Rivers Neon begin in 1947 when David’s father, John Rivers, attended neon school in Chicago, Illinois.  He soon became one of the best glass benders in Middle Tennessee.  The beginning of his career was a humble one, bending neon in a smokehouse on his farm.  He later moved into an old converted buggy stall inside of a barn.  The working conditions were quite unfavorable as he bent glass during the hot summer months with several gas fires burning and without air conditioning.

John’s son, David, began his glass bending apprenticeship in 1984 at the tutelage of his father.  Soon thereafter, their neon production facility was upgraded to a 1500 square foot neon plant—complete with air conditioning!  Father and son worked side-by-side in a thriving business.  In 1992, John retired and passed the torch to his son. 

David Rivers is now a Master Glass Bender and a talented neon artist.  His neon is displayed throughout Tennessee as well as in other states.  He is commissioned by individual customers, businesses and by more than 30 other sign companies to bend neon. 

During the hayday of neon sign work, there were over 35 glass benders in the Middle Tennessee area.  Today, David is one of only 6 glass benders in the area.  His is a rare skill and talent.     

In October 2011, David was showcased on the show “Tennessee Crossroads”, which aired on the PBS station.  You can watch that episode HERE.   

Some of the Rivers Neon clientele include CMT (Country Music Television), Atlantic Records, Tennessee State Museum, Holiday Inn, Drury Inn, O’Charleys, Applebees, Shell, Sonic Drive-In, Hardees, McDonalds, Payless Shoe Source, Harris Teeter, Comdata, and Loveless Café.  Among his celebrity clientele are Brad Paisley, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell and Tracy Lawrence.

Whether David is working for an individual who wants a personal neon sign or a large company that wants to advertise their business, his customers are always thrilled to see their vision lit up in neon.  The highly anticipated moment when the switch is turned on produces oooohs and aaaahs of delight. 

Neon has been a part of the American culture for decades.  Vintage neon signs are a reminder of days gone by.  The next venture for Rivers Neon is the restoration and replication of vintage signs.  It is David’s ambition to keep the art form alive and thriving so that it can be enjoyed by future generations. 

9 Comments

  1. Jesse Frasure
    December 18, 2016

    Hi there,

    Do you do custom work? Do they always need to be mounted on acrylic

  2. Nima
    January 29, 2017

    Hello,

    My name is Nima & i’m 25 born & raised in Sweden.

    Since summer 2016 I’ve been getting more & more interest of neon artwork.
    In my mind it’s like “there is at least something made of neon for everyone”.

    The reason why i’m writing this mail is because becoming neon artist would mean for me that a dream came true.

    This is something i’d like to full time one day. Allthough i’ve got no clue nor done it before.

    Any advice/tips for someone who want to become neon artist?

    Best wishes,

    Nima Dehnadfar

  3. Saif parker
    February 17, 2017

    Hello Estimator and Purchasing Department,

    My name is Saif and I want to be your vendor .
    We can cut your projects on our Water jet, Cnc Router and Laser Machine.
    Cost depends on time it takes to cut your projects.
    We can sand blast, brush , polish , flame finish, powder coat and paint your projects too.
    Quick turnaround !!!!

    Saif Parker
    Vista Visual Group
    t: 631.532.5330 ext 104
    f : 631.532.5331
    http://www.vistavisualgroup.com

  4. David Vich
    May 15, 2017

    What do you charge for classes and how long will the class be?

  5. Ruby Guidara
    July 14, 2017

    David , please contact me asap. I have a sign project and really need your help! Thank you! Ruby from Nashville TV

  6. Ruby Guidara
    July 14, 2017

    Please call me 615)218-7962

  7. COSMAN NEON SINCE 1950
    July 17, 2017

    hello sadly LARRY COSMAN of COSMAN NEON has passed away know a master neon bender since 1950 , featured in youtube = a history of neon signs and a second documentary soon to be releasedmade for tv , i have worked with DAD since age of 15 , DAD, has a ma
    ssive inventory which i will be selling over 120 cases of neon glass 1000s of electrodes , unleaded and leaded , enough equitment for 20 benders some from 1930s and up EGL TURBO MAVI VAC 11 , WE HAVE ENOUGH MATERIALS TO MANYFACTURE OR RESTORE MANY VINTAGE NEON SIGNS HOUSINGS AROUND 800 GLASS AND PORCELAIN , EVEN VINTAGE TUBE SUPPORTS 6 AND 8 INCHES LONG HUGH LET ME KNOW IF INTERSTED THANK YOU JAMIE COSMAN cosman.neon@gmail.com

  8. Erik Rodriguez
    October 12, 2017

    I’m Interested in taking classes. Can you please provide me with more info

  9. Becca Lane
    October 31, 2017

    Hi, I’m looking to have a custom freestanding neon sign made by next week. Please let me know a good email to reach you at and a I can send over a photo of what we want replicated.

    Talk soon!

    Becca

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