A look at the surprising history of neon signs and the first neon sign manufacturers
One of the main reasons we are established as the leading neon sign manufacturers, not just in London but across the UK, is our creativity. On top of this though we have a lot of experience to call on and know all about the history of using electrical currents to illuminate gases sealed in a tube to create beautiful lights.
One thing that may surprise you is that neon was not the first gas to be used in the lights. In fact in 1675, before electricity was invented, it was noted that barometric tubes filled with mercury would glow when they were shaken.
In 1857 Heinrich Geissler, a German physicist and glass blower, created an early example of a neon light. He took pieces of sealed, partially evacuated glass tubing and filled them with rarefied gases, including mercury vapour, neon, and argon. When electric current was run through the gases gave off light. These precursors to neon lights would become known as Geissler tubes.
The neon light itself was born in 1902 thanks to the work of French engineer and chemist Georges Claude. He took the work of Geissler and focused solely on using neon gas, using an electrical discharge to stimulate the atoms and produce the light. The Claude Neon company was subsequently formed. They became the first neon sign manufacturers to create and install signs using the technology in 1923.
Neon sign technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years, allowing the creation of beautiful signs and artwork too. With experimentation people discovered that different types of gas and mixtures of gasses would result in various light colours. Now there are more than 150 shades to choose from. In addition technology to provide stable currents has advanced, making signs bright and reliable.
At KEMP London we strive to produce the most beautiful signs, allowing our clients to be as creative as they want to be. Even if you have a very complex design in mind we are confident we can find a way to make it for you. Overcoming challenges and delivering beautiful designs is one of the reasons we are so well established and can call ourselves the leading neon sign manufacturers.