Skip to Main Content


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 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 as late as 1905.

"The Centennial Light," as it was named in 2001, hangs 15 feet above the fire trucks in Station #6 on East Avenue. It has outlasted three previous fire stations, as well as the company that made it (Shelby Electric) and the building that it was made in. Its original task -- enabling firefighters to see find hoses and ladders in the dark -- has long since been passed to younger bulbs. It emits a faint glow, equal to about three candles. A battery backup system ensures that it will never go out, even if the power does.

The bulb also has its own visitor's register, filled with well-wishes from fans who've traveled from as far away as Japan.

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 aglow.

Also see: Light Bulb Methuselahs

Longest Continuously Burning Light Bulb

Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Dept. Station 6

4550 East Ave., Livermore, CA
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.
Rodeo Muffler ManRodeo Muffler Man, Livermore, CA - 5 mi.
Conversations SculptureConversations Sculpture, Dublin, CA - 10 mi.
In the region:
Cable Car Museum, San Francisco, CA - 38 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

American Treasure Tour, Oaks, Pennsylvania (Jul 8-14, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings