Longest Burning Light Bulb in the World

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Longest Burning Light Bulb in the World - Centennial Bulb
Image from https://www.centennialbulb.org


I don’t know about you but if a light bulb in my house lasts for 2 years we celebrate. In contrast, there is a light bulb in California fire station that has been working since 1901. Making it the longest burning light bulb in the world.

Early days of the bulb

Dennis Bernal donated the bulb to the fire department in 1901. Bernal was a local businessman who owned the Livermore Power and Water Co. At this time the light bulb hung in a garage used by the local police and fire departments. Acting as a night light.

The Shelby Electric Company made the bulb. Tungsten filament bulbs were not invented until 1907. So the bulb has a carbide filament and was hand blown.

Certification as the longest burning light bulb in the world

The Guinness Book of World Records declared the bulb the oldest known working light bulb.

Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not also researched the bulb and declared it the oldest.

Current location of the light bulb and future plans

Finally, The bulb moved to its current location a little over 20 years ago. And now lives at Fire Station #6, 4550 East Ave., Livermore, CA. This is a working fire station so if you want to visit you need to make arrangements beforehand.

The light bulb has been in continuous operation. However, in 1976 the fire department intentionally disconnected it for 22 minutes. This was to allow for the relocation of the fire station.

Originally made to run at 60 watts it currently shines at 4 watts. Presently the Fire Department does not plan to move the bulb. Indeed they want to keep it burning as long as it can manage.

Final thoughts

In conclusion the Centennial Light is a shining example (excuse the pun) to quality American manufacturing. Also, the next time your parents tell you to turn off the light you can say you are trying to beat a world record.

There is an excellent web site all about the Centennial Light here. Lots more facts and pictures.