Written by Joan Bramsch

NEON IS BACK! And That's a Good Sign by Joan Bramsch (c) copyright: 1996

Everywhere you look these days, there's Neon. Seems like everyone is finally "seeingrepparttar light" of razzle-dazzle Neon in all its raucous, sinuous beauty. Television programs reflectrepparttar 116356 public's renewed interest inrepparttar 116357 bright illumination. On a recent NBC Homicide program entitled "Murder In Neon,"the opening scene featured The New Moon Motel sign in electric blue neon. It setrepparttar 116358 mood forrepparttar 116359 story -- exciting and mysterious.

Alex's Show and Sisters television series both open with neon signs. But my favorite isrepparttar 116360 John Larroquette Show opening, when he strolls alongsiderepparttar 116361 big red and green neon sign and gives it a thump to stoprepparttar 116362 blinking message. Great stuff! Whimsy and fun, along with bright colors bordering on gaudy are important elements in fulfilling Neon's main job as a powerful visual medium. To understand howrepparttar 116363 color gets insiderepparttar 116364 glass tubes however, calls for some background information. Jacob Fishman, one of America's great neon artists, created an excellent video production - "Introduction To Neon" - that tells about neon's roots, as well as, provides a real-time demonstration of how neon is made. (For information call 1-800-747-9115, or visit his web site for neon supplies at

The History of Neon The word Neon comes fromrepparttar 116365 Greek "neos," meaning "The New Gas." Old Neon signs are most often neon or argon gas in a vacuum tube;repparttar 116366 smallerrepparttar 116367 diameter ofrepparttar 116368 tube,repparttar 116369 more intenserepparttar 116370 light produced andrepparttar 116371 higherrepparttar 116372 voltage required to illuminate it. A word of caution here: Old neon sign transformers can be very dangerous. DO NOT plug in an old neon sign if you are unsure of its operating condition. Better safe, than sorry! The neon sign is attributed to Georges Claude who popularized it in Paris in 19l0. The Lights Fantastic was brought to America in 1923. Earle C. Anthony purchased two signs for $24,000, money enough to purchase a small bungalow or two automobiles, and installed them in his Los Angeles Packard dealership. It is said, one sign still glows inrepparttar 116373 night!

Although there are now more than 150 neon colors possible by combining different gases like Krypton, xenon and helium, two favorites remain -- a fiery orange-red neon gas called Ruby Red and a soft lavender argon gas that turns a brilliant blue when enhanced with a drop or two of mercury. Another blue - Bromo Blue - named fromrepparttar 116374 popular deep blue Bromo-Seltzer bottle, is a glass color made from Cobalt.

Inrepparttar 116375 early years neon signs stopped traffic as people stared in fascination. The so-called "Liquid Fire" captivatedrepparttar 116376 public and it wasn't long before neon was everywhere. Theater marquee, night club and restaurant signs became an integral part ofrepparttar 116377 streamlined American landscape.

Neon becamerepparttar 116378 light ofrepparttar 116379 American Dream. Technology created even more colors and byrepparttar 116380 50's pink and turquoise started to coverrepparttar 116381 new drive-ins and diners, matching girl's felt poodle skirts and boy's ruffled tuxedo shirts for Prom night.

Byrepparttar 116382 60's bright plastic signs began to appear and neon's blazing lights, suddenly considered tacky, faded acrossrepparttar 116383 nation. Duringrepparttar 116384 next ten years neon sign making almost became a lost art, but inrepparttar 116385 early 70's a new breed of neon craftspeople emerged; these artisans expandedrepparttar 116386 realm of neon from advertising signs intorepparttar 116387 world of art. Artists like Fishman learned to use neon tubing to express his visions. The results are nothing less than breath-taking!

The Art of Neon American-made hollow glass rods used to make neon art come in 4-ft lengths. To shaperepparttar 116388 rods,repparttar 116389 glass is held in a cross-fire, two small groups of pipes arranged in a fan shape, each facingrepparttar 116390 other, and from which gas and forced air flow. The temperature of that blended flame measures approximately 800 degrees F. Withoutrepparttar 116391 forced airrepparttar 116392 flame would never get hot enough to meltrepparttar 116393 glass rods. The rod is scored atrepparttar 116394 needed length with a sharpened file and pulled apart insiderepparttar 116395 flame. Thenrepparttar 116396 artisan creates right-angles, double-backs and combination bends upon a reversed-pattern paper to form her/his design. All work on a neon lamp/sign must be in reverse because allrepparttar 116397 plugs and electrical connections are inrepparttar 116398 back. Whenrepparttar 116399 design is completed, gas is pumped intorepparttar 116400 tubing, then electrified and viola! an illuminated work of art.

A Hyacinth Flower Garden - In Miniature

Written by Joan Bramsch & Vicki Metzger

A Hyacinth Flower Garden - In Miniature

Tools: -- tweezers, scissors, hot glue gun and glue.


1. medium-weight green wire - 2 1/2 inches for each flower stem. 2. shredded styrofoam in several colors -- pink, blue, white, yellow. 3. green foliage -- spagnum moss, plastic grass picks, pieces from an artificial plastic or paper evergreen. 4. Plastic foam base for landscaped scene or some scrap to holdrepparttar flowers until used.



1. Heat glue gun.

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