San Francisco Examiner....Aug. 22, 1983

Livermore stands by claim to
world's 'longest-living light bulb'

by Don Martinez

LIVERMORE - A coast-to-coast "battle of the bulb" is raging between this city's main Firehouse and a New York City businessman.

At issue is the tiny globe in Fire Station No. 1 that old-time Livermore residents claim has been burning since 1901.

The story of the municipal heirloom has been bounced off satellites to an international audience for years.

Livermore fire officials say bus loads of tourists from across the
country and Europe have pulled up to the station to view the faint but steady glow emanating from the bulb that, except for power outages and station remodeling has been shining for 82 years.

It even has the distinction of being listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's longest-living light bulb.

All the publicity attracted the attention of Jack Gasnick, a New York City mechanical engineer, who claims that a tiny bulb has been burning in his family business since 1912.

"And I've got documentation to prove it," he said in a telephone
interview from his Gasnick Building Supply Co. in Manhattan.


"My father started the business in 1912 and our bulb was turned
on shortly after he opened the door." Gasnick said.

It has been moved only once in 71 years, "from the front entrance
to the rear exit because people were beginning to play with it,"
Gasnick said.

Is he challenging Livermore's claim to fame?

"Fully so," said Gasnick, who has fired off terse letters to the
guinness people and to Livermore historians.

Gasnick has never seen the Livermore bulb up close, "just in
newspaper photos."

"But what bothers me about it is that there is no carbonization in
the bulb," he said. "If you have a light bulb at home for over
six months, you're not going to have a clear bulb . . . it's going
to be darkened inside."

Additionally, Gasnick has noticed that the Livermore bulb is
Screwed into a brass shell.

"If that thing has been burning for so long, how come I've seen
pictures of people holding the socket, which should be too hot to touch,"
he continued.

Claiming to be "suspicious and skeptical" of the East Bay bulb,
Gasnick said his inquiries have sparked a new investigation by the record book officials.


Meanwhile, Livermore natives are handling the assault on their
Civic pride and joy with casual amusement.

They have been through this before.

"These challenges come up periodically," mused retired
Livermore Fire Chief Jack Baird. "We had one from Ft. Worth,
Texas, a few years ago."

Baird and others are convinced that theirs is the oldest-living

Lending considerable credence to their contention is the word of
The daughter of the Livermore pioneer who gave the bulb to the
Fire department in 1901 when he sold a privately owned power
Company. She confirmed her father's civic gesture shortly
Before her death in 1980.

"I'm confident that criteria used by Guinness officials is
accurate and valid," Baird said. "We're sticking to our
guns on this one."

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