Flexible neon lamp manufacturer: A neon lamp is an ordinary glass tube, which can be bent into various shapes after being softened on a fire of 1000 degrees Celsius. The glass tube is evacuated and injected with different rare gases. After being energized, it flashes a few times to emit colorful light.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Hong Kong’s entertainment stars shined, and neon lights often appeared in concerts and other occasions. "I met Anita Mui by chance. At that time, I went to a concert to give neon lights." During the booming industry, Hu Zhikai sometimes worked more than 20 hours a day, and even didn't go home for several weeks.
"There are many orders, heavy work intensity, and monthly income of about 40,000 to 50,000 Hong Kong dollars." He said that there were about 100 neon artisans and more than 300 neon sign production companies in Hong Kong at that time.
“We used about 5,000 neon glass tubes and spent two or three months to make triangular neon lights for the outer wall of the Bank of China Building in Hong Kong.” Hu Zhikai recalled his past works and couldn't hide his pride.
However, with the emergence of light-emitting diode (LED) technology in the 1990s, the neon light industry has gradually declined. "LED lights are energy-saving, power-saving, and bright. Many businesses turn to LED lights." After more than 30 years in the business, Hu Zhikai watched craftsmen switch careers. Now there are only about seven or eight, and the youngest is in his 40s.
Driven by the policies of the SAR government, the old neon signs slowly disappeared from the streets. As of 2014, about 120,000 exterior wall signboards in Hong Kong have undergone the “Unauthorized Signboard Inspection Program” of the Buildings Department, and the old-style neon signboards that are out of compliance have been removed.
"Things can't stay the same forever, neon lights have gradually become interior decorations, but as long as there are people who need it, I will stick to it." Hu Zhikai said.
Neon light and shadow guide the direction of "walking street"
In the 1930s, neon sign manufacturing technology was introduced to Hong Kong. By the 1950s, Hong Kong's economic and industrial development was in its infancy, and demand for merchandise sales was huge, and neon signs gradually became a new type of advertising.
"In order to attract customers, the owners of hardware stores, barber shops, hand-made shoe shops, and snack bars worked hard to make neon signs, and even invited calligraphers to write inscriptions." said Guo Siheng, an assistant professor at the School of Design of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Demand for neon signs has increased.
In the 1980s, when Hu Zhikai first entered the neon industry, in an old building on Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, where Guo Siheng lived, neon signs pointed him home.
"When I was a child, I needed to go home by myself after school, but my building was similar in appearance to the old buildings nearby, and I often couldn't find a way home." Guo Siheng said. Later, his family told him that there were neon signs on the way home from the flexible neon light manufacturer. : First pass by the "Mingyuan Restaurant", and then see the "Youlian Noodle Factory", the home is upstairs from the noodle factory.
The "tips" of finding directions through signboards made Guo Siheng a "street master". "The most impressive is the neon sign of the'Miao Li Department Store' in Jordan. It is about one to two stories high and looks like a peacock on the screen. The word "Miao Li" is written in the middle, which is very eye-catching."
Four years ago, Guo Siheng walked the streets and alleys, recording the disappearing neon signs, and wrote the book "Neon Dark Color". The book mentions that Hong Kong’s streets are complex, and many people use signs to identify directions.
In the mid-to-late 1990s, from Sheung Wan on the west of Hong Kong Island to Siu Sai Wan on the east of Hong Kong Island, there were more than 40 giant neon signs with an area of a few hundred square meters on the coast of more than 10 kilometers, small and medium-sized neon signs. Signboards are more difficult to count. All kinds of signboards show Hong Kong's characteristics of gathering thousands of merchants.
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