- Age: 117 years (as of June 2018)
- Installed: First installed at the fire department
hose cart house on L Street in 1901. Shortly after it moved to
the main firehouse on Second. In 1903 it was moved to the new
Station 1 on First and McLeod, and survived the renovation of
the Firehouse in 1937, when it was off for about a week. During
its first 75 years it was connected directly to the 110 Volt
city power, (subject to the power outages), and not to the back-up
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 at Fire Station 6, 4550 East
Ave., Livermore, California. It was then hooked to a seperate
power source at 120V, and UPS according to Frank Maul, Retired
City Electrician. There was one interuption in May, 2013, when
the UPS failed and it was off for at least 9 1/2 hours. When
it was plugged back in it shined at 60
Watts for a few hours. It has since dimmed to its former
4 Watts. Why is still a mystery.
- Proof of Longevity: From
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: The improved
incandescent lamp, invented by Adolphe
A. Chaillet, was made by the Shelby
Electric Company. It is a handblown bulb with carbon filament.
Wattage- Began at 60 watts, currently shines at 4 watts. Left
burning continuously in firehouse as a nightlight over the fire
trucks. For some research test results on another Shelby bulb
go to Annapolis test and then
- 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. Declarations
from the President of the U.S., Congress, Senate, State Senate
and Assembly, and Shelby, Ohio. In 2007, and 2012, it was again
recognized in Guinness and Ripley's
books, and online 2014.
- Closest Competitors: The
Second longest bulb was listed in the 1970 Guinness Book
under the heading Most Durable says that "on 21 Sept 1908
a stagehand named Barry Burke at the Byers Opera House, Fort
Worth, Texas screwed in a new light bulb and that it was still
burning". The building was renamed the Palace Theatre, and
the light was known as the Palace Bulb
ever since. It now resides in the Stockyards Museum, and will
have been burning for 100 years Sept of 2008. A website is in
The Third, a bulb in a New York
City hardware store, Gasnick Supplies, had been working since
1912, but it is unknown if it still works today.
Fourth is known as "the
bulb" which like ours, burns in a firehouse in the town
of Mangum, Oklahoma. It has been in operation since around 1926,
has no special power conversions, and is turned on and off with
The Fifth 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.
info on these follow this link to Roadside America, or Wikipedia.
- 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.
A museum quality display of antique
bulbs, Fire Fighter items, and looping video related to the Bulb
are now in place.
- Visiting: You can visit the
bulb depending on the availability of the Firemen on hand. Go
to the rear of the station and ring the bell. If they are in
someone will answer the door. Otherwise you can see the bulb
if you look through the window up on the top of the wall to your
left. To contact them directly you may call the LPFD at (925)
- Celebration: We commemorated
its centennial on Friday, June 8, 2001 at the fire station. Please
see the 2001 celebration gallery for
all the pictures.
We commemorated its 110th birthday
on Saturday, June 18, 2011 at the fire station. Please see the
2011 celebration gallery for all the
We commemorated its 1 Millionth Hour
birthday on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the fire station. Please
see the 2015 celebration gallery
for all the pictures.
Contact Info: For more
information about the bulb, contact the Webmaster Steve Bunn
at (678) 696-5305, or email CentennialBulb@hotmail.com.
For press photos please contact Dick Jones by his e-mail
or look over the pictures at rjaerial.smugmug.com.
To contact the LPFD directly you may call them at (925) 454-2361.
(Information provided by Livermore
Lightbulb Centennial Committee 1/2015)