Notman & Son Sign Restoration

Notmans (before).jpg

Neon Family was mandated with the restoration of the famed Notman & Son sign as part of McCord Museum's conservation department, whose mandate is to preserve, study and present its objects, which enables us to better understand their place in our history and their pertinence to us today.

The Notman & Son neon sign was made in the mid-1950’s and adorned the doorways of at least two locations of the studio, including one at 1176 Sherbrooke Street West, where it was photographed by Edith Mather in 1979. George Dudkoff, the last proprietor of the Notman Studio, took possession of the sign after the studio closed and subsequently donated it to the McCord Museum in 2012.

[...] Fortunately, two small pieces of the original tubing remained, and we were informed by Gérald Collard, an expert in neon sign history and manufacture, that tests could be done to determine the colour of the tube when lit. Neon tubes light through the electrical ionization of a gas, which excites a fluorescing coating on the inside of the tube. A wide range of colours can be produced by varying the combinations of gas (neon or argon) and the coating, as well as by the addition of mercury inside the tube. After attaching electrodes to each end of a section of the original tubing, creating a vacuum inside the tube and initiating a current, we were delighted to see the coating glow bright green! Further deduction told us that there was only one possible answer to our question – neon gas along with the coating had produced a deep orange-red light.
Notmans (after).jpg

You can read more about this restoration project, along with pictures detailing the process on the McCord Museum website.