The oldest illuminated sign in Sweden – and probably one of the oldest illuminated signs in the world period – is Stockholm’s Stomatol toothpaste sign.
Created and erected in 1909, the sign has undergone numerous renovations, switch-offs, and moves over the years, but it has withstood the test of time and has dazzled Stockholmers for over a century. It also continues to carry out its primary function: To advertise the Stomatol brand of toothpaste.
In the early 1930s, the sign was converted into a neon sign and was moved to its present location at Klevgränd 1B in 1933. It was switched off during several periods: Through both World Wars, from 1963-1972 after all homes and buildings in the Klevgränd district switched to AC electrical currents (and the sign required a little maintenance and renovation), and from 1981-1986 when the sign stopped working and required more renovation….as well as the funding for the renovation.
In 1985, good news came for the sign. The Stomatol brand was purchased by Cederroth that year and they happily funded the sign’s renovation and restoration. The sign has stayed on since late 1986 and has become a treasured part of Stockholm since then.
The Stomatol sign has been featured in a number of (mainly) Swedish movies and TV shows! It has also been designated a cultural heritage property by the Swedish government.
- https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomatolskylten (Entry on the Stomatol sign at the Swedish Wikipedia. Includes a video of the sign in action as well as a ton of additional info about the sign.)
- http://www.avblixten.info/e/esnas31sap751uzx.html (Swedish language webpage about the neon signs of Sweden.)
(Image copyright: Holger.Ellgaard. Used via Wikimedia Commons per CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)