Where is this giant sign? It is right where it should be. There is only one logical place in this country where it could be. No, it isn’t in New York City. A neon sign this size needs plenty of room. It also has to advertise someplace that is popular enough so that this gigantic sign can pay for itself. That means a location that draws millions of visitors annually. New York City does get them.
But where could they put it? Times Square doesn’t have enough space. Also, the corporation who owns this neon sign does have property in The Big Apple but no place not enough room for this sign which is not a sign you can hang on or attach to a building. The only place that meets all of the requirements, if you haven’t guessed it by now, is “The Strip” in Las Vegas. This location is ideal because the money generated here far surpasses whatever income New York could produce and once you see the price you will know why Las Vegas got the nod. The most obvious reason, the size of this neon sign, points to Las Vegas.
This neon sign was the idea of the Hilton Hotel Corporation. The company that was to build the original sign had planned to build a 364 foot tall sign on the site when they started in 1994. However, this neon sign was practically destroyed during construction by a windstorm in July of that year. However, as luck would have it, the undamaged foundation and steel structure was able to be used when the foundation for the new sign was poured in 1996. It became the world’s largest and tallest free-standing advertising sign. Las Vegas known as The City of Lights received the brightest neon sign anywhere.
Just what makes this neon sign the brightest star in town? It is powered by flashing ballasts and neon transformers. Lights are provided by more than 1,500 flashing sign ballasts. The sign’s total surface area is over 70,000 square feet. This neon is able to produce as many as 64 changing color shades. The hotel’s name, Hilton, is done in rebox style letters 164 feet wide and 29 feet high and uses 9,310 feet of lighting. The sign is two-sided and displays ridges which are four lamps deep all the way up and down the sign.
The sign features a “Star Trek:The Experience” startup logo and a programmable reader board. This double-sided reader board is 40 feet high and 80 feet wide and is filled with 32,000 colored lamps per side. The Star-Trek part of the sign took 6,944 linear feet of neon to illuminate.The sign’s flashing ballasts are used to turn the colors on and off, move the light across the screen and control the sign’s flashing activities in as efficient and effective manner. The flashing sign ballasts are 120-volt, high output, which allows for dependable stopping at low temperatures. They support up to three lamps and have pre-heated cathodes to improve lamp performance. The ballasts are good for about 20,000 hours. The sign has proven to be very popular with visitors. There’s another title that could undoubtedly apply to this sign for at a price tag of approximately $9 million it could easily be the world’s most expensive neon sign.
It is interesting to note that Saginaw, Michigan claims to have the largest neon sign in the state. It is 35′ tall and 50′ long and is said to be the largest figural sign in the entire United States. A figural sign is based on human or animal figures.
Neon signs are things we see every day. From our largest cities to our smallest towns they exhibit their colorful brilliance day and night through all kinds of weather. Although their main function is to advertise they add warm lights to brighten many dark areas. They add color to drab buildings.
The US has its Times Square and Las Vegas, both being impressive neon sign showcases. London has its Piccadilly Circus, a well-known sign display. Some of the other places with bright sign centerpieces are Tokyo’s Ginza and Shibuya, Osaka’s Do ton bun, Shanghai’s Nanjinj Road(the world’s largest shopping street), and Bankok’s Soi Cowboy district which was named after an American who opened a go-go bar there in the 1970’s. This one made the list because of its so-called unpleasant strangeness which featured pink elephants marching up and down its pink neon streets.
Neon signs are found worldwide. Although they proclaim their messages in hundreds of languages their purposes and their benefits are the same as they are here.