A historical look at neon



Morris Garages neon
Morris Neon

Here is a Morris neon sign from the 50's/60's came in for a clean, refurbish and recommision. A lovely sign from its era.

Juke Box clock
Neon Clock

It is a joy to repair broken old neon pieces. Restoration of these old neons is very important for heritage purposes.

1940''s Neon Clock
1940's neon clock

Amazing good condition reverse pin striping and sign writing to the inner face of the glass front. the whole clock is a metal tin box creation. there is no plastic in the clock at all. the tube supports are glass.

The clock needed a new transformer (the old one had burnt out) and the neon was broken so i replicated the tube in the same style exactly.

The clock movement is mains Electric operated but since it is a USA spec neon, the clock has a small step down transformer to power it. I am delighted to keep the original mechanical motor movement in the clock although it does gain 5 minutes ever hour... good for those in a hurry.

 

Image 1

close up of clock

Dickybow disco

This is a neon used by a local DJ for mobile work. Refreshed with some new Dickybows. Sweet!

Geoff Spanton 1930 to 2019
Geoff's glass knife

Geoff Spanton was an incredibly skilled man both in the art of neon making and art of the drawn line.

I dont have a vast knowledge of Geoff's life, I can say he was the most influential person in my working life. Born 27th Sept 1930 his early years spent learning art at Leeds College of Art in 1943. Going into national service he then went onto making ampules in glass and then lead onto neon making in the 50s for Oldham signs of Leeds. Where he spent most of his working life, except for a stint running his own neon company with Geoff Gill in the 70s and then returning to Oldhams. The ill faited company Oldham Signs put him into early redundancy and retirement and a year later 1992 I also left. Geoff beleived in me. I have never forgotten what he did for me in the 80s and what he taught me about all things neon making. He is sadly missed. He gave me his glass knife when he retired. I am honoured to have it in my workshop at all times. Rest in peace your neon star burns forever bright.

Oldhams Signs in the 60s

New York road

The Father of Neon

It all started here in France. Well so we are told, but really it started long before that.

See the history page

Neon signs of old

Nostalgia neon
Historical neon installations will be add to this site soon
Firstly a look at the former golden nugget sign now lives in the desert out side Vegas

Piccadilly Circus London

The Neon at Piccadilly Circus is no more! one year before the 100th aniversary of neon in comercial use.

Sanyo have anounced (Feb 2011) they will not renew their lease. The Sanyo sign is the last remaining Neon sign at the site.

It is a shame Heritage cannot be supported more widely as Piccadilly Circus was the centre of the birth of "getting your name in lights" around the london theatres!

Here is a link to BBC I player an interview I did with BBC Radio4's Catherine Car broadcast on 8th April 2011

 Scroll down the page past the photo's i provided of Historical Piccadilly to "Chapter 2 Piccadilly Lights" and click it.

BBC Radio 4 You & yours show 8th April 2011

or here is the perma link: click here

 

 

 

 

 

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At night by day the glory and art of neon

The Barnsley Stork

Click the title above to go to Codswallop Trust web site

 

 

 

 

 

Re-lighting the Barnsley Stork

 

A Coddswallop Trust and Neoncraft project

 

 

Older Barnsley townsfolk fondly recall the bright red lettering of the “WE SUPPLY ALL BUT THE BABY” neon sign that also featured a huge white and yellow stork holding a baby in its beak. Now sadly partly damaged and unlit this sign, an historic part of Barnsley’s business heritage, has adorned a wall in Building 18 at Elsecar Heritage Centre for several years waiting for the time when it could be restored to its full glory.

 

The stork was originally erected at 17 Cheapside, Barnsley, above a draper’s shop first opened by Edward Bailey in 1883.  This shop closed in 1968 but the Bailey family opened another one selling baby linen at 5 New Street, Barnsley and the memorable sign was reinstalled. This shop finally closed in 1998 and there was doubt that the stork could survive as the new owners of the building wanted it to be removed.  A new home was needed but nobody seemed to want to take on the hassle and cost of moving it. This is where the Coddswallop Trust stepped in, the first stage of rescuing this unique bit of “Old Barnsley”.

 

It has to be said that scrap is probably the fait of so many old neon signs and they never get to be seen by anyone after there removal as contracts for advertising space runs out in places like Piccadilly circus.

The memory of these superb works of art and engineering lost forever and their memory only served by photos and films.  Examples of such signs are Wrigley’s, Bovril and Guinness.

 

As we also specialise in the renovation of historic neon signs as well as new installations. Our work was recently featured on the BBC’s Look North programme.  We have surveyed the stork  to restore and bring it back to life. We believe the Stork sign to be an important example of the increasingly rare neon sign maker’s art, possibly dating from the 1930s or 1950s and cannot wait to begin work on it.

 

After careful measurements and rubbings of the original design have been taken some new glass tubing will be made and the electrical wiring and transformers will be replaced in order to conform to modern electrical safety regulations.  All the other parts of the sign will be left as untouched as possible to preserve its authenticity and period charm.  Neoncraft hopes to complete this work for Coddswallop by the end of June so that the stork can once again be lit up and on public view whenever the Antiques Centre building is open.

 Coddswallop Trust aim to attract sponsorship from local businesses and the people of South Yorkshire and beyond to help us with this unique project. Coddswallop trust also hope to generate TV, local radio and newspaper coverage and will offer as much publicity as possible to anyone who is able to help.

 

 

 

Other types of out of use signage of the past
A selection of various signs of the past