Art of Travel: The Neon Lights of Las Vegas

How neon signs became Las Vegas’s defining art form and calling card is a transporting tale of transatlantic time travel.

Neon’s journey to the Mojave Desert originated in a London laboratory in 1898, when chemists Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers drew six mysterious gases from thin air.

The “noble” sextet, so termed because they royally resist bonding with other atoms, included an element that the partners named neon after the Greek “neos” for “new.”

Neon is odorless and colorless. However, when extracted from liquified air, sealed in a vacuum tube, and zapped with electricity, as French inventor Georges Claude discovered in 1902, this invisible aristocrat glows crimson red. In 1912, he installed the world’s first neon sign at a Parisian barbershop.

Radiant enough to penetrate fog, his “liquid fire” cinematically transformed European cities. Neon reached the U.S. in 1923 after American entrepreneur Earle C. Anthony, dazzled by Claude’s works in Paris, commissioned two neon-scripted “Packard” displays for his Los Angeles automobile dealership.

As neon fever similarly revolutionized American cityscapes, Thomas Young emerged as the pioneer of the form. In 1910, Young’s father moved the family from northern England to Ogden, Utah, to seek a better life. Then 15, Young, who loved drawing and painting, apprenticed as a sign writer.

Enterprising, charismatic, and principled, Young founded his eponymous sign company in 1920 and started out hand-lettering windows in gold leaf and engraving brass coffin plates. Seeing the Packard signs in L.A. changed everything. Renaming his enterprise Young Electric Sign Company, later shortened to YESCO, Young and his growing team started manufacturing, installing, and servicing neon signs across the West. Meanwhile, landmark developments in Southern Nevada put YESCO on the path of destiny...

Read the full article written by Jeff Heilman at

The CW Las Vegas Chloe Koast learns to bend neon

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Chloe Koast was up to the challenge to learn from the sign-making experts at YESCO!

The company is responsible for building and maintaining some of Las Vegas's best and brightest signs.

Chloe learned the ins-and-outs of neon bending and took a road trip to one famous landmark: the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign…

View the full story at

Thomas Young Jr, YESCO Board Chairman, Receives 2022 Summit Award From Salt Lake City Rotary Club
Pictured: Front Row, L to R: Dwan Young and Thomas Young Jr.,
Back Row, L to R: Sons, Mike Young, Jeff Young, Paul Young

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YESCO announces Thomas Young Jr., board chairman for YESCO, and his wife Dwan Young received the 2022 Summit Award from the Salt Lake City Rotary Club 24.  

The Summit Award was established in 2020 to recognize long-time members of the Salt Lake City Rotary Club who demonstrated the Rotary motto of “service above self” and have made significant contributions to both the club and the community.

With 64 years of service in the Salt Lake City Rotary Club, Thomas Young Jr. was honored as a second-generation Rotarian. The award also recognizes his nearly 80 years of active employment with YESCO. Young began his career with the company on November 6, 1942, at the age of 14. Dwan Young was also concurrently recognized for her lifetime of service, including general primary president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chairman of the Primary Children’s Hospital’s board of trustees and vice-chairman and secretary of Intermountain Health Care’s board of trustees.

His father Thomas Young Sr. also served as a member of the Salt Lake City chapter throughout his career. Additionally, Thomas Young Jr.’s three sons Mike, Paul and Jeff Young are also lifetime members of the Rotary Club dedicated to serving the local community. Both Mike and Paul have served on the Salt Lake City Rotary Club board of directors and as presidents. Jeff will also begin his term as president in July of this year.

“My father taught me the importance of giving back to the local community from an early age,” said Thomas Young Jr., board chairman, YESCO. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to improve the lives of those around me and look forward to my sons continuing this legacy for decades to come.”