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100 year old Light Bulb

Posted By: sparky66wv

100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 03:26 AM

Go to This Page about a 100 year old bulb that has burned more or less continuously since 1901...

How is this possible?

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 06-08-2001).]
Posted By: Bill Addiss

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 03:47 AM


I came across this Antique Bulb Collectors' site awhile back but haven't had the chance to delve into it yet. Maybe you'll find an answer in there somewhere.

Posted By: Redsy

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 12:44 PM

There is a dining room chandelier in Thomas Edisons home in which all of the bulbs have been burning 10 hrs. a day since around 1920. Evidently the technology exists for much longer life bulbs, but that is not good for the sales dept..
Posted By: golf junkie

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 04:21 PM

How is this possible?

Conjecture here.....
Heavy lamp filaments with good support.
Low operating temperatures.
Low power....(says 4w, right?)

Probably doesn't produce the nice white light that we expect from a lamp.

Posted By: Scott35

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 08:15 PM

I had heard the News on Friday Afternoon mentioning this - At a Fire Station, there is this 4 watt Incandescent Lamp which has been active 24/7 for 100 years. Only heard the story in passing [as in I was passing by the TV set while the story was "briefed" - the little bite of stories right before the commercial breaks - kind of the "Bumper Stories"???].

My thought was the lamp is like a 230 volt lamp, running at 120 VAC, which would make it's life expectancy virtually infinite - until being knocked by the passing Fire Fighter and such!

Like GJ said, it wouldn't produce the brilliant white light that is familiar to an Incandescent lamp, but instead would produce a really deep orange light output. In all fairness, this is considered light output, so the lamp has a valid claim - 100 years of life.

Scott SET
Posted By: sparky

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/09/01 11:09 PM

This bulb violates the planned obsolesence incoropated by every supplier on the planet who , given it's address ,would most likely have a hand in a 'drive-by-shorting'

[Linked Image]
Posted By: electure

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/10/01 12:03 AM

Good humor there, but Livermore, CA is a low-crime area with a median income of >$75,000 yr. There aren't drive by shootings there.
Posted By: gpowellpec

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/10/01 02:05 AM

I read an article about this bulb in a motorcycle magazine in 1972 or 3. The article was about the ride there. It did give some history of the bulb and if I remember correctly said the voltage was reduced to about half when the owners realized it was the Oldest Living Light Bulb. I believe that the Oldest Living Light Bulb was the title of the article.
Isn't manufacturing a bulb to a higher voltage rating than labelled used for what is called Long Life lamps?
Posted By: Scott35

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/10/01 03:17 AM

Mr. Powell,

Yes, that's the typical method I have seen with the long life type A Incandescent lamps - rating of 130 VAC stamped right on top.

Even had a Telemarketer make a very bold statement that they are rated for 130 VAC operation, and due to this the lamp will have an orange color to it. This person actually was truthful about some areas of the pitch!!

This certain one got my attention, instead of the normal ones where I just hang up, because the opening pitch was long life "Bulbs".
Even though I never planned to make a purchase [sure got that salesperson pissed at me when I dropped that bombshell!!], the thought of pushing long life Incandescent lamps caught my attention - so I acted like I was "Baited" - went as far as acting like I had no idea about Electrical tech or terminologies [until the end].

So it turned out they were going to try and sell me 130 watt A17 60 watt lamps for around $5.00 each +S&H - which is more than I would pay at the home centers [around $3.50 each, no S&H but fuel to drive there - might work out the same in the long run].

Kind of threw the person for a loop when I blerted that out, after their 5+ minute speech about how cool these lamps are and that they do everything - including the laundry [joke], but the worst was when I said no thank you! some quick swear words were heard before the line dropped!!

So much for that story!! [Linked Image]

Now I have seen heavy duty "A" type Incandescent lamps, which are used for Locomotives, and they are really built for the abuse! Supports for the fillament on at least 4, maybe 5 places, plus very thick filaments. Voltage was as I remember 75 VAC, and I think the nominal Aux. lighting voltage is like 63 VAC - I'll have to check.
The inert gas might have been Krypton, or just clean Argon - not sure on this.

Those lamps were the only long life and heavy duty ones I have ever really seen!!

Anyone else have a similar story???

Scott SET

P.S. - Steve: Love the term "Drive-By Shorting"!!! LMAO-ROTF-LOL!!!
Posted By: electure

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/10/01 11:54 AM

For use in exit fixtures, we regularly replace the 15T6 incandescent lamps with lamps rated at 145 volts (and explain to the customer that for the price of 1 service call they could buy an LED exit fixture, and be done with it)
Posted By: Kilokat7

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/13/01 01:14 AM

Originally posted by sparky66wv:
[B]Go to This Page about a 100 year old bulb that has burned more or less continuously since 1901...

Hello everyone,

Although I'm not in the electrical field I do have a strong interest in researching electrical lighting history. I heard my site mentioned above so I thought I'd jump in here. I agree with the reasons mentioned above about how and why this bulb has lasted this long. So instead of eating up more space I'll just pass a link on that you may be interested in. It seems this bulb has it's very own website and quite a fan club if you read the guestbook [Linked Image]

Regards from
Posted By: Bill Addiss

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/13/01 02:16 AM


Thanks for stopping by and sharing that with us. My Compliments on your interesting content and resource links. I put your site on my "Must Read" list as soon as I saw it. I hope that you'll come back and share with us again!


[Linked Image]
Posted By: sparky

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/14/01 12:17 AM

well this is something!

there is a bulb with it's own web site !
not a bulb manufacturer,
but a singular bulb!

[Linked Image]
Posted By: doc

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/14/01 01:55 AM

ok i'm going back 30 years or so here but i can remember a salesman coming along and selling my folks these little round green ceramic like pieces that went in the light fixture and then u screwed the bulb in.These gizmos were to make the lights burn for like ten to fifteen years or something like that they may have had to buy some special bulbs from ythis guy also i'm not sure,but some of the lights did last a long time and thinking back it seems the lights were kinda dim anyone remember these
Posted By: sparky66wv

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/14/01 05:13 AM


I remember these disc shaped things that rectified the power to DC and claimed longer life for bulbs. They were about 3mm thick and were sized for an Edison base, the ones I remember were blue, if that matters...

I think it was Popular Mechanics that I saw them in...
Posted By: gpowellpec

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/14/01 05:04 PM

The disc shaped things were diodes. The cut off one half of the sine wave. You were getting half the power so the bulbs would be dimmer, create less heat and last longer. Also there was less amplitude in the vibration of the filiament, which also aided in longevity.
Posted By: Bill Addiss

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 06/15/01 11:09 PM

I've been in communication with members of the Livermore Heritage Guild and hopefully some more technical information will be coming.

So far the persons I've corresponded with are not aware of any special power source, only that a backup has existed for many years.

I forgot to say the filament is different.... I have heard both Carbon and Carbide used. It looks like it is quite heavy when the light is on... actually it is quite fine.

Posted By: Bill Addiss

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 08/17/19 03:44 PM

I wouldn't normally raise a thread this old, but apparently this Bulb is still going strong after 118 years!

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You can see larger images Here:

more info:

Posted By: HotLine1

Re: 100 year old Light Bulb - 08/20/19 05:26 PM

OK, a old thread reseructed!! Darn, I saw names of members that have not been around in a while! Guess I should start looking at the dates of the posts.....smiley sad face....
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