True neon signs are only reddish-orange in colour

Many of the signs that you regard as neon signs are not true neon signs at all. This is because neon is only responsible for the bright reddish-orange signs that are so common. Signs in any other colours are not true neon signs. These other colours are made by noble gases other than neon, or they are a form of coloured fluorescent lighting. Either way, these signs aren’t really neon signs at all.

Neon gas and neon lighting

Neon gas was discovered in 1898 at University College London by two British scientists: Sir William Ramsay and Morris W. Travers. While neon lighting was invented in as1902 by Georges Claude, a French engineer. Claude owned an air liquefaction company, where he took leftover neon to create the first neon light tubes. He did this by passing an electric current through neon gas in a sealed tube, thus causing it to have a bright reddish-orange light. He unveiled the first neon sign in 1910 at the Paris Motor Show.

Neon is used in television sets and lasers

Thanks to its unique properties, neon has many uses in our everyday lives. In fact, neon is used in advertising signs, vacuum tubes, wave meter tubes, lightning arrestors, high-voltage indicators, television tubes, plasma tubes and helium-neon lasers.

Neon light can pass through fog

True, but other lights are affected by fog, neon light simply cannot be obscured by it. Of all neon’s properties, this attribute is the most useful for airports. Neon is used extensively by aircraft and in cold areas for this reason. So, if you see a bright reddish light penetrating fog, you’ll know for certain that it’s a neon light.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 25th, 2022

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