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Full referenceMonster Neon Sign Reveals Faith in City. "Beehive" Light Display Said Second Largest Structure in World. (1938)
TypeJournal article
TitleMonster Neon Sign Reveals Faith in City. "Beehive" Light Display Said Second Largest Structure in World.
JournalChina Press
Date publication1938
Keywordsneon; city; light; Claude; gigantism; spectacle

"Beehive" Light Display Said Second Largest Structure in World

The faith of business leaders in the future of shanghai is expressed in the new spectacular Neon "Beehive" sign - the largest in the Orient and the second largest Neon sign in the world - advertising Patons and Baldwins Knitting Wools. This new display, reaching a height of 120 feet from the side-walk, has been isntalled by Claude Neon Lights, at the corner of Avenue Edward VII and Yu Ya ching Road. Thousands of people throng this area, which is rapidly becoming the busiest cross section of Shanghai's daily life. 

The history behind the sign is a romance in itself (...) 

Household Word

For many years "Beehive" has been a household word in China and when the Company's Shanghai factory was opened in 1934, giving employment to 1,015 Chinese and foreigners, "Beehive" Wools became a luxury within the reach of every purse. This old firm with a youthful and elastic mind has confidence in the furture of China and of Shanghai its greatest city and the huge sign is an expression of this faith. 

The entire installation is a facsimile of the "Beehive" trade mark. The center section shows the Beehive blanked on the left by roses representing England and Shamrocks for Ireland, and on the right, the thistles of Scotland and the leeks for Wales, all outlined in colorful Neon. In the center of the hive are two gigantic letters "BB" in expanding Claude Neon blue tubing, animated by a three-point flashing apparatus. On the top of the hive in day-time are two bees with outstretched wings which at night soar continually in a circle over the sign, their flight being animated by a 24-contact point flasher. 

The main sign is 50' x 48' in size, having a surface of 810 square feet. It is made up of 12 different sections, assembled on 3" x 3" x 14" angle iron and fastened to the structure by angle iron cleats of the same size. The bees are mounted on 1 1/2" x 1 1/4" x 5/16ths angle iron and 1 1/2" x 1 1/4" F.I. frames. There are ten frames in all to support the necessary glass bees appearing in motion, the remaining bees being mounted on the main sign. Over 1.100 feet of Claude Neon golden tubing over 1,000 feet Claude Neon white tubing were used for the outlining of the 48 Bees, together with 48 15,000 volt transformers. 

The design of the main section is carried out by the use of over 1,300 feet Claude Neon tubing, in red, blue, light and dark green, white and golden flashing colors. Flanking each side of the main sign, and on top, appear two Chinese characters, meaning "Honey Bee" and four, each 10 feet in height, meaning "the King of Knitting Wools". Below the sign are three other characters each seven feet high, giving the Chinese name of the trade-mark, all outlined in Claude Neon orange red tubing. 

The entire installation was installed on a structure designed by Malcolm and Company. It consists of five panels, three center panels reaching a height of 115 feet, and the two side panels a height of 90 feet, with an overall width of 60 feet. To construct the structure over 41 tons angle iron, gusset plates, rivets, etc. were used and over 2,500 cubic feet of reinforced concrete for the necessarily strong foundation to ensure absolute safety. 

Claude Neon Lights, Federal Inc., U.S.A. constructed this spectacular display and has charge of its operation. Mr. C.P. Danilevsky, Manager of the Art Department, and a graduate of the Pennsylvannia Academy of Fine Arts, U.S.A. created the design for the display and it was sold by Mr. W. Krause, Sales Manager. 


Published on September 4, 1938, p.7

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The China Press (1925-1938) [Shanghai] 04 Sep 1938-7-Claude.pdf (66.76 ko)

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