World’s longest-lasting lightbulb continues to illuminate for 122 years
The Centennial Light, located at a fire station in Livermore, California, has been continuously illuminating since 1901, earning it the title of the world’s longest-lasting lightbulb.
The 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) masterpiece that was handcrafted by Adolphe Chaillet, the founder of Shelby Electric Company in the 1890s, has provided light for over a century with very few breaks.
The incandescent lamp has since earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-lasting lightbulb and can be observed in a live stream thanks to cameras installed on-site at the fire station.
Remarkably, its snaking filament has gone dark only twice in its 122 years. The first was in 1976, when the fire station moved to a new location, causing a temporary outage.
The second time was on the evening of May 20, 2013, when it stopped working for a short period. However, upon investigation the following day, it was revealed that the cause of this momentary pause was not the bulb itself but rather a minor glitch in the power supply.
Deborah Katz, a scientist who conducted extensive research on the bulb in 2008-2009, found that the filament inside the bulb, likely made of carbon, is eight times thicker than those in modern-day bulbs and possesses a semi-conductive structure.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Tom Bramell, a retired deputy fire chief who has been caring for the bulb for nearly half a century, she explained that it was donated to the fire department in 1901 by Dennis Bernal, the owner of Livermore Power and Water.
“In 1976, we moved that light bulb to the new fire station, which at that time was the new headquarters and that’s where it’s residing and has remained there since 1976. This is only a 60-watt light bulb,” Bramell said, adding that it put out just 4 watts of light.
Though he retired two decades ago, Bramell continues to share his knowledge and passion for the bulb.
“I’ve been around the light bulb for 50 years, and I have talked to people from all over the world. “No one’s been able to figure that (the lightbulb) out yet,” he said.