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The Light Bulbs That Have Lasted A Century - Retrolight

The Light Bulbs That Have Lasted A Century

There are many ways to achieve a retro look with vintage lights. One is to use modern lamps that use classic styling principles to look like the art-deco lamps of old, and the other main method is to purchase vintage incandescent light bulbs for a more authentic look.

With incandescent light bulbs being phased out, there have been many attempts to replicate the look of vintage bulbs with LED, which use less power and are renowned for their long lives.

However, with that said, LEDs have not lasted as long as some of the longest-lasting bulbs ever made, four of which have been almost constantly switched on for more than a century and in some cases outlived the buildings they were fitted to.

Here are the four bulbs that have lasted over 100 years.


Kongevognen Light Bulb (114 Years)

The King’s wagon of the Thamshavnsbanen railway in Trøndelag has a light bulb in it that has been fitted since 1908, and according to at least one source, was one of the original bulbs ordered by Christian Thams from the Edison factory to be used in his electric railcars.

Unlike many of the bulbs on this list, it is still fitted to its original housing in the wagon, although that wagon is now taking residence in a museum near to the old railway in Trøndelag, Norway.


The Eternal Light (113 Years)

Also known as the Palace Light Bulb due to its former home in Byers Opera House (later renamed to the Palace Theater in 1919), the light was installed by stagehand Barry Burke in 1908 and was at one point seen by Guinness World Records as the oldest burning light bulb in the world.

It actually would outlive the building it was fitted to, as George Dato saved the bulb from the demolition of the Palace Theater in 1977 and since 1991 it has kept a 24-hour vigil at Stockyards Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.


Centennial Light (121 Years)

The world’s longest-lasting light according to Guinness, the Livermore Centennial Light Bulb was fitted to several Fire Station buildings in Livermore, California before it found its forever home in 1975 at Fire Station 6.

In 2015 there was a celebration to mark the 1m hour milestone for the light burning, and whilst it has faded over the years it still shines to this day.


Ediswan Light Bulb (139 Years)

One of the first light bulbs produced at the Ediswan factory in Heysham, the oldest working light bulb in the world is far more obscure than others on the list and the last interviews of its owner, Beth Crook, were in 2013.

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