How Neon Bar Signs are Made

Here's a brief description of how neon bar signs and all neon signs are made. Lead glass tubes, made of lower temperature lead-dense heavy glass, are heated with special torches and shaped to the design of the bar sign. Leak-proof lead glass electrodes are welded on either end of the tube with a metal shell for the wiring to attach to the neon sign. I'm sure you've all noticed that the ends of a neon bar sign continue to the wiring but the light itself stops short. The tube is then attached to a manifold and vacuumed of air. A high current is also forced through the tube to "prepare" the glass so to speak and so the vacuum further removes dirt and impurities. The result is a clean interior tube that is coated against unwanted contaminants. The neon tube then cools and typically neon or argon gases are filled into the tube until it reaches a certain pressure. When argon is used, a tiny amount of mercury is also placed inside the neon side. The amount of neon depends on the size and dimensions of the tube. Different combinations of helium and argon are also used for colder weather neon signs.

When lit, neon gives off a orange-red or red light. When argon is lit it gives off a dim lavender color. But when the droplet of mercury fills the tube with vapor, ultraviolet light is given off upon electrification. While being bent, ultraviolet sensitive phosphors are placed in the interior of the tubes, giving off different bright neon colors when lit. Animated neon lights are sequentially programmed to turn certain parts of the unit on and off as certain times. Larger neon signs such as the kind used in bars and pubs have a specially constructed high voltage transformer, limiting the available current running through the sign and keeping it from being destroyed. Once built the neon bar signs are tested for operation and safety and made sure they can withstand the high voltage. They are then packed and shipped to wholesalers and suppliers. And that is a very brief and simplistic description of how neon bar signs are made. Please don't try this at home. Ha ha.

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