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Think neon is out of fashion? Think again

PUBLISHED: 15:44 14 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:50 07 November 2016

SoLita, Didsbury

SoLita, Didsbury

Archant

Think of the sun setting on the busy high street. The daylight fades and the darkness sets in, but the street is far from dead. The neon begins to flash above the clubs and the bars, and the daytime shoppers give way to the nighttime revellers.

SoLita, PrestwichSoLita, Prestwich

Think of the dazzling brilliance of the Las Vegas Strip, the excitement and energy and items ticked off the bucket list, vibrant signs all glowing fantastic colours.

Think of the local barbers, a simple ‘open’ sign flashing calmly and innocently from above the doorway.

Think neon is out of fashion? Think again.

It might conjure nostalgia for the 50s and 60s, but whether you want to spruce up your business or display a piece of art on your living room wall, neon is very much in vogue.

Of the 50 or so neon sign makers in the UK, Neon Creations is one of the few that caters for all walks of life. From domestic to commercial applications, from a large sign in an office reception area to a one-foot collectors’ piece, Neon Creations keeps plenty busy thanks to word of mouth recommendations from their clients all over the country. It was this word of mouth that landed them a contract with SoLita restaurants in northern Manchester, producing neon signs for each of their restaurants.

But how exactly are neon signs made?

Much like any piece of artwork, it all begins with the design. A full-size drawing is made, against which the glass that will be used is measured. The glass is heated strongly then bent into shape. The air inside the glass is sucked out with a vacuum pump, and replaced with an inert gas like neon or argon. Electrodes are fitted to the ends of the tubes, the sign is fastened to a board and connected to a transformer. When it’s turned on, the electrodes burn the gas within the tube, giving its famous bright glow.

Neon Creations created everything for SoLita Restaurants in-house, all the way down to bending the tubes into place. It’s Neon Creations’ ability to recreate any custom shape – including handwriting – that has allowed them to stand the test of time.

As the appreciation of neon swings around again, Neon Creations will keep their doors open. An art piece tomorrow, maybe a commercial sign the next day – they’ll certainly be lighting up a high street somewhere.

To order a custom-made neon sign, visit neoncreations.co.uk or call 01204 655 866 for more information.

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