NEH banner [Return to Query]

Products for grant HB-272928-21

“Neon signs and unseen histories of the American landscape”
Dydia DeLyser, California State University, Fullerton

Grant details:

Neon: A Light History (Book)
Title: Neon: A Light History
Author: Paul Greenstein
Author: Dydia DeLyser
Abstract: Is it possible that (once again) everything we know is wrong? Well, in regards to the history of neon, this may well be the case. Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein have penned a brief, but concise history of the neon sign beginning at the beginning, and covering scandals, murder, fascists, and forgotten inventors. A full-color, lavishly illustrated electrical bodice ripper, aficionados of neon will find this an indispensable “bible” to the history of their favorite collision of art and commerce. Since the late nineteenth century neon signs have inspired devotion and derision, drawing people to them and transforming the American landscape in the process. In Neon: A Light History Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein unite the approaches of scholar and signmaker in the first book to detail neon’s rich history and geography from the inside. Lavishly illustrated and invitingly designed, this short book’s compellingly written expert analysis dispels long-held myths and misunderstandings about the inventors and technologies, the art and commerce, and the cities and communities that have made neon signs such iconic parts of the American landscape. Revealing neon signs as active agents in sweeping cultural, economic, and political changes nationwide, DeLyser and Greenstein introduce readers to inventors and “tube benders,” business owners and customers, politicians and passersby, sign detractors and sign afficionados, architects and restoration specialists—a compelling cast of characters, many of whom, they show, continue to keep neon vibrant today. Taking readers inside the signs themselves, the authors show how each sign, whether historic or contemporary, is made by skilled hands—today just as they were over one hundred years ago. Drawing from over a decade of in-depth archival and ethnographic research as well as more than four decades of experience in the sign industry, DeLyser and Greenstein show how neon signs have transformed the American landscape.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Website for the book, with historical details about neon included from the book.
Publisher: Giant Orange Press
Type: Other
ISBN: 978-1-7364776
Copy sent to NEH?: No