The blue flame glows as Ryan Eastlyn holds a glass tube in the ribbon fire, softening it enough to bend into the shape of a “G” outlined on paper on the table in front of him. This will be the first letter of the word “George,” intended to illuminate the entry of Scott Evans’ new downtown restaurant (a replacement for Finca). The Brimley family has been fashioning neon signs for four generations—Ryan’s father-in-law, David Brimley, watches as Eastlyn works.
You’ve seen Brimley’s work at Temple Inn, Beer Bar, Bar-X and Bodega, to name a few. “There’s a resurgence in neon right now,” says David. His daughter Emily runs the shop while husband Eastlyn makes the art. Crafting neon signs involves lots of handiwork, although neon is a symbol of modernity and urbanism and a signature of mid-century modern design.
“Just think of Route 66,” David says. Neon signs were invented in France at the end of the 19th century—they’re a mixture of gas, glass and electricity. “You can think of them as the aurora borealis in a tube,” says Brimley. 1177 S. 300 West, SLC, 801-466-1761. antiqueneon.com
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