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What Are Neon Lights?


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Neon lights can be found just about anywhere. They grab people's attention by the bright colors and the flashing. They are often times used for attracting customers to businesses. There is one depicting a tooth for a dentist office, swimming tropical fish for a fish store, and a delicious sandwich for a sub shop. They also are used to let people know the business is open and ready for visitors. Neon lights are not just for businesses, though. They can be used in people's homes, particularly in recreation rooms where parties are held.

Have you ever looked at a neon light sign and wondered how exactly did the lights get shaped into such unique designs? Neon light signs are made of hollow glass tubes that come in the lengths of 4, 5, and 8 ft. The exact type of glass used, differs by country. Depending on the composition of the glass, heating temperatures can be between 1600'F to a whopping 2,200'F! Before the heat, the tubes are partially scored, which makes them snap once the heat is used. Once this step is done, the maker designs the angle and curves.

After the tube design is completed, the entire piece needs to be processed. In the U. S. it is known as “bombarding". Some of the air in the tube is let out. At this point, the tube is circuited with a high voltage current until it reaches a certain temperature. Neon is added with a specific pressure and sealed. Red is the natural color that neon gas produces. Long ago the other colors that were discovered first were blue, white, and gold. Luckily the signs are not limited to just those colors. Nowadays there are over 150 colors to use in the design. The phosphor coating found on the inside of the tubes is excited by the mercury spectrum which offers a lot of ultraviolet light. The result is the tube glowing with bright color.

It takes a good deal of craftsmanship to design and execute neon signs. Whether you own a business, or have a lounge spot in your home, adding a neon sign will not only grab people's attention, it will jazz up any décor.

Ricky Fallon is an author and a fan of neon signs . When he was in 5th grade he combined his love for writing with his love for neon lights when he wrote an essay about the first time he saw a neon light.


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