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Arts and Entertainment

Happy 100th Birthday to the Neon Sign

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Neon signage can dazzle, inform, distract, or illuminate, and Los Angeles is an important city in neon's history. This week, the neon sign marked its 100th birthday, the Museum of Neon Art shared via email.

"On November 9, 1910 Frenchman Georges Claude patented the first commercially affordable neon sign to the public," MONA explains. The first neon sign to be installed in America was here in Los Angeles, when in 1923 "Earl C. Anthony purchased a neon sign by Claude to advertise his Packard car dealership in Los Angeles."

That sign was originally installed on Hope Street near Olympic, where, today you'll see a blue neon replica for the Packard Lofts. In 1923, however, neon was a dizzying sight: "When the Packard sign was first displayed outdoors, Rudi Stern noted in his book, Let There Be Neon, that the neon sign made such a stir in LA that people came from all regions to see the 'living flame' which caused a huge traffic problem."

Check out a tiny sampling of L.A.'s thousands of neon signs in pictures here, and, as curated, at the Museum of Neon Art. Bonus: "Wear a light art costume to MONA for the November 11th Art Walk & get in FREE all night!"

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