Neon lights are used throughout the world in many different applications. They provide a wonderful way to promote a message or bring attention to a structure or event. They have also been used as an art form. Most of us see neon lights almost every day, but we may not be aware of how they are produced.
Typical neon lights are produced by bending glass tubing into shapes that may represent letters, words or objects. The glass tubes used for this purpose are normally straight, hollow glass rods that are about 3 to 4′ in length.
Different colored light is produced depending on the type of gas they are filled with and if the tube has a coating on the inside. The tubes form desired shapes by heating them up to a specified temperature with a burner. The burners may be a ribbon, cannon or crossfire type and there are different gas torches used for this purpose as well.
The tubes are heated and then bent to form desired shapes. Neon gas is only one of several kinds of gases used. Pure neon gas produces only about a third of the total colors possible with these kinds of lights. Other inert gases such as argon may be used as well to provide other colors.