The Sunday Oregonian...............April 7, 1987

Light bulb has been burning since 1901

by James O. Clifford

A light bulb that lasts at least 10 years? Big deal. How about
one that's been burning since 1901?

Intersource Technologies of Sunnyvale created a news splash last
week when it unveiled its new E-lamp during a meeting of the
Edison Electric Institute, an association of utility companies.
Intersource said the bulb lasts between 10 and 14 years.

The people at the Livermore Fire Department's Station One were
not impressed. After all, a little bulb that's been burning not-
quite-brightly since the turn of the century put the firehouse in the
record books.

The Guinness Book of Records and Ripley's Believe It or Not both
list it as the oldest and longest-burning light bulb in the world.

With the exceptions of power failures and three moves between
stations, the bulb has been on since it was donated to the fire
department in 1901.

General Electric Co. determined that the bulb was manufactured by
the Shelby Electric Company and was hand blown with a carbide

GE says there is no great mystery to the bulb's longevity. The lower the wattage, the longer the filament last. The bulb puts out about as much light as the coils inside a toaster.

Barbara Fairhurst, spokeswoman for Intersouce Technologies, agreed
with GE's assessment and pointed out that the carbide filament also helps.

The real secret, she says, is that the light is always on "Turning a bulb off and on is what wears it down.

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