Lightbulb.

Longest Continuously Burning Light Bulb

Field review by the editors.

Livermore, California

In the scorched Earth battle of ancient light bulbs, it's tough to vanquish the seemingly immortal, continuously lit bulb in Livermore, California. It hangs in a fire station. In 1973 it was named by Guinness World Records as the the humanity's oldest known working light bulb -- and it has remained so ever since.

Exactly how old the bulb is, no one knows. Its most passionate supporter, the daughter of the man who gave it to the fire station, claimed that it was turned on in the summer of 1901 (Livermore arbitrarily celebrates its birthday every June 8). The lamp also might have been turned on in 1902, or possibly even as late as 1905.

"The Centennial Light," as it's now known, hangs 15 feet above the fire trucks in Station #6 on East Avenue. It has outlasted three previous fire stations, though its original task -- enabling firefighters to see the equipment at night -- has long since been passed to younger bulbs. It emits a faint glow, equal to about three candles, and it has almost never been turned off (barring the power utility's public safety shutdowns for wildfire danger, which logically should skip cutting off fire stations).

In 2001, for the bulb's 100th birthday, Sandia National Laboratories -- a nearby nuclear bomb lab -- donated equipment and server space to create "BulbCam." The tiny camera, mounted next to the bulb, continues to provide a window for the world to see, every ten seconds, that Livermore's claim to fame is still in force.

Also see: Light Bulb Methuselahs

Longest Continuously Burning Light Bulb

Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Dept. Station 6

Address:
4550 East Ave., Livermore, CA
Directions:
East side of downtown. I-580 exit south on Vasco Rd. After about 1.5 miles, turn west on East Ave. The bulb is about a mile on the right, at Fire Station #6, just west of Loyola Way.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Monument to a Futuristic AirshipMonument to a Futuristic Airship, Livermore, CA - 4 mi.
Muffler Man - Rodeo SeasonMuffler Man - Rodeo Season, Livermore, CA - 6 mi.
Bosco the Dog MayorBosco the Dog Mayor, Sunol, CA - 10 mi.
In the region:
Pile of Bowling Balls, San Jose, CA - 29 mi.

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