At Fire Station 6, in Livermore, California, there burns a lightbulb that has survived several moves, varying voltage, and even earthquakes – and as of June 2012, it has been burning for over 112 years. In 1900, Adolphe A. Chailet and his company Shelby Electric Company, was a competitor of Thomas Edison and sought to create and sell a better lightbulb. In half of that regard he succeeded. The lightbulb was known to be nearly indestructible and to never burn out. Regardless, somehow the bulbs never caught on. According to ELights Magazine:
“The world’s oldest still-burning light bulb is not an anomaly of its kind; even when it was built back in 1900, the Shelby-style light bulb was remarkable. During a series of challenges, Chailet’s bulb proved to have the strongest filament, surviving increasing voltage levels while competitor light bulbs burned out. Not only did it survive, but it harnessed the voltage and just kept getting brighter!”
It is known as the Centennial Light and has burned all day and night for most of its 112 years of operation – it has been turned off for a grand total of only one week during station renovations in 1937. It is a handblown bulb with a carbon filament that began at 60 watts and now burns at 4 watts (it acts as a nightlight over the fire trucks). It was first installed at the fire department hose cart house on L Street in 1901 after being donated from Livermore Power and Light Co. Shortly thereafter the bulb moved to the main firehouse on Second. It 1903 it was moved to the new station 1, survived the renovation of the Firehouse in 1937, and in 1976 was moved (with full police and fire truck escort) to its present site at Fire Station 6 on East Ave in Livermore. It is currently hooked to a separate power source at 120V.