SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Early twentieth century neon tube, artwork. This type of neon tube was based on a Moore tube. The Moore tube was invented by Daniel McFarlan Moore as the light source in early television receivers (television sets). Neon tubes consist of two electrodes (large spiral in centre of the tube) sealed into a glass vessel in which the air has been replaced by neon gas at a very low pressure. When an electric current is passed through, the neon's atoms are heated and emit light, causing the tube to glow brightly. Moore tubes were the precursors to the modern neon lights that are now widely used in shop signs around the world. Normal light bulbs differ in that their single wire element glows when heated, not the gas in the bulb.
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