Think about the sign that you have seen more times than any other. Initially the McDonald’s golden arches might come to mind, or a sign for a major gas station chain. But when you really get down to it, you have probably seen the classic neon “Open” sign many, many more times than you realize.
This famous communication tool graces the front window of countless markets, gas stations, bars, restaurants and beauty shops. Drive down a single block of a street, and you might see it half a dozen times. This sign is more than just ubiquitous, it is almost omnipresent, and for good reason – it is good for business.
History of the Neon Open Sign
Inventors have been working with glass tubes and glowing gases since the mid-19th century, but it was not until French inventor Georges Claude created the first neon lamp in 1905 that the technology really took off. Neon gas offered a number of advantages over previous technologies, and it was not long before amazed onlookers had dubbed the substance “liquid fire.”
Small business owners immediately saw the potential of neon. In the early years of the technology, a neon sign in the front window was an immediate way to stand out from the competition. Plus, because neon signs were relatively expensive back then, it was a way for a business to show off its success and its commitment to the future.
The use of neon signage really took off during the 1950s after beer makers found ways to lower the cost and increase the strength of the signs. That was not only good for beer makers, it was good for every business that understood the benefits of neon but couldn’t justify making the investment.
Surprisingly, it was not until the mid-1980s that the blue and red neon open sign we have such strong associations with was first invented. It is a matter of dispute which company first created the design, but it was an immediate hit. Wholesale buyers clubs like Costco and Sam’s began to offer the signs to their customers, many of which were small business owners, and they flew off the shelves.
The technology has come a long way since then. Neon signage has never been cheaper to buy and operate, or more durable and long-lasting than it is today. On top of that, there are now hundreds of design and color options to choose from. For a modest investment, business owners in a wide range of industries can get a piece of signage that will pay dividends for years to come.
If you are not using neon signs now, an open sign is a great place to start. This bright bold sign is easy to see day or night, and it communicates to everyone that walks or drives by that you are ready to do business. Put one in your front window, and you will see an immediate uptick in the number of people stopping in. The neon open sign is a 20th century invention that is still just as relevant in the 21st.
Image Source: flickr.com/photos/22077905@N00/316200555