Signs, Surfside Beach SC

Around the corner and just up the street from The Pier sits the Bar & Grill.  Its neon signs winked at me once too often in the early morning, so one day, I stopped.

Panorama of neon signs advertising house specialtiesThe open door suggests that the sign does not lie: The bar really *is* open, even though it’s before my breakfast time.

This panoply of lights got me to wondering about neon lights and Wikipedia offers more than I ever wanted to know; to wit . . .

The intensity of neon light produced increases as the tube diameter grows smaller,
that is, the intensity varies inversely with the square root of the interior diameter of the tubing,
and the resistance of the tube increases as the tubing diameter decreases accordingly,
because tube ionization is greatest at the center of the tube,
and the ions migrate to and are recaptured and neutralized at the tube walls.

Anything that includes phrases like “varies inversely with the square root of the interior diameter” is generally a level down from where I live.  OK, maybe more than one level.  But it was interesting to learn that the colours are produced by the different gases used as well as the different phosphorescent coatings on the inside of the glass tube.

For anyone who likes this sort of thing, I recommend also the Timeline of Lighting Technology, where a quick perusal (trust me, a very quick perusal) suggests that there were few advances in lighting technology from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD.

For those who associate neon lights with their most famous incarnation – Broadway and Times Square – I offer this odd video of Rhinestone Cowboy.  I mean, why is Glen walking along a tree-lined highway instead of the sidewalks of Broadway in the opening stanza?  Other than, you know, production costs and his personal safety, since I understand Times Square was a no-go zone at about the time the video was made.

 

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