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(Ne)On Time

In just more than a week, the humble neon sign will celebrate its 90th birthday. Patented by French inventor Georges Claude on Jan. 19, 1915, neon signs reached America in 1923. The first signs went to a California Packard dealership. While the original neon signs glowed red, signmakers can now offer about 150 different colors using argon, mercury, and phosphor.