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 passportmagazine.com

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 cwlasvegas.com

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

Click Here for Downloadable Photos

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.”

YESCO employees participate in Las Vegas Days Parade

The Las Vegas Days Parade, formerly known as Helldorado Parade, is held in mid-May each year and celebrates the city’s western roots. The parade includes floats, high school marching bands, cowboys and cowgirls on horseback, car clubs, nonprofits and more. An independent panel of judges reviews the parade entrants, and awards winners in several categories. The parade was first held in 1935, and is sponsored by the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial. lasvegasnevada.gov

This year's parade was held on May 15th, and YESCO showed up in style. Dozens of YESCO employees participated; many brought members of their families. Our parade entry included signs (of course!) and a sparkling fleet of decorated company vehicles, headed by our 1924 Model T truck.

We were were excited to be a part of the celebration, and proud that our entry was given top honors. We were awarded Best of Las Vegas Days by the judging committee.

View YESCO Las Vegas Parade Gallery

Winners of ‘coffee shop giveaway’ receive signage provided by the YESCO

Life changes are brewing for couple named winners of ‘coffee shop giveaway’

Just days after they decided to get married in December, Aaron Lee and Mallory Gott decided to take another plunge together.

The newly engaged couple, who were already toying with the idea of opening a restaurant, entered a contest to win a startup coffee shop.

As fate would have it, their 1940s diner concept, Winnie & Ethel’s, took the top spot in The Great Las Vegas Coffee Shop Giveaway.

The competition, similar to the TV show “Shark Tank,” was organized by J Dapper, a Las Vegas real estate developer and owner of the downtown Huntridge Shopping Center.

The diner will be where the old Huntridge Pharmacy and adjacent lunch counter were once located, near Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard. It is scheduled to open sometime late this year or early next year.

“I feel really honored,” Gott said. “We had so many people help us with this. Aaron had a fantastic group of chefs who worked with us on the concept.”

The name for the restaurant comes from the first names of the grandmothers of Gott and Lee.

Estimated to be worth about $950,000, the prize package includes a furnished and equipped 3,000-square-foot space, three months of free rent and signage provided by the YESCO company...

Read the full article written by Bryan Horwath at lasvegassun.com

YESCO Restores Iconic Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Guitar Sign in Biloxi, Mississippi

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YESCO announces the refurbishment of the iconic guitar sign at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, a Bally's Corporation property, which was originally constructed in 2005.

At the time of construction, it was the tallest Hard Rock guitar sign in the world. It survived the wrath of Hurricane Katrina largely intact. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was originally scheduled to open in 2005 however, days before the grand opening, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the casino and damaged the resort. The property eventually opened in 2007.

YESCO’s involvement with Hard Rock guitar signs spans more than 30 years with the design, fabrication and installation of the first Hard Rock Café guitar sign in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1990. The guitar stood in front of the café until it was removed in 2016, after which it was restored and installed in The Neon Museum Boneyard in 2019.

FUN FACTS:

  • The guitar is a replica of a Peavey HP Signature.
  • Height: 112-feet tall
  • Approximately 6,000 linear feet of Dynamic RGB programmable LED lights to create various colors and light shows to coincide with special events and holidays.
  • The guitar received a complete overhaul with replacement of all lighting components, wiring, power supplies and transformers. The display was also completely sanded down, body work was completed to repair aging seams and panels. The guitar was custom painted in the field to restore it to better than original condition.
  • The guitar has survived several major hurricanes since it was installed in 2005.
  • It took approximately 4,800 man-hours to renovate and restore the guitar.

“It is a thrill to work on such an iconic monument with such a rich history,” said Jeff Young, senior vice president of YESCO. “I remember building the first guitar for the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, which has since been retired from its original purpose, yet remains on view to thousands of visitors to The Neon Museum annually. It’s gratifying to see the new version come to life in such spectacular fashion in Biloxi, where it can be enjoyed by its visitors for years to come.”

ABOUT BALLY'S CORPORATION

Bally's Corporation is a global casino-entertainment company with a growing omni-channel presence of Online Sports Betting and iGaming offerings. It currently owns and manages 14 casinos across 10 states, a horse racetrack in Colorado and has access to OSB licenses in 16 states. It also owns Gamesys Group, a leading, global, online gaming operator, Bally's Interactive, a first-in-class sports betting platform, Monkey Knife Fight, the fastest growing daily fantasy sports site in North America, SportCaller, a leading, global B2B free-to-play game provider, and Telescope Inc., a leading provider of real-time fan engagement solutions.

With approximately 10,000 employees, Bally's casino operations include more than 15,800 slot machines, 500 table games and 5,300 hotel rooms. Upon closing the previously announced Tropicana Las Vegas (NV) transaction, as well as completing the construction of a land-based casino near the Nittany Mall in State College, PA, Bally's will own and manage 16 casinos across 11 states. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "BALY".

YESCO Jones Tribute
A New Exhibit Showcases Electric Sign Company YESCO’s Influence On Las Vegas

For more than a century, the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) has helped shape Las Vegas’ iconic, neon image. Founded in Ogden, Utah, by English immigrant Thomas Young, YESCO has supplied the Strip and other marqueed corridors with glowing signs since the 1920s.

Read complete article here.

Adolfo Gonzalez Paints Thomas Young Jr.

Many of YESCO's designers bring a fine art background to the discipline of sign design. Adolfo Gonzalez is a senior designer in our Las Vegas office. His training and explorations in art give impact and depth to his sign presentations.

In Adolfo's words, 'I created this portrait of Thomas Young Jr. on 140lb. paper in graphite and watercolor. The steps reveal the process I use in my work. I am honoring Mr. Young and also his father, Thomas Young."

From the days of its founding, the artist's vision and enthusiasm have informed YESCO's work. This tradition continues today.

Non-Fungible Planet visits YESCO in Las Vegas