While LED is now considered the standard in the sign illumination market, for over 50 years neon was the standard. Tec-Know has a rich history with neon, starting out as a neon distributor of the popular Italian ‘Tecnolux’ brand of neon glass. The team at Tec-Know is proud to go back to their roots with the latest LED product offering, the Bounce Novaneon.
The discovery of neon and the ability to harness it marked the beginning of an era for the signage and advertising industry. British scientists Morris W. Travers and William Ramsey first discovered neon in 1898 by liquefying air and capturing the gases that boiled off. The gas was captured and sealed inside an electrical gas-discharge tube. When they applied electrical current to the tube they discovered that the electricity ‘excited’ the gas and it emitted a red-orange glow. Travers wrote, “The blaze of crimson light from the tube told its own story and was a sight to dwell upon and never forget” (“Discovery of the Element”, 1956). They called the gas neon, from the Greek “new”.
In 1907 French businessman Georges Claude discovered a cheaper way to isolate neon and began the mass production of neon lights. The very first neon sign was sold to a barbershop in Paris in 1912. As time progressed, manufacturers were able to produce other colours by adding other gases such as argon and mercury. By the 1920’s neon had become a popular and commercially viable signage craft.
The next 40 years saw neon signs take over cities all over the world. Places like Fremont Street in Las Vegas; Times Square in New York, Shinjuku in Tokyo and Kings Cross in Sydney became synonymous with the glow of neon signage. One of Australia’s most iconic neon signs is the Coca-Cola billboard in Kings Cross that quickly became known as “The Gateway to the Cross”. Erected in 1974, it was illuminated by over 1200 red and white neon tubes.
By the end of the 1970’s however, neon production had begun to decline. Businesses were finding cheaper advertising and signage mediums, taking a step away from neon. It was expensive to produce, restrictive in colours, and potentially dangerous due to breakage and use of gases such as mercury.
The rise of LED technology brought cheaper, more robust solutions that were easier to install. As technology developed the LED quickly became the go-to solution for illuminated signage and continues to be the industry standard today. Large-format LED screens now adorn the iconic Times Square and Shinjuku districts, where updating the sign is as easy as uploading a new file.
Neon signage is a bit like the vinyl record. There’s no denying it has flaws, but to those who appreciate it, the beauty is in the flaws. Like record collecting, neon has seen a resurgence in recent times, finding popularity in commercial shop fitting, bespoke signage, as well as a medium for modern artists.
Combining the best of both worlds, Tec-Know is proud to present the Bounce Novaneon. The Novaneon is a neon-imitation strip light that consists of an LED strip inside a flexible silicone tube, which is shaped to replicate the look of neon. It ticks all the boxes. It is UV resistant, waterproof and easy to use with its robust connector system.
The Bounce Novaneon is a great way to emulate the classic look of neon, without any of the harmful gases, expensive production costs and environmental impact of the traditional form. Particularly where longer run lengths are required, such as shop fitting features and bordering signage, Novaneon is a great solution. Novaneon comes with a five-year warranty and is available in red, yellow, green, blue, warm and cool white colour variants.
Contact Tec-Know for more information at 1800 TECKNOW, or at www.tec-know.com.au