A traveling neon salesman's sample-case, 1935


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/15/traveling-salesman-problem.html



If they have a case for a traveling Undark radium paint salesman, I hope they keep it behind lead.


I’d love to watch TSA’s response to some of these. Bet there’s nothing in their little guide book on watching out for neon tubes or traveling toilets


So this is what they had in Pulp Fiction…


I can’t tell exactly what the arrangement is(looks like one tube for the first 4 bars, from the left, a second tube for the last 6); but it must have been really fiddly to coat the glass properly.

The 4 leftmost strips all appear to be neon(all are reddish, the second to left appears to have transparent glass with the glowing gas region visible, the other three strips some sort of internal diffuser coating); The right 6 look to be filled with something else(phosphor glow on all except possibly the very rightmost tube, so I’m guessing one of the UV-producing mercury blends.

Normal fluorescent lamps just have one phosphor coating; this thing has one tube with 3 different coatings and an uncoated segment; and another with either 6 distinct coatings or 5 and one uncoated, I’m not certain. Must have taken some expertise to fabricate that arrangement.


Repo Man, too.


I remember when the Kirby vacuum salesman visited our house in the early 70s. Now I kind of wish he’d had a miniature vacuum.


Once the largest neon sign in America.


(rats. too late.)


They might not need to, depending on the age of the radium. Radium typically emits alpha radiation, which can’t penetrate human skin, or even more than a few inches of air. It’s only really harmful if you ingest it, because then it has easy access to soft tissue. That’s why radium watches were safe to wear… but if you worked in the factories, and practiced licking your paintbrush to get a sharp tip to it, well…


A lot of radioactive materials work that way, actually: Uranium metal is fairly safe as long as it isn’t ingested or inhaled, as well.


(I miss neon.)


Finally an excuse to share pics of this salesman sample I got from a customer who no longer used it. A Panasonic LED display sample case.


ACKSHUALLY the ad you’ve posted is technically mercury lighting, not neon :wink:


That’s just damn gorgeous. What a prop for a '70s spy movie it would have made.


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