The four watt bulb, installed in a fire station in Livermore, California, has been declared the oldest known working light bulb by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The bulb was a gift from a businessman in 1901 and with the exception of a brief period in 1903, a week in 1937 and some power outages between then and 1976, the light has remained on.
Lynn Owens, the chairman of the town’s light bulb centennial committee, said that the light’s longevity has baffled scientists.
He said: “Nobody knows how it’s possible. It is a 60 watt bulb and it’s only turned on for about four watts but nobody knows why it keeps burning.
“We’ve had scientists from all over the country look at this light bulb. Of course nobody has ever been able to touch this it,” he added.
The bulb has become a major tourist draw for Livermore and a celebrity in its own right. Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report did a comic feature for the bulb’s 110th birthday.
The conspiracy theory I’ve heard is that this bulb has a filament that all lightbulbs could and should have, but the want us to keep buying new bulbs so ours are designed to purposefully fail over time. Did Edison invent an eternal lightbulb?
Thomas Edison designed a bulb that was supposed to last forever, called the Eternal Light, and turned it on on October 22, 1929. The bulb is located in the Memorial Tower at the Edison Memorial Museum in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The tower fell down in 1937, but the bulb’s power was supposedly uninterrupted, according to General Electric, and continued to burn while a second tower was constructed. According to museum curator Jack Stanley, the bulb is fake, consisting of a hollow bulb illuminated by a series of automobile headlights mounted in the display’s base.