TNB Night Owl – The Centennial Light(s)

Centennial Light, Fire Station #6, Livermore, California.

A light bulb in Livermore, California has burned for an unusually long time.  117 years, to be precise.

It’s a hand-blown incandescent bulb, located in a firehouse.  It was originally installed in 1901 and kept going constantly as a nightlight for firemen; as people realized the longevity of the thing, they became afraid to shut it off for fear of damaging it.

The bulb is locally famous and has even been shown on Mythbusters.  Which is understandable… it’s a bulb that lasted more than a century longer than your average light bulb… but ultimately not particularly exciting, beyond the novelty factor.

For proof, here’s the web site with the webcam.  It updates every thirty seconds.  Interesting at first, and then shortly devolving into “cool” before the viewer is inclined to go do something productive… (bulbcam)

Even the Mythbusters only got a minute or so of video out of it.

Oh, and a few years after this was filmed?  The light went out.

Fans of the odd throughout the world were aghast.  May 20, 2013.  The death of the Centennial Light… but reports of its death were premature.  An electrician called to the scene to verify the exact moment the light went out was surprised to discover that it wasn’t the bulb that had failed, but rather the UPS to which it had been connected.

Less than ten hours after it had been declared dead, it was alive again.

But, in the event that the bulb DOES eventually fail, there will be at least one more centennial light in existence.  The second-longest burning light bulb, the Palace Theater Light in Fort Worth, Texas, has been running since September, 1908.  And unlike the Livermore Firehouse light, it has a Facebook page where you can ask its caretaker questions.

Because every inanimate object needs its own Facebook page.

Question of the night: What’s your best power outage anecdote?


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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.