
An alternative way of processing finished neon tubes has also been used. Because the only purpose of bombardment by electrical means is to purify the interior of tubes, it is also possible to

produce a tube by heating the tube externally either with a torch or with an oven, while heating the electrode with a radio frequency induction heating (RFIH) coil. While this is less productive, it

creates a cleaner custom tube with significantly less cathode damage, longer life and brilliance, and can produce tubes of very small sizes and diameters, down to 6mm OD. The tube is heated

thoroughly under high vacuum without external electrical application, until the outgassed gases can be seen to have been totally depleted and the pressure drops to a high vacuum again. Then the

tube is filled, sealed and the mercury dropped and shaken.

Electrical wiring
The finished glass pieces are illuminated by either a neon sign transformer or a switched-mode power supply running at voltages ranging between 3–15 kV and currents between 20 and 120 mA.

These power supplies operate as constant-current sources (a high voltage supply with a very high internal impedance), since the tube has a negative characteristic electrical impedance. Standard

tube tables established in the early days of neon are still used that specify the gas fill pressures, in either Ne or Hg/Ar, as a function of tube length in feet, tube diameter and transformer voltage.

The standard traditional neon transformer, a magnetic shunt transformer, is a special non-linear type designed to keep the voltage across the tube raised to whatever level is necessary to produce

the fixed current needed. The voltage drop of a tube is proportional to length and so the maximum voltage and length of tubing fed from a given transformer is limited.

Compact high frequency inverter-converter transformers developed in the early 1990s are used, especially when low Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) is needed, such as in locations near high-

fidelity sound equipment. At the typical frequency of these solid state transformers, the plasma electron-ion recombination time is too long to extinguish and reignite the plasma at each cycle,

unlike the case at power line frequency. The plasma does not broadcast high frequency switching noise and remains ionized continually, becoming radio noise free.[citation needed]

The most common current rating is 30 mA for general use, with 60 mA used for high-brightness applications like channel letters or architectural lighting. 120 mA sources are occasionally seen in

illuminating applications, but are uncommon since special electrodes are required to withstand the current, and an accidental shock from a 120 mA transformer is much more likely to be fatal than

from the lower current supplies.

The efficiency of neon lighting ranges between that of ordinary incandescent lights and that of fluorescent lamps, depending on color. On a per-watt basis, incandescents produce 10 to 20 lumens,

while fluorescents produce 50 to 100 lumens. Neon light efficiency ranges from 10 lumens per watt for red, up to 60 lumens for green and blue when these colors result from internal phosphor


Blocking out and coating
File:Club Prima Donna 1955.ogv
Club Prima Donna animated neon sign in Reno, Nevada, 1955.
A trick of the eye is used to produce visually distinct neon display segments by blocking out parts of the tube with an opaque coating. One complete assembly may be composed of contiguous

tube elements joined by glass welding to one another so that the same current passes through, for example, several letters joined end to end from cathode to cathode. To the untrained eye, this

looks like separate tubes, but the electrical splice is the plasma inside the crossover glass itself. The entire tube lights up, but the segments that the viewer is not supposed to see are covered with

highly opaque special black or gray glass paint. This heat-resistant coating is either painted on or dipped. Without blockout paint, the unintended visual connections would make the display

appear confusing.

In most mass-produced low-priced signs today, clear glass tubing is coated with translucent paint to produce colored light. In this way, several different colors can be produced inexpensively from

a single glowing tube. Over time, elevated temperatures, thermal cycling, or exposure to weather may cause the colored coating to flake off the glass or change its hue. A more expensive

alternative is to use high-quality colored glass tubing, which retains a more stable appearance as it ages.

Light-emitting tubes form colored lines with which a text can be written or a picture drawn, including various decorations, especially in advertising and commercial signage. By programming

sequences of switching parts on and off, there are many possibilities for dynamic light patterns that form animated images.

In some applications, neon tubes are increasingly being replaced with LEDs, given the steady advance in LED luminosity and decreasing cost of high-intensity LEDs.However, proponents of neon

technology maintain that they still have significant advantages over LEDs.

Neon illumination is valuable to invoke 1940s or 1950s nostalgia in marketing and in historic restoration of architectural landmarks from the neon era. Architecture in the streamline moderne era

often deployed neon to accent structural pigmented glass built into the faƧade of a 1930s or 1940s structure; many of these buildings now qualify for inclusion on historic registers such as the US

National Register of Historic Places if their historic integrity is faithfully maintained.

Neon lighting consists of brightly glowing, electrified glass tubes or bulbs that contain rarefied neon or other gases. Neon lights are a type of cold cathode gas-discharge light. A neon tube light is a

sealed glass tube with a metal electrode at each end, filled with one of a number of gases at low pressure. A high potential of several thousand volts applied to the electrodes ionizes the gas in the

tube, causing it to emit colored light by fluorescence. The color of the light depends on the gas in the tube. Neon lights were named for neon, a noble gas which gives off a popular orange light, but

other gases and chemicals are used to produce other colors, such as hydrogen (red), helium (yellow), carbon dioxide (white), and mercury (blue). Neon tubes can be fabricated in curving artistic

shapes, to form letters or pictures. They are mainly used to make dramatic, multicolored glowing signage for advertising, called neon signs, which were popular from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The term can also refer to the miniature neon glow lamp, developed in 1917, about seven years after neon tube lighting.While neon tube lights are typically meters long, the neon lamps can be less

than one centimeter in length and glow much more dimly than the tube lights. They are still in use as small indicator lights. Through the 1970s, neon glow lamps were widely used for numerical

displays in electronics, for small decorative lamps, and as signal processing devices in circuity. While these lamps are now antiques, the technology of the neon glow lamp developed into

contemporary plasma displays and televisions.

In neon glow lamps, the luminous region of the gas is a thin, "negative glow" region immediately adjacent to a negatively charged electrode (or "cathode"); the positively charged electrode

("anode") is quite close to the cathode. These features distinguish glow lamps from the much longer and brighter "positive column" luminous regions in neon tube lighting.The energy dissipation in

the lamps when they are glowing is very low (about 0.1 W),hence the distinguishing term cold-cathode lighting.

Some of the applications of neon lamps include:

Pilot lamps that indicate the presence of electrical power in an appliance or instrument (e.g. an electric coffee pot or power supply).
Decorative (or "figural") lamps in which the cathode is shaped as a flower, animal, etc.. The figures inside these lamps were typically painted with phosphorescent paints to achieve a variety of

Active electronic circuits such as electronic oscillators, timers, memory elements, etc..
Intricate electronic displays such as the Nixie tube.

The small size of the negative glow region of a neon lamp, and the flexible electronic properties that were exploited in electronic circuits, led to the adoption of this technology for the earliest

plasma panel displays. The first monochrome dot matrix plasma panel displays were developed in 1964 at the University of Illinois for the PLATO educational computing system. They had the

characteristic color of the neon lamp; their inventors, Donald L. Bitzer, H. Gene Slottow, and Robert H. Wilson, had achieved a working computer display that remembered its own state, and did

not require constant refreshing from the central computer system. The relationship between these early monochrome displays and contemporary, color plasma displays and televisions was

described by Larry F. Weber in 2006, "All plasma TVs on the market today have the same features that were demonstrated in the first plasma display which was a device with only a single cell.

These features include alternating sustain voltage, dielectric layer, wall charge, and a neon-based gas mixture." As in colored neon lamps, plasma displays use a gas mixture that emits ultraviolet

light. Each pixel has a phosphor that emits one of the display's base colors.

Signage, refers to the design or use of signs and symbols to communicate a message to a specific group, usually for the purpose of marketing or a kind of advocacy.[1][2] A signage also means

signs collectively or being considered as a group.The term signage is documented to have been popularized in 1975 to 1980.[2]

The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, just to the south of the Las Vegas Strip

Driver location sign used in England to assist drivers when contacting emergency services
Signs are any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. This is typically manifested in the form of wayfinding information in places such as streets or on the

inside and outside of buildings. Signs vary in form and size based on location and intent, from more expansive banners, billboards, and murals, to smaller street signs, street name signs,

sandwich boards and lawn signs. Newer signs may also use digital or electronic displays.

The main purpose of signs is to communicate, to convey information such that the receiver may make cognitive decisions based on the information provided. In general, signs may be classified

according to the following functions:

Information: signs conveying information about services and facilities, such as maps, directories, or instructional signs.
Direction: signs showing the location of services, facilities, functional spaces and key areas, such as sign posts or directional arrows.
Identification: signs indicating services and facilities, such as room names and numbers, restroom signs, or floor designations.
Safety and Regulatory: signs giving warning or safety instructions, such as warning signs, traffic signs, exit signs, or signs conveying rules and regulations.
Signage is distinct from labeling, which conveys information about a particular product.


A bilingual wet floor sign
Pictograms are images commonly used to convey the message of a sign. In statutory signage, pictograms follow specific sets of colour, shape and sizing rules based on the laws of the country in

which the signage is being displayed. For example, In UK and EU signage, the width of a sign's pictogram must be 80% the height of the area it is printed to. In the US, in order to comply with the

ADA Accessibility Guidelines, the same pictogram must be located within its own defined field, with raised characters and braille located beneath the field.

For a pictogram to be successful it must be recognizable across cultures and languages, even if there is no text present. Following standard color and shape conventions increases the likelihood

that the pictogram and sign will be universally understood.

Sign shape[edit]
The shape of a sign can help to convey its message. Shape can be brand- or design-based, or can be part of a set of signage conventions used to standardize sign meaning. Usage of particular

shapes may vary by country and culture.

Some common signage shape conventions are as follows:

Rectangular signs are often used to portray general information to an audience.
Circular signs often represent an instruction that must be followed, either mandatory or prohibitive.
Triangular signs are often warning signs, used to convey danger or caution.
Sign technology

Several types of signs and sign materials in Oregon
Below is a list of commonly used materials in signmaking shops.

Aluminium Composite Panels
High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
High-density polyurethane
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Polypropylene, Styrene, and other thermoplastics
Medium density overlay panels
Modular Curved Frame Technology
Corflute (Corrugated Plastic)
Below is a list of commonly used processes in signmaking shops.

CNC Routing
Laser Cutting
Abrasive blasting
Printmaking, Screen printing, or sign painting
Channel lettering
Vacuum forming
Signs frequently use lighting as a means of conveying their information or as a way to increase visibility.

Neon signs, introduced in 1910 at the Paris Motor Show, are produced by the craft of bending glass tubing into shapes. A worker skilled in this craft is known as a glass bender, neon or tube


Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is frequently used in signs. This technology, first used primarily at sporting events, later appeared at businesses, churches, schools, and government

buildings.[where?] Brightness of LED signs can vary, leading to some municipalities in the United States banning their use due to issues such as light pollution.[8] Today, LED technology is also

used in light panels to illuminate advertising graphics in public places including malls, subways, and airports.[citation needed]

n information sign is a very legibly printed and very noticeable placard that informs people of the purpose of an object, or gives them instruction on the use of something. An example is a traffic

sign such as a stop sign.

Information signs have been growing in visibility due to the explosion of sign technologies. For hundreds, if not thousands, of years signs were crafted out of wood. Words and images were then

hand-painted on the sign. The other traditional way of creating signs dealt with individual constructed letters carved from wood, molded or wrought from metal, which were then individually placed

in the appropriate sequence.

While both of these methods are still employed, technology has moved in around them. Woodworking machinery can now be controlled by computers, leading to much greater consistency. Molded

signage has changed dramatically with the advent of plastics, which are far more flexible than metal as well as significantly cheaper to produce. Additionally, altogether new sign technologies have

come into being, such as computer-cut vinyl signage.

gLOW SIGN BOARD designing is a unique way to display your business visibility clearly

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