The Weinhard Hotel Sign Receives an Extreme Makeover!
In 1890, Jacob Weinhard constructed the Weinhard Hotel building to house the Weinhard Lodge Hall & Saloon. When the saloon opened, the newspaper called it “perhaps the finest in the State of Washington, and we doubt if there is anything of the kind to surpass it on the Pacific Coast”. The interior was covered with murals of scenes depicting the Northwest. The Weinhard Lodge Hall remained, but use was discontinued in 1963. When the Weinhard Hotel was created in 1994, the elements of the lodge hall were used throughout, thus retaining the architectural heritage of the building.
The approach to the new Weinhard sign was to respect the history and character of the building. The Weinhard sign uses classic neon applications, modern technology to enhance the look, increase the lifespan, and streamline the fabrication process. These kinds of signs are also known as hybrids. What makes it a hybrid is the retro neon paired with the up-to-date LEDs.
Back when neon signs were first introduced it was standard for the structure of the sign to be made almost entirely of steel and sheet metal. The new Weinhard neon sign is flip-flopped and made of 100% percent aluminum (other than the steel structural arms that are through-bolted deep into the brittle masonry building). The upper and lower cabinets are back-lit by LED lighting with digitally printed graphics.
As we move further down the path of digital signs and into a technological world you see less original neon and fewer forms of traditional marketing. There is a good reason for this advancement however, we are losing the art of nostalgic sign making. When we get the chance to work on a project like this we do our best to respect the integrity of signage heritage.
The Weinhard Hotel sign was made with authentic neon using similar if not the same methods of production as in the past. The type of neon used is called skeleton neon because it is exposed. This is how most early signs were constructed. Skeleton neon is the bare bones of neon. The tubing you see behind the neon is the skeleton frame of the neon sign. This project was truly a one-of-a-kind work of art experience for our design department, fabrication team, project managers, and install crew. More amazing sign projects like these to come!