San Luis Obispo Night Lights
The night belongs to neon.
The bright lights and
warm colors of neon signs draw grownups like fireflies attract
children with Mason jars. Neon is a gaseous element that ionizes and
glows red when enclosed in a glass tube and charged with an electric current. Other colors are produced by adding other
gases, or by coating the inside of the tube with phosphorescent
identified Neon in 1898. Georges Claude is usually credited with
displaying the first neon tubes at the Parisian Exposition in 1910.
He brought neon signs to the United States in 1923. Here they
quickly caught on as a dramatic advertising medium, especially at
automobile dealerships, bars and restaurants, hotels, motels, and
movie theaters. Neon signage perfectly complemented then popular
Art Deco and Art Moderne design.
San Luis Obispo once
glowed with neon, beckoning residents and travelers alike. Most of
the old signs are gone. Of the ones that remain, a few are
This photo essay highlights
some of the neon signs that still survive, relics of an era when
nighttime SLO radiated neon exuberance.
SOURCE: "The History of
Neon Signs," Inventors.about.com
"Neon Sign History," Wikipedia
The Sunset Drive-in Theater on Elks Lane
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