Vintage neon signs

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by Blackthorn, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. DesertDan

    DesertDan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,553
    Location:
    Arizona
    What a bizarre sign. I has 6 strings on the fretboard and 6 tuning keys at the headstock. But only 4 string post with only four strings on the face of the headstock. A guitar/bass combo!
    I don't think Fender ever made one like that! :D
     
  2. Rodney

    Rodney Familiar Face

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Centralia, WA
    The person who made it makes signs, not guitars. :D I completely missed that detail.
    I love the old neon too. I'll break out the camera soon. There's a couple nice ones (though not as nice as some posted here) here in Centralia including a freshly restored theatre marquee downtown.
     
  3. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,135
    Location:
    Oroville
    Grass Valley, CA:

    [​IMG]


    Truckee, CA:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. dh66

    dh66

    Messages:
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    Location:
    down south
    Fantastic, Blackthorn!! I especially dig the Flying A ones! Thanks for posting those.
     
  5. Blackthorn

    Blackthorn I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,135
    Location:
    Oroville
    My pleasure, DJ66
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    12,848
    Location:
    New York City
    Walked by this old neon garage sign today on 48th Street between 1st and 2nd (only one side still lights, or they only choose to light one side as the neon is on both sides, but only turned on, on one).

    [​IMG]

    And this one so that you can see how cool the old garage is as well - the windows are awesome
    [​IMG]

    And my girlfriend having some fun with the camera's editing capabilities to increase the time-travel fun
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    And I couldn't resist, these next two are from an awesome art deco 1929 women's only hotel - originally called the Panhellenic and, now, the Beekman Tower Hotel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beekman_(Panhellenic)_Tower). The first is a terra cotta relief and the second an original light. Not neon, but I doubt this crowd will be disappointed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

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    Location:
    Alabama
    FF, very nice. I envy the architecture you're surrounded by.
     
  8. dh66

    dh66

    Messages:
    12,146
    Location:
    down south
    Sweet neon AND deco, FF! Thanks for sharing those.
     
  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New York City
    Bamaboots and dh66 - thank you.

    Bamboots, I do feel grateful to be surrounded by such incredible architecture and history - it is one of the pluses of living in NYC, which I have to remind myself us as there are many negatives as well.
     
  10. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Location:
    My mother's basement
    This sign is somewhere near Madison, Wis., where I was born and passed the first decade and change of my life, and where I still have friends and relatives whom I visit every now and then.

    There's a gazillion of these kinds of signs around there, mostly adorning the outsides of taverns, advertising most major brands of beer. Few are as old as their style would suggest, though. The weather takes its toll on paint and sheet metal and glass tubing. It's a safe bet that most "old" outdoor signs of this type are either reproductions or recently rebuilt/restored, leastwise the ones in good condition.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  11. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

    Messages:
    12,848
    Location:
    New York City
    Great color / wonderful picture (but, to your point, looks restored or reproduced). Although, the rigging is definitely old school (what a mess).
     
  12. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Yeah, I got some better images in some file somewhere, and just about all of them show rigging that appears more aged than the signs themselves.
     
  13. 1mach1

    1mach1

    Messages:
    15,254
    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    This one is just minutes from the house. The old Arlington Theater.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    This is the main reason neon went out of style -- it requires constant maintenance, especially in a coastal climate. Salt air causes severe and chronic corrosion in the electrical connections, and the glass tubing doesn't like temperature variations. It "goes sour," with the neon gas leaking out around the corroded electrode seals, and has to be replaced.

    Our own neon sign has been a nightmare to keep lit. The metal casing is not watertight, so between rain and salt-air corrosion we've had to have the transformers replaced several times in just the ten years since it was built. Between that and the failing of the glass tubing, we've rarely had all the letters lit properly.

    The problem is made even worse by the fact that neon repair is a dying trade. There's only one company in our area that can service neon, and it takes many weeks for them to get a crew down here. Most of their work is done on plastic back-lit signage, and they only have a couple people left who know how to do the glass fabrication and electrical work necessary to keep a full-sized outdoor sign lit.

    11214070_1017137568326816_5329189567436718611_n.jpg

    11709450_1017137681660138_8144443567988107076_n.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  15. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Location:
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    ^^^^
    Yup. I certainly don't have such an intimate familiarity with the matter as do you, but any reasonably aware person with even a passing curiosity would deduce most of that. It takes an almost willing naivete to think the signs wouldn't be constantly wagging war with the elements. Or vice-versa, perhaps more accurately.

    Nature bats last.

    It's only been in recent years that I've developed an appreciation for back-lit plastic signage. There's a magical quality to the glowing colors for a few minutes right around dusk.

    Cool old signs here in greater Denver, by the way. And yes, most of them are showing their age. Leaves me wondering how long it'll be until they become interior decor. They're too valuable to scrap, obviously.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Those internally-lit plastic signs are a product of the Era, at least the Postwar Era. Shell Oil was the first company to use them widely, starting in 1948.

    Shell dabbled a bit in neon, as well. Anyone who's ever been to Boston knows about the 1933-vintage "Shell Spectacular" across the river in Cambridge. It's on Magazine Street, and is impossible to miss.

    [​IMG]

    The still picture doesn't do this sign justice. It starts out with the SHELL letters lit, and the outline of the shell then forms itself from the bottom up. Then the ribs of the shell shimmer. Then the whole thing goes dark and it starts over again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2015
  17. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2015
  18. dh66

    dh66

    Messages:
    12,146
    Location:
    down south
    That is a true thing of beauty, Tonyb! So is the Blatz sign. Is Blatz even still around?

    Also very nice, Lizzie. And hats off to the owners of the theatre for fighting the good fight.

    Also super cool Harv.

    Thanks for posting these.
     
  19. A long time "joint" here in town. The small "Mexican Food" neon used to say "Tacos to Go". When they replaced it we tried to buy the glass "Tacos to Go" from the sign company, but the owner we were dealing with was electrocuted before we could arrange it. Didn't seem right to pursue it after that.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    ^^^^^
    Sometimes the cosmos sends us messages. I'm at the point in life that I regard stuff as just stuff. Sure, I might want that stuff, but none of it will cheat mortality.
     

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