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Re: What happened??

Posted By: neontek
Date: Wednesday, 21 October 2009, at 12:07 a.m.

In Response To: Re: What happened?? (Don Miner)

> Well, from my point of view, here are some
> reasons for the partial demise of neon. Lack
> of adaquate training in bending, pumping and
> installations. I have seen some very low
> quality bending, thin bends, bubble welds,
> black stained glass from too much gas in the
> fires, etc. Mercury stains, from excess
> amounts of mercury. I have seen installs so
> poorly done, I was amazed that the building
> had not burned to the ground. Poor or no
> additional insulation through metal conduit,
> definetely a no-no, but some nut at UL says
> that is the way to go! I am not surprised
> that land lords do not want neon on their
> premises. What can we do to improve this
> delimma? There is no magic cure-all for
> certain. We just have to bite the bullet and
> push for better schools for our craft. I can
> remember, back in the 60's when I started,
> there were apprenticeships, where you got
> OJT. But the bottom line now will not permit
> it. I guess it really all comes to on word
> GREED! Just my 2 pennies. 49 years at the
> bench and counting. Pesce, Don Miner


I agree Don.

Shoddy fabrication and/or installation most definitely contribute to a bad image of NEON.

It seems the mindset of the general public has also changed to a "cheap" or "lowest price" wins attitude though. Quality is becoming more of a hard sell. It's a disposable society. Few seem to care if it lasts anymore. There is junk galore.

As you pointed out, UL can't even get it right.
Another UL blunder was the mandatory use of GFI transformers before the transformer manufacturers had all the bugs out. Initial constant tripping, etc. made even seasoned service crews/companies (and Neon Signs)look bad to customers.

All at a time when LEDS were staging a massive campaign to take over our market, albeit with an advertising campaign full of misinformation to boot.

In my opinion LEDS far outweigh any other factor in reducing/replacing Neon production. Quality is not the biggest issue today. LEDS have vastly replaced Neon in channel letter production (an area where a great percentage of the work was done was in a quality manner).

LEDS are a viable replacement for NEON (where few existed before), in the eyes of many people.
Even long established Sign Business owners promote LEDS use.
In the words of one high production shop: "All we need are "monkeys" (cheap labor) to tape leds into channel letters, eliminating the need for highly skilled/paid craftsmen."
The liberal "Green" crowd is also misinformed in thinking LEDS are "green" and Neon is "dirty".

Regarding "pushing for better schools for our craft". - I'd say that is a BIG WISH or pipedream at this point. Look around.... most Neon Schools have closed. Schools need to be profitable and PLACE students in the job market. Ummm, THERE IS NO JOB MARKET FOR A NEON TUBEBENDER ! Apprentiships may be the last remaining teaching source (which can be a good thing with the right instructor). I proudly apprenticed with a skilled master.

Your one word summary of "GREED" may be the best/concise answer of all.

Tony D.

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