- Age: 110 years and counting
(as of June 2011)
- 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 in 1976 at Fire Station 6, 4550
East Ave., Livermore, California. It was then hooked to a seperate
power source at 120V according to Frank Maul, Retired City Electrician,
with no interuptions since.
- Proof of Longevity: From
local newspaper 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
at Annapolis follow this link.
- 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 it was again recognized
in Guinness and Ripley's
- 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.
Ripley's has requested it for their museum.
- 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 celebration
gallery for all the pictures.
Plans are now
in the works for the 110th birthday party on June 18, 2011.
Contact Info: For more
information about the bulb,contact the Webmaster Steve Bunn
at (510) 538-8207, or email CentennialBulb@hotmail.com
To contact the LPFD directly you may call them at (925) 454-2361.
(Information provided by Livermore Lightbulb
Centennial Committee 1/2011)