The Neon Open Sign: A Look at Their History and Impact on Pop-Culture

Neon open signs are primarily made out of glass tubes that have been filled with either one of 
the rare gases (argon, krypton, helium and xenon). The tubes are then bent into various 
decorative designs. The gases within the tubes enable the bulb to produce a lovely spectrum of 
up to 50 brilliant colors. They could be as complex as a Vegas multi-story sign or as simple as a 
sizeable beer sign.

Neon tubes first hit the United States market in 1923. Since then, they have been hailed as the 
best way to advertise or add a touch of style and class in any room. For a time, (during the 1950s 
through to the 1960s), neon lights became somewhat irrelevant. Plastic signs were then 
illuminated with fluorescent tubes from the inside.

Later on, neon signs made a successful comeback into the markets, both commercially and 
artistically. In Los Angeles, for instance, the Museum of Neon Art features a myriad of 
contemporary and historical neon works in equal measure. Pay attention to the designs, and 
you’ll notice that there’s a particular design for each neon sign for every period. 
Today, there are a few tweaks in the neon signs, making the audible hum in earlier neon signs 
appear to be a thing of the past. Programmable electronic functionalities have now replaced 
historical electromechanical cam-and-switch controls. 

When shop vendors require neon open signs, their shops are mounted with neon text or a 
variety of figures, depending on the type of customers they seek to attract. 
Extremely large designs may take some time before they are fully installed. Whether the signs 
will feature custom colors and how dimmable they’ll be will be up to the shop vendors. Of 
course, neon lights nowadays are not limited to one specific color. From turquoise blue to 
magenta, these signs feature bright and appealing colors that truly serve their purpose. 

It’s worth noting that neon signs are not limited exclusively for shops alone; many Millennials use 
them for their garages, man cave or even home bar. There’s something about their warm glow 
that makes them so inviting and hard not to notice. 

Though most people may reason that neon signs are outdated and are dying slowly but surely, 
their massive appreciation to others isn’t fading away any time soon. From Bangkok to Hong-
Kong, most countries around the globe have revolutionized simple neon open signs into a 
distinguishing feature of their lively nightlife.