I simply can't help it; I am a sucker for neon signs. I just love their clear glowing lines, their curves and bends, their warm though discreet presence in the night. And I hate to see them go.

Since the invention of the long luminous gas-discharge tubes containing neon or other noble gases in the beginning of the 20th century, the faces of our cities have become lovelier and livelier than ever. But despite the retro-revival sentiment, neon signs are going extinct, thanks to all the new advertising technology, the super cheap led lights, illuminated 3D boxes, and the huge, billion coloured screens and displays.

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These images are an ode to beautiful neon signs, mostly from around the US where they were extremely popular from the 1920s to the 1960s. Share your own favourite neon signs, if you have any, in the comments below.

Speedee' McDonald's, the world's longest operating McDonald's fast food restaurant, Downey, California

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images


The iconic Vegas Vic, a 40-foot-tall neon sign built in 1951 on Fremont Street, downtown Las Vegas

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Sassy Sally, another iconic neon sign in Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Penguin beer pub, Budapest, Hungary

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Cinema Apollo, Debrecen, Hungary

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Budapest Puppet Theater, Budapest, Hungary

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Sauna, Debrecen, Hungary (dismantled)

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Espresso, Budapest, Hungary

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Hacienda Horse and Rider, historic neon sign, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Historic Vegas neon sign, Freemont Street, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Neons of Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Circus Circus Hotel and Casino neon sign, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Memphis Music neon sign, Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Old Motels and Historic Neon Art, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Neon sign for Mel's Drive-In and "celebrity bar" in Hollywood in Los Angeles

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Doc's Bar and Grill, Austin, Texas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Reno, Nevada

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Pappadeaux's fish restaurant neon sign, Houston, Texas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Holiday Motel, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Department of Utilities, Tuscumbia, Alabama

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Radio City Music Hall, New York City

Photo: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo


Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood, Los Angeles

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Rancho Super Car Wash, Rancho Mirage, California

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress


Tio Pepe, a Jerez wine, Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain

Photo: Carlos Muina/Cover/Getty Images


Walthamstow Greyhound Stadium, London

Photo: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images