Neon lights are actually one of the oldest forms of lighting available, and their history goes back all the way to 1910. They work be running an electric current through the neon gas in the center of the tube. This process accounts for both the good and bad properties of neon lighting. In this article, I will discuss how neon lights work and how this process sets them apart from other forms of lighting.
Neon lights were originally invented by the Frenchman, Georges Claude. He discovered that the recently discovered gas, neon, will illuminate when an electrical current is run through it. What happens is that, as the electricity runs through the gas, the gas gradually ionizes and eventually it will emit light. If you run enough current through the gas, then the light will be constant.
So-called “Neon lights” actually aren’t entirely made of neon. In fact, some have no neon at all It was very quickly discovered that the other noble gases, such as helium, argon, krypton and xenon, had exactly the same reactions when electrified. Moreover, they glowed in different colors. Helium is pink. Neon is orange. Argon is light blue. Krypton is light purple. Finally, xenon is dark purple. When mixed in different quantities, the noble gases can produce many different colors of light. They all retained the name “neon light,” because neon was the first gas used in this kind of lighting.
Some of the peculiarities of neon tubes are the result of how they work. For instance, have you ever wondered why neon tubes can flicker? The reason is that they will build up a current slowly, but will only emit light once they reach a certain point. When the current is weak, the gas is not receiving enough current to replace the current it has just emitted as light, and it drops below the point at which it glows again.
Also, have you ever wondered why neon tubes are so common for street signs? The reason is that, at the end of the day, a neon light is just a tube of gas with electrodes at each end. It doesn’t require a filament, like an incandescent bulb, or a fluorescent coating, like a fluorescent bulb. So, the tubes can easily be bent into almost any shape. In fact, the tubes can be almost indefinitely long as well, but because they are cheaper to replace if broken, people usually use much shorter tubes.
Neon lights have a fascinating history and are unique in their design. They have been an important part of lighting design for generations and will be for generations to come.