A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

By Attila Nagy on at

I simply can't help it; I am a sucker for neon signs. I just love their clear glowing lines, their curves and bends, their warm though discreet presence in the night. And I hate to see them go.

Since the invention of the long luminous gas-discharge tubes containing neon or other noble gases in the beginning of the 20th century, the faces of our cities have become lovelier and livelier than ever. But despite the retro-revival sentiment, neon signs are going extinct, thanks to all the new advertising technology, the super cheap led lights, illuminated 3D boxes, and the huge, billion coloured screens and displays.

These images are an ode to beautiful neon signs, mostly from around the US where they were extremely popular from the 1920s to the 1960s. Share your own favourite neon signs, if you have any, in the comments below.

Speedee' McDonald's, the world's longest operating McDonald's fast food restaurant, Downey, California

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images


The iconic Vegas Vic, a 40-foot-tall neon sign built in 1951 on Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Sassy Sally, another iconic neon sign in Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Penguin beer pub, Budapest, Hungary

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Cinema Apollo, Debrecen, Hungary

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Budapest Puppet Theater, Budapest, Hungary

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Sauna, Debrecen, Hungary (dismantled)

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Espresso, Budapest, Hungary

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Neons of Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Circus Circus Hotel and Casino neon sign, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Memphis Music neon sign, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Old Motels and Historic Neon Art, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Neon sign for Mel's Drive-In and "celebrity bar" in Hollywood in Los Angeles

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Doc's Bar and Grill, Austin, Texas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Reno, Nevada

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Pappadeaux's fish restaurant neon sign, Houston, Texas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Holiday Motel, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Department of Utilities, Tuscumbia, Alabama

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Radio City Music Hall, New York City

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood, Los Angeles

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Rancho Super Car Wash, Rancho Mirage, California

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Tio Pepe, a Jerez wine, Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Carlos Muina/Cover/Getty Images


Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, London

A Fond Farewell to the Neon Sign

Photo: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images