|Age: 100 years and counting (as of 2001) |
Installed: First installed at the fire department hose cart house in 1901. Then moved to fire station at First and McLeod, then to its present site in 1976 at the fire station, 4550 East Ave., Livermore, California
Proof of Longevity: From local newspaper records; also GE engineers researched it. Was donated to the Fire Department in 1901 by Dennis Bernal who owned the Livermore Power and Light Co.
Vital Statistics: Made by the Shelby Electric Company, a handblown bulb with carbon filament. Approximate wattage-4 watts. Left burning continuously in firehouse as a nightlight over the fire trucks.
Recognition: Declared the oldest known working lightbulb by Guinness Book of World Records. Ripley's Believe-It-or-Not in 1972 researched it and declared it the oldest. Charles Kurault of the TV program "On the Road with Charles Kurault" visited the bulb in the 1970s and included it in his book as well.
Closest Competitors: A bulb in a New York City hardware store had been working since 1912, but it is unknown if it still works today. Another bulb listed in the 1970 Guinness Book under the heading Most Durable says that "on 21 Sept 1908 a stagehand called Barry Burke at the Byers Opera House, Fort Worth, Texas screwed in a new light bulb and that it was still burning". The third was a bulb in a washroom at the Martin & Newby Electrical Shop in Ipswich, England was dated from 1930 and burned out in January 2001.
Future Plans: The City of Livermore and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department intend to keep the bulb burning as long as it will. They have no plans at present what to do with the bulb if or when it does burn out. Ripley's has requested it for their museum.
Visiting: You can visit the bulb during normal office hours Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 p.m. at Fire Station #6, 4550 East Ave., Livermore, California. During the weekends, or evenings, is dependent on the availability of the Firemen on hand.
Celebration: We commemorated its centennial on Friday, June 8, 2001 at the fire station. The celebration was from 5 to 8 p.m. A community BBQ began at 5 p.m. with a program planned for 6 to 6:30 p.m. Three bands provided a variety of music, ranging from 1900 era, 1950s music, and a contemporary rock music group. Tickets were $3 for adults and $1 for children under 12. A webpage about the festivities is being developed..