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The Pillsbury Dough Boy Getting Poked Somewhere Else - The LED Retrofit Mythology part III


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The Assault of our "Traditions"

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In another topic I started a week back or so is below but now I'm continuing in a new thread, because...jokes aside.
http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/6677-pillsbury-dough-boy-makeover-and-93-saving/

Something big has changed, a more understanding behind the news article. A look into "Sign Mythology"

See Sign Proposal from Lawrence Sign below:
wcms1p-122428.pdf

It's not very often, but I just read this a short time ago and I have to say my stomach dropped, you know that sick disgusted feeling you get right there in the center of your stomach?

I'm attaching a document that was made public on another site thanks to Mike for making it public.

If this doesn't sicken everyone in the electric sign industry I don't know what will, and this should.

There is something that everyone in the electric sign industry should uphold no matter what light source you prefer or what your opinion is on applications. I'm speaking about upholding our traditions, and never giving them up to mis-characterization and mis-information.

Neon has been around for a long time and there a place for it like everything else in life based on it's own merit and function in upon which it serves. Neon is also a tradition, OUR tradition no matter what you produce in this trade! You may have not been in the electric sign industry for a long time, you may be relatively new, and you may have never even touched, fabricated or installed any before ever. But that should not keep you from appreciating it's function and pure elegance. Right now it's being assaulted, mis-characterized, and outright LIED as a whole, just to make a buck for something that will not last as long as it can.

There is a time and place in everything when it comes to the electric sign industry but Flexible LEDs should NOT be used to replace a historical sign, especially when the person doing the push sell of a repair or retrofit is doing so with false information and mis-leading the buyer.

Well, that's what Lawrence Sign is doing right now.

It's one thing to read an article online or in a newspaper, it's another to see a proposal from seller to buyer in print with false information which does nothing but desecrate and annihilate our traditions, that they themselves are apart of.

post-3-0-41796000-1397153055_thumb.jpg

LED Flex Strips do not have usable light at 100,000 hours.
Red LED's degrade in light, Red pumped Neon does not.

Red neon does NOT consume 20 WATTS per foot, that's ABSURD!!! That diameter neon lamps for that size project consume 3 to 3.5 watts per foot.

it does not take $15k a year in cost of operation vs $1,000 a year to convert over to LED

Now that we have a real proposal to go off of we can calculate/estimate the cost of operation.

post-3-0-66837600-1397151945_thumb.jpg

We can estimate that with the 11' letters have approx 93 feet of Neon (3 rows inches x 8.5), the lowercase and small capitals have 56' of lamps = 1,258' of lamps

1293' x 3 watts per foot = 3,774 watts

3,774 watts x 12 hrs x 365 days a year x $.15kwh / 1000 PC = $2,479.50, NOT almost $16,000 in annual cost of operation

​When it comes to the supposed "Yearly Maintenance" I don't even have a comment on that part, it just gets more ridiculous. If hail is a big concern for breakage then clear polycarbonate can come in real handy. So can hinge system.

A Industry as a whole, this sign trade needs to care no matter what your preference is and how long you've been in this industry, as someone new to it, 2nd, 3rd generation....otherwise we will loose a big part of who we are and we shame those who came before us, we shame those who started our grand traditions.

It won't come from our leadership in the form or associations, their just as guilty if not enablers of mis-information and mis-characterization of our traditions. The trade magazines? Just as bad, only trade magazine that actually reports now and IS "journalism", is "Signs of The Times".

In the end, it's about how you and I conduct OUR business, how we sell to our clients, and how we want our "Signs" left behind. We're forgetting why we came into this industry, what it is to look back at something long after we put it up, long after. Lately it's just been bastardized by outsiders who just want to take our trade and traditions and turn it into a cheap commodity all because THEY have something THEY want to sell to us, we can even go a step further to say what THEY want force on us and what THEY want forced upon the end user.




Integrity - To do what's right and not what comes easy, even when no one is looking.
Traditions - It's who we are, and what we want to pass on to those after us.

post-127-0-24273400-1397223341.jpeg

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You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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  • !llumenati

I think a lot of the service cost is labor. I did a simple repump on a job for our company that was a trade job. I do not know what the cost to them was but I saw the bill they sent to the customer and they charged them 150$ for the repump.. I asked him about it and he said if he charges them very high $ they will change it out and wont need you.

Back to dough boy. If a company that is versed in doing exterior neon would be able to revamp that sign and make it problem free for at least 5 years. but then again you would be competing against every tom, dick and harry including the franchise vinyl shops that are being pushed by corporate to do work way out of their scope of everyday production. This is where the added costs and continuous maintenance is.

I don't know Lawrence sign but would be safe to say that they do not do Neon and are basing it on sub work and the sales rep is on a commission base.

GOOD things happen for a reason......

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  • !llumenati

according to Shari they are keeping with the historic aesthetics. If that is the case they are not. Are they getting historical money from the local city, if so the new spec breaks spec.

GOOD things happen for a reason......

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The pictures at the end of that spec file are worth a look. It looks ilke they did a mockup of the apostrophe with new neon vs new LEDs. They also have a bunch of photos showing the current state of the sign.

Note the geometry of the original neon within the lettering. Phosphor coated tubing following the contors, and a more geometric pattern of clear glass filling in the strokes.

I don't know why they didn't do this for the apostrophe mockup (maybe it was the oddball). But it seems like a significant aesthetic detail to me.

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I think a lot of the service cost is labor. I did a simple repump on a job for our company that was a trade job. I do not know what the cost to them was but I saw the bill they sent to the customer and they charged them 150$ for the repump.. I asked him about it and he said if he charges them very high $ they will change it out and wont need you.

Back to dough boy. If a company that is versed in doing exterior neon would be able to revamp that sign and make it problem free for at least 5 years. but then again you would be competing against every tom, dick and harry including the franchise vinyl shops that are being pushed by corporate to do work way out of their scope of everyday production. This is where the added costs and continuous maintenance is.

I don't know Lawrence sign but would be safe to say that they do not do Neon and are basing it on sub work and the sales rep is on a commission base.

I think I heard that they did have a one and that they closed their Neon plant in 2005 or 2006. If this is true, what a shame. Think of how much money they could be keeping in house instead of outsourcing.

The pictures at the end of that spec file are worth a look. It looks ilke they did a mockup of the apostrophe with new neon vs new LEDs. They also have a bunch of photos showing the current state of the sign.

Note the geometry of the original neon within the lettering. Phosphor coated tubing following the contors, and a more geometric pattern of clear glass filling in the strokes.

I don't know why they didn't do this for the apostrophe mockup (maybe it was the oddball). But it seems like a significant aesthetic detail to me.

It's my understanding that the outer stroke or outline is blue pumped red, with the interior being clear red.

Here is something else misleading and maybe not intended. Below is the dog and pony show of an illumination comparison. The Neon portion looks dingy while the LEDs look nicer, BUT....

post-3-0-18013200-1397227213_thumb.jpg

They didn't even touch up the Neon side to paint the background to give the Neon radiance that punch and making it loose that "deep" appearance.

post-3-0-01588200-1397227221_thumb.jpg

Now, if that backside was painted you would see the advantage that a 360 degree illuminated lamp is versus a 120 degree, it just makes the neon lamp look likes it's lighting is "dirty"

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Lawrence Sign is in St Paul, MN. They pushed hard for this project to be approved. It is allegedly a $200,000.00 job.

The IRONY is they had to get approval from the Minnesota State Historical Preservation Society to do this and they are'nt "preserving" the neon.

The approval was based on the lie told to them regarding the cost of operation and they went along with it because Lawrence is, afterall, their "expert source" for information.

They had a specific agenda, sell a big money job any way possible. The structure repairs are necessary, changing the neon is not.

I'm just surprised that the Preservation Society would allow a new technology to replace a perfectly fine technology "from that era in sign history". It's not their money being used to pay the electric bill so how can they allow the removal of the very focal point of that sign to be changed to something NOT historical. You dont look at a sign like that and say , WOW, look at the sheetmetal or paint or anything about the structure of the sign, you say WOW because of the neon.

Cost of operation, even with a B---S---, inflated cost reported to them, should not be a reason to remove the most historically signifcant part of any historical sign.

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  • Board Patron

An old standing political rule perfected in Washington D.C. is the following, "If you keep repeating a lie, it then becomes truth". Whatever fact and cost figures that were used as it relates to neon is now truth in this situation. LED will be used and if you don't like it, just don't look at that "Historical LED Sign".

Best

"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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Well i guess if you're going to lie about some numbers don't stop at doubling, or tripling the numbers, just go ahead and make it six times the real amount and make sure it's a real good lie and go for the Shamwow Factor! :crazy:

post-3-0-17239900-1397486964.jpg

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I tried to contact the Historical society to see if it would be possible to appear before them and present the "neon side" of the facts.

They never responded to my calls or voice mails. I even stated that the whole country is watching this story.

I assume it's too late for any rebuttals. They've given it the go ahead.

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I sent an email our last week to everyone in the list correspondence, just sending them the real costs of operation. Never heard anything back.

This site works awesome when it comes to web searches. Though this maybe too little too late for this particular project, it will help when it comes to inquiring minds plugging in certain keywords. You would be surprised what major retailers are members of this site was well as observe the testing that we do here on The Sign Syndicate.

Also, I don't want anyone to think I'm knocking flexible LED products. There is just a time and place for it based on application, and Neon is NOT always the solution. BUT, when it comes to restoration projects of historic signs nothing else should try and be used other than what was originally used in place

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You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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660 views and 110 downloads later, i'm pretty impressed at the interest level of this topic.

A couple of emails going back and forth with the involved parties and well, it looks like Lawrence Sign got over on this one. They get to take this one to the bank and probably because of the initial first impression blast of 93% Savings and all the fooled raised their hands in amazement shouting "Yes, yes, yes".

My impression is that this is one of those situations where there are a lot of people involved a lot of civic action and as you know their VERY slow moving and it's almost like dealing with the DMV.

The feedback I got from them was that the most important fact was not so much the wattage / foot, but more of a long term maintenance issue which I once again refuted but that's what I got back as a response. This all feels like I was talking to a child who rolls their eyes where the message goes in one ear and out the other. It's going to be someones money, NOT mine, and Lawrence Sign will be laughing all the way to the bank no doubt.

Bullshit / dishonest marketing approach wins this one unfortunately, and unfortunate for the traditions of this industry.

I did mention that I will be checking in periodically to see how the "long term maintenance" surety is going and what was done in that time.

post-3-0-27294100-1397678598.jpg

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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  • !llumenati

If fraud and misrepresentation was truly illegal then all of our politicians would be up on charges! Then look st the mess we'd be in.

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  • 3 weeks later...

To close this out, I thought I posted this email but I guess I did not.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000149 EndHTML:0000003352 StartFragment:0000000199 EndFragment:0000003318 StartSelection:0000000199 EndSelection:0000003318 Thank you all for your comments on the Pillsbury Sign.

Here is what has occurred with the City process:
The HPC unanimously approved the sign rehabilitation and conversion of the lighting from neon to LED for the Pillsbury’s Best Flour sign at the April 1 meeting. This decision was not appealed during the appeal period. The conditions of approval were the following:
1. By ordinance, approvals are valid for a period of two years from the date of the decision unless required permits are obtained and the action approval is substantially begun and proceeds in a continuous basis toward completion. Upon written request and for good cause, the planning director may grant up to a one year extension if the request is made in writing no later than April 1, 2016.
2. By ordinance, all approvals granted in this certificate of appropriateness shall remain in effect as long as all of the conditions and guarantees of such approvals are observed. Failure to comply with such conditions and guarantees shall constitute a violation of this certificate of appropriateness and may result in termination of the approval.
3. The maximum luminance level between sunrise and sunset for the sign shall not exceed 5,000 nits and between sunset and sunrise the maximum luminance shall not exceed 500 nits. In addition, the signs shall be equipped with an automatic dimmer control or other mechanism that automatically controls the sign's brightness to comply with this requirement.

Staff received one public comment for this item. It was from the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association stating their support for the rehabilitation. Staff also received two phone calls the day after the public hearing. One of the calls was from Erik Gastelum. The other call was from another neon advocate who said that he completed the neon maintenance work for the Pillsbury’s Best Flour sign and had done the repairs to the neon over a hundred times.

In addition to Dominium needing HPC approval, they will also require SHPO approval.

LED is the option that was chosen for the retrofit. There are options as to the which application is best, that will support the lighting of the sign. Please let me know if you have any additional questions and I or staff can address.

Thank you,

Doug



Doug Kress
Development Services Director

City of Minneapolis – Community Planning and Economic Development
250 S. Fourth Street – Room 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Oddly enough, I did not ever "call" as mentioned above. Looks like their missing the others whom I know DID call. Guess they didn't reach the right people.

I can say one thing about this. This story sure did reach a LOT of people. I received a lot of phone calls and emails about this, including even some from a few LED manufacturers. That's good to see an industry come together and be on the same page.

This project/sign may seem to be a loss at first, but sometimes you have to take a punch in order to get one in. Awareness is growing, content for those who search seeking facts will be here and that information will be easier to come accross.

That is our job here on the SS, to restore "order" to the industry.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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  • 8 months later...
  • Board Patron

Ignoring the LED issue, at least it appears that this community isn't as anti-sign as a lot of other places. Maybe the tide is turning away from many places hating signs, be they lit with neon or otherwise.

"Charlene Roise, president of Hess Roise architectural consultants, said neon was once commonplace in the Twin Cities and other urban areas when it was the most effective way to draw attention to your business. Today, even as LED takes over, there’s a growing interest in the legacy and craft of neon. Roise said that a neon museum recently opened in Las Vegas, paying homage to what was once a ubiquitous feature of the urban landscape.

“It’s really important to stop the losses and fix them up so we have them around,” she said. “As we’re aware at this time of year, there is a lot of darkness — they can really take the chill out of a Minnesota night.”

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  • 9 months later...

A year and a half later and got wind of this update

http://www.minnpost.com/cityscape/2015/10/signs-time-why-we-spend-big-bucks-save-old-ads

What's interesting is that the historic Citgo sign is mentioned as some sort of success, don't know if they ever got wind that that sign had a initial massive failure form LED's and it had to get "re"Retrofitted again after that million+ already spent

http://www.thesignsyndicate.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4108-citgo-sign-in-kenmore-square-led-replaced/

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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