World’s Longest Burning Light Bulb is 116 Years Old

It’s a fact: the world’s longest burning light bulb is 116 years old, almost 117 years old if it makes it into 2018.

This incandescent light bulb, dubbed “The Centennial Light”, has made it in the Guinness Book of World Records, and has been verified by General Electric engineers. Let’s look further into where this light bulb is currently burning, it’s origin, and possible reasons why this light bulb from 1901 is still burning bright today.


The Longest Burning Light Bulb In The World 

The first installation of the Centennial Light took place in 1901 at a fire department hose cart house in Livermore, California. The man who donated the light bulb went by the name of Dennis Bernal, owner of the Livermore Power and Light Company.

It was then moved to the main fire house, and then moved again in 1903 to a new fire station. Fast forward 73 years later, the light bulb was moved for its fourth and final time in 1976 to its present location, Fire Station 6 on East Avenue in Livermore, California. This last move was even escorted by a full police force!

The Centennial Light was manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company in Shelby, Ohio. Designed by Adolphe Chaillet, this light bulb was an “improved” version of Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb. Starting at 60 watts, the longest burning light bulb has since dimmed down to its current 4 watts.

So from 1901 until today (2017), the Centennial Light was stationed in a fire house, and has been burning for over 1 million hours. To compare, your typical incandescent light bulb (which has since been phased out) is said to last only 1,000-2,000 hours. Your average LED light bulb can last up to 50,000 hours. 

How Can The World’s Longest Burning Light Bulb Still Be Working?

It’s definitely a mystery as to why the Centennial Light is still working 116 years later after installation. But it isn’t the only one that has been around for a long time.

The Guinness Book of World Records has the second world’s longest burning light bulb as the Palace Theater Light Bulb in Fort Worth, Texas, still burning since 1908 (making it 109 years old this year). Two others lasted in their early 90s, and another that burned out in 2001 lasted for 71 years.

But back to the question of how the Centennial Light is the longest burning light bulb around:

There are different theories, but no one really knows the true answer. In regards to the Centennial Light, some believe that it has an impeccable seal, maintaining its vacuum, which keeps the filament from aging. The Centennial Light also has been continuously on, never being turned on and off over its lifetime, (except for a few power outages, and its 4 times of relocation), claiming another theory for its amazing longevity.