Every now and then you come across a story that really makes you sit up and take notice.
In the scheme of things, a simple light bulb makes little difference to the way our world unfolds.
Even so, it gives a person a feeling of peace and confidence, realizing that this little known bulb has been constantly and quietly lighting it’s world through two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, constant fighting in the Middle East and other places.And also, through the horrors, deaths and despair of the recent earthquakes in Haiti.
I’m glad I found out about this little globe of hope. I’d like to tell you it’s story, maybe you will then, feel as I do.
The world’s oldest light bulb has been burning for 109 years, so little wonder it has a fan club with thousands of members and its own website.
The so-called ‘Centennial Light’ has been on almost constantly since 1901.
It holds pride of place in Fire Station 6, in Livermore, Northern California.
The longest time the Guinness World Record holding bulb has ever been turned off is for just one week.
Dangling above the fire engines, people come from hundreds and thousands of miles away to see the diminutive symbol.
The bulb was designed by Adolphe Chailet, who competed with the likes of the world famous Thomas Edison to make the best bulb.
Despite his amazing design, Chailet was never as successful as Edison even though his bulb was proven to survive higher voltages.
Bulb protector Steve Bunn said the secret of the light’s success was down to good old fashioned engineering.
”The appeal of the light is worldwide, a few weeks ago I received a message from someone living in the Arctic Circle.
They said the little bulb was a beacon of light for the whole world, even in dark and lonely places, which was a humbling thought to me.”
Centennial Light facts and figures.
Age: 109 years and counting (as of 2010)
Installed: First installed at the fire department hose cart house in 1901.
Shortly after it moved to the main firehouse.
In 1903 it was moved to a new Fire Station and survived the renovation of the Firehouse in 1937, when it was off for about a week.
During it’s first 75 years it was connected directly to the 110 Volt city power, (subject to the power outages), and not to a backup generator for fear of a power surge.
In 1976 it was moved with a full police and fire truck escort, under the watch of Captain Kirby Slate, to its present site in 1976 at Fire Station 6, Livermore, California.
It was then hooked to a separate power source of 120V, with no interruptions since.
The light was donated to the Fire Department in 1901 by Dennis Bernal who owned the Livermore Power and Light Co.
Vital Statistics: The improved incandescent lamp, invented by Adolphe A. Chaillet, was made by the Shelby Electric Company.
It is a hand blown bulb with carbon filament. Approximate wattage, 4 watts. Left burning continuously in the firehouse as a night light over the fire trucks.
Recognition: Declared the oldest known working light bulb by Guinness Book of World Records.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not in 1972 researched it and declared it the oldest.
Declarations from the President of the U.S Congress, Senate, State Senate and Assembly, and Shelby Ohio.
In 2007 it was again recognized in Guinness, and Ripley’s books.
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 as what to do with the bulb, if or when it does burn out. Ripley’s has requested it for their museum.
Dan’s Quote:- “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” – Dalai Lama.’