This Light Bulb Has Been Burning Since 1901

People are making more of an effort to conserve energy these days, and ever since incandescent bulbs have been replaced with CFL, LED and halogen lighting our homes has become less wasteful.

But that doesn't mean all old bulbs are trash, because the carbon filament bulb made by French electrical engineer Adolphe A. Chaillet above has been burning since 1901- and it's still going strong.

They call it the Centennial Light, and it hangs in the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department's Station #6 where it has been shedding around 4 watts of light for well over a hundred years.

When the bulb reached 1 million hours of service they threw it a party to celebrate, and "bulb tourists" drop by the station all the time to stare at the bulb that would not die.

So what are the guys at the Livermore Fire Station planning to do if and when the Centennial Light dies?

While nothing is official yet, they want to have a full funeral procession through town, finishing at the historical society where the bulb will be displayed in a resting place of honor.

Murmurs of a replacement bulb also abound. A supposedly unused Shelby model just like the current centennial bulb has been acquired by a party who may be willing to part with it when the time comes.

Read This Light Bulb Has Been Burning Since 1901 here


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All true. Although the lack of power cycling leads to far less thermal stresses, too, and may be an important contributor to longevity in this case.
Today, you COULD make a rather efficient LED bulb that would likely last a century, but it would have to be designed to do so with highly durable electrical components, rather expensive, and not putting out much more light than this bulb due to elements running below their rated voltage, though still as efficient as any other LED. With the common/cheap kind warrantied to last a decade of normal household use, nobody is really interested in extending bulb longevity anymore. Those conspiracy theories have faded, and even gone the other way, as governments force the use of more efficient lighting technologies (halogen, CFLs & LEDs), and people claim crazy alterior motives.
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Light bulb lifetime drops really fast with higher filament temperature, but efficiency also goes up fast with temperature too as relatively less light is wasted on IR. Want a bulb to last a long time? Use a bulb below it's rated voltage, and get a rough service bulb if it is going to moved or be turned on and off a lot. But expect to spend more on the electricity than you would spend on bulbs. As electricity got more expensive, the sweet point between spending too much on electricity vs new bulbs meant making more efficient cheap bulbs that last shorter.
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