For nearly twenty years, the Betabrite Sign has been one of the mainstays of digital LED signage. You've undoubtedly seen this classic in convenience stores, restaurants, hair salons, bars, or any number of other venues. Its combination of low operating costs and high versatility has made it a mainstay of small business messaging.
Of course, Betabrite Signs couldn't exist if not for Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) the light bulbs that make these signs possible. In fact, despite being seen as a relatively “new” form of signage, LED lights have a long history, building towards the Betabrite Sign.
The Beginnings of LEDs
The LED light came about thanks to experiments into electroluminescence in the early days of the 20th Century. Even then, plenty of researchers and inventors were aware with the problems in filament light bulbs – namely, the filament - and were working on ways to make better light bulbs. Electroluminescence was an especially promising field since it centers on materials that naturally glow when electricity is passed through them, rather than relying on heat to produce light.
The first actual LED light was reported to have been made in Russia in 1927, but little was done with the discovery at the time. In fact, it wouldn't be until 1962 that someone interested in the research created the first LED light as we know it. Then, in 1976, new methods were found that allowed for high-efficiency LEDs that were significantly brighter than any that came before, opening the field up.
In their early days, LED lights were used primarily for lighting in places where regular lights were impractical, such as in darkrooms or in airplanes. It was also the technology of choice for early pocket calculators. Then, in the 1980s, LEDs transitioned from being used in electronics (except as indicators) and moved towards being used in signs, which has become their main use today.
History of the Betabrite Sign
The original Betabrite display brought affordable LED messaging to businesses everywhere when it was introduced. With one of these, companies could suddenly speak to their customers in entirely new ways.
Betabrite signs were soon seen everywhere, engaging customers by:
- Advertising specials
- Showing “now serving” numbers.
- Running live stocks and sports scores.
- Telling jokes.
- Serving up company announcements.
- Promoting sales.
- And more!
The Betabrite Classic sign was followed by the Betabrite Director, which stacked several signs on top of each other to create a lobby sign. The Betabrite Director eventually became the Alpha Director, but the Betabrite line was bolstered with the introduction of the Betabrite Prism sign. Expanding on the original palette of 8 colors, the Betabrite Prism sign is capable of displaying 64 colors.
From dentist's offices to car shops, and from restaurants to veterinary clinics, Betabrite signs have become a standard tool for businesses looking to communicate most effectively with their customers.