Neon Signs Fading in Chicago

Chicago preservationists are urging owners of the last of the city's neon signs to keep them intact.

"'When there's a threat of a landmark sign coming down, there's often a grass-roots movement to save it,' says Tod Swormstedt, founder of Cincinnati's American Sign Museum. 'When people think of retro, they think of the '50s. That means neon.'

The first neon sign was sold to a Paris barber in 1912. By the 1920s, they were considered the most modern and stylish way to advertise. Light is produced when an electric current is sent through gas in a glass tube.

Neon fell out of favor in the 1960s and 1970s when urban renewal was a priority and zoning regulations often banned new neon signs. When businesses were sold or remodeled, their neon signs often were thrown away.

Neon signs are more fragile, harder to repair and use more electricity than LEDs, says Bob Clauss of Parvin-Clauss Sign Company Inc. in Carol Stream, a Chicago suburb. Those factors often prompt businesses with old neon signs to replace them, he says. 'Customers are looking for a good value, and they want to do what's right for the environment,' Clauss says."

Full Story: Save neon signs, fans urge
Tags: 

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Women's t-shirt with map of Los Angeles

City T-Shirts for the ladies!

Women's Supersoft CityFabric© Fashion Fit Tees. Now available in six different cities.
$24.00
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET