The story of the first neon lights in the United States dates back to 1915, in the boomtown of Los Angeles, according to NeonMama. In that year, a man named Earle C. Anthony pioneered several modern businesses, including selling automobiles. In 1915, he opened the first California Packard dealership and remained its sole distributor throughout the 1950s. His business was the first to use neon lights. Neon signs were also used to advertise Packard cars.
Claude Claude Invented the First Neon Light
The neon light was a breakthrough in the development of modern lighting and is now one of the most widely used lighting systems around the world. In 1913, Daniel McFarlan Moore patented the first white neon light, but Claude was able to improve on it by creating more durable bright neon lamps. In 1910, he filed for a patent to commercialize neon lighting. During the process, he discovered that red neon was not a good choice for overall lighting, but was a perfect fit for decorative lights.
Claude patented his light in 1910 and showed the public the benefits of neon lighting. In December 1910, he showed off his new light at the Paris Motor Show, which was known as the Salon de l’Automobile. In the colonnade of the building, thousands of orange-red neon bulbs illuminated the show. It was an amazing display of modern technology. The newest cars were on display, along with neon lighting and an electrical network.
Georges Claude is credited with inventing the neon light. His invention was the result of a combination of chemistry and engineering. He created a process for liquifying air using copper wire and discovered that the resulting gas contained neon. After a few experiments, Claude developed the first neon sign. It was called the Geissler tube. This invention helped the French revolutionize lighting and even led to the use of neon in our modern world.
Ben Kresge and the Cortese Brothers Introduced a Different Electrode Design
The original Claude Neon monopoly lasted only until 1931. As a result of a tight enforcement policy, many neon light manufacturers were forced out of business. Fluorescent-lamp, backlit, plastic box signs took their place, and some electrode manufacturers stopped production. Some other manufacturers tried to circumvent Claude’s monopoly, however. The Cortese brothers and Ben Kresge, two Italian immigrants and scientific glassblowers, introduced a different electrode design in 1933.
The original invention was developed by Heinrich Geissler, a glassblower from Neuhaus am Rennsteig, Germany. He patented the use of neon gas in glass tubes and also discovered the electrode design that required a small surface area for an electrical current. However, Claude was more of a businessman than an inventor, and he knew that neon was not a particularly attractive material, so he wanted to use it for advertising purposes. Geissler fashioned a bent glass tube and placed it in a shop window in Bonn, Germany.
Claude Neon was the First Manufacturer in the US
After the New York World’s Fair in 1937, Claude Neon began mass-producing neon signs in the United States. The new technology was revolutionary, and by just a few years, Claude Neon had created more than 600 different signs, enough to replace incandescent light bulbs in New York City. Neon’s popularity led to the creation of a number of new products, including fluorescent lighting.
Claude was fascinated with liquefying air, as it produced large amounts of noble gases. However, he soon realized that there was nothing left to do with this material and turned to the use of neon instead. He also looked to gas discharge tubes and Edison’s incandescent bulbs as a source of inspiration. While the gas discharge tubes and incandescent bulbs were incredibly successful at lighting the world, Claude focused on making the most viable candidate for lighting.
Claude Neon’s success was largely due to the Packard Motor Car Company’s exclusive distributor in California. After seeing neon signs in Paris, Anthony brought the new technology to his showroom in downtown Los Angeles. Soon, traffic jams broke out as people stopped to view the orange-red tubes. Claude Neon had a monopoly on the neon sign industry until the 1920s when competitors began using his trade secrets.
Packard Cars Used Neon Signs
Neon first came to the U.S. in 1923, when the automotive industry was booming. Packard Motor Car Company dealer Earle C. Anthony saw neon signs in Paris and decided to install two of them in his downtown showroom. These elegant orange signs cost about half as much as the cars themselves and caused traffic jams as people stopped to look at them. In the 1920s, neon signs were a visual shorthand for consumerism, so Packard car dealerships commissioned neon signs to increase their sales.
The first business to use neon signs was the Packard Car Company in Los Angeles. The Packard neon signs were made of 150 colors, and cost nearly $12,000 each. Today, neon signs are widely used in advertising. Despite the high cost, neon signs remain an enduring feature of the automotive industry. These signs can be seen in almost any type of environment and can be found in every neighborhood from malls to movie theaters.
In 1945, a Packard company employee asked a fellow car dealer if he knew how to turn an ordinary neon sign into a flashing neon sign. He had to explain that the car had to be a Packard, but the customer was confused by the name. The sign was a sign of a dream car, and it did not come true. The company eventually introduced the Caribbean and the Twentieth Series.
The neon tube was invented by a French engineer named Georges Claude. He had the idea to make signs that would change color by using gas that was obtained through air liquefaction. Claude exhibited the first neon sign at the 1910 Paris auto show. Claude received a patent for the new technology in 1915. His company was successful for several years and eventually became a monopoly. In 1931, Claude received $2,500 for two neon signs that literally stopped traffic.
Claude patented his invention and developed the first commercial neon tube. This process involved electrode filtration. In 1924, he offered territorial licenses to businesses outside France for a fee of $100,000 plus royalties. At that time, there were over 2,000 neon plants and 5,000 glass benders in the United States. Although this monopoly wasn’t ideal for standard light bulbs, Claude’s innovation became the foundation for modern neon tubes.
The idea behind the neon lamp was originally developed by a former employee of Edison named Daniel McFarlan Moore. Moore’s lamps were glass tubes that had electrodes at the ends. These tubes contained gases such as CO2 and nitrogen. When a high voltage was applied to them, they would glow white. Unfortunately, these lamps were very expensive and prone to leaks. Eventually, Claude Moore replaced the CO2 with neon and added a carbon filter to keep the electrodes from sputtering. He even managed to build a 20-foot tube capable of glowing for 1200 hours.
Earle C. Anthony
In 1923, automobile pioneer Earle C. Anthony was the first in America to use neon lights for advertising. He had installed one at the corner of 7th and Flower in San Francisco to promote the Packard showroom. The technology, developed by French inventor Georges Claude, had numerous benefits. It was more efficient, cost-free to use, and lasted longer than incandescent bulbs. The technology was so popular that it quickly spread throughout Europe, leading the way in the United States, with Los Angeles leading the way. Tall neon signs were visible for miles and attracted motorists to a business.
In the early 1920s, Anthony brought his new invention to the United States. In France, Anthony had two neon signs installed, including the “Packard” sign. He also pioneered the use of gasoline service stations in Southern California. He branded these stations with a chevron design and sold them to the Standard Oil Corporation of California. In 1905, Anthony was also a member of the Los Angeles Motorcar Dealers Association and helped to establish the first automobile show.
In 1923, a brightly illuminated billboard was a traffic stopper in Los Angeles. It was atop a downtown hotel and the letters were 4 feet tall and radiating red. Neon technology was so new, that people referred to it as “liquid fire.” The sign became so popular that police were called to clear the streets. Eventually, the city was flooded with traffic.