|Intl. Notebook||Jan 19 2011|
Today in 1915 Frenchman George Claude patented the neon sign. Earlier scientists such as Nikola Tesla had already discovered the luminescent properties of inert gases, but it was Claude who said: “Je l’ai! Advertising!” Claude had displayed examples of his signs at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1910, but his brilliant idea didn’t really catch on until more than a decade later. In the interim Claude realized he’d better patent the invention, which is exactly what he did ninety-six years ago today in the U.S. Pulp wouldn’t be the same without Claude’s glowing tubes, and on behalf of all the seedy diners, porno theaters, pawn shops, and strip motels managed by homicidal psychopaths, we say thank you, George.