7 Oldest Light Bulbs in The World

It’s a commonly held belief that in the past, the things people bought were built to last for long periods of time. Whether or not this is true, depends on who you ask, but most people can agree that the longevity of the light bulbs on this list seem to support this belief.

All of the light bulbs on this list have been burning for much longer than any modern bulbs, although no one really knows how or why these light bulbs have lasted so long.

Nearly every light bulb on this list dates back to the early 1900s, with one light bulb’s owner claiming that it was first turned on in the late 1800s.

7. Martin & Newby Light Bulb

Year Turned On:  c.1930
Current Age:  burned out in 2001 at 71 years old
Location: Ipswich, England

Martin & Newby Light Bulbphoto source: centennialbulb.org

The light bulb at the Martin & Newby Electrical Shop in Ipswich, England was one of the longest-lasting light bulbs until it burned out in 2001. The bulb never garnered too much attention until it died out and over the years, it never received special treatment as it was located in the staff bathroom and regularly turned on and off.

The light bulb’s exact age was unknown, but electricians, trying to shed light on its history, believe it dated as far back as far as the early 1930s.

Brian Stopher, electrical department manager, who had been working at the shop since 1952 before it closed in 2004, said that the bulb was definitely the oldest in the building.

6. “The Bulb”

Year Turned On:  c.1926 – 1929
Current Age:  Between 88 and 91 years old
Location: Mangum, Oklahoma, USA

The Bulbphoto source: centennialbulb.org

Unlike the other light bulbs on this list, the one located in a fire station in Magnum, Oklahoma doesn’t receive too much attention and its owners are happy to keep this treasure to themselves. The bulb, which has no official name and is just called “the bulb”, is about 90 years old.

No one knows the exact date when the bulb was installed, but guesses range between 1926 – 1929.

The light has no power switch and is hard wired directly into the station’s electricity. The station’s current fire chief says that they will continue to keep watch over the bulb while he’s in charge and make sure it doesn’t go out.

5. Gasnick Light Bulb

Year Turned On:  1912
Current Age:  unknown – bulb was 91 years old in 2003, the last time it was seen
Location: unknown – last located in New York City, USA

Gasnick Light Bulbphoto source: Pixnio

The story of Jack Gasnick’s light bulb begins in 1981, when he wrote to the famous Dear Abby advice column stating that the Centennial Light had burned out.

Gasnick wrote to Guinness World Records in 1983 claiming that the Centennial Light was a fraud and that his light bulb, which was reportedly turned on in 1912, was the oldest in the world. He said that he had evidence of his bulb’s age, but nothing ever came of his quest to unseat the Centennial Light.

No one knows what happened to Gasnick and his bulb as his store and the entire half-block it stood on was torn down in 2003.

4. Kongevognen Light Bulb

Year Turned On:  1908
Current Age:  109 years old
Location: Trøndelag, Norway

4. Kongevognen Light Bulb photo source: Wikipedia

(picture is of a similar train car from 1908; couldn’t find an exact picture of the light bulb or Kongevognen)

Although not much is known about the light bulb located in the “Kongevognen”(King’s wagon) from Thamshavnsbanen railway in Trøndelag, Norway, it is another early light bulb dating back to 1908.

The bulb is supposedly one of the original bulbs ordered by Christian Thams — a Norwegian architect, industrialist, businessman and diploma best known for constructing the first electric railroad in Norway — from the Edison factory in the United States for use in electric railcars.

Today, the wagon is housed in a museum and the light bulb is turned on a few times per week.

3. Eternal Light

Year Turned On:  1908
Current Age:  109 years old
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Eternal Light photo source: Atlas Obscura

The Eternal Light is currently 109 years old and was first turned on in September 21, 1908 by Barry Burke, a stage hand at the Byers Opera House. Before the Eternal Light lost the title in the 1970s to the Centennial Light, it was the oldest burning light bulb in the world according to Guinness World Records.

In 1977, when the building was slated for demolition, the light bulb was saved by George Dato who made sure that it never went out. In 1991, the Stockyards Museum acquired the bulb from Dato and encased it in protective glass.

Today, the Eternal Light stays on 24 hours a day and even has its own Facebook page.

2. Centennial Light

Year Turned On:  1901
Current Age:  116 years old
Location: Livermore, California, USA

Centennial Lightphoto source: Wikipedia

According to Guinness World Records, the Centennial Light is the world’s longest-lasting light. The light bulb was first turned on in 1901 and is currently 116 years old.

The Centennial Light’s official website provides evidence for its age and says that its age was verified by GE engineers. It was first installed in a fire department hose cart in and over the years has been moved to various fire stations.

In 1976, the bulb was moved to Fire Station 6 at 4550 East Ave., Livermore, California, which is where it still remains today.

In June 2015, the Centennial Light celebrated 1,000,000 hours of burning and the fire station threw a party for the local community.

1. Ediswan Light Bulb

Year Turned On:  1883
Current Age:  134 years old
Location: Heysham, England

Ediswan Light Bulb photo source: BBC News

Although the Ediswan light bulb owned by Beth Crook is relatively unknown, especially compared to the other long lasting bulbs on this list, Crook claims that it is the oldest still-working light bulb in the world.

The last time Crook was interviewed was in 2013 when she said that the bulb was 130 years old. According to Crook, the bulb dates back to 1883 and was first owned by Florence Crook and has been passed down in the Crook family over the years.

The light bulb was one of the first produced by the Ediswan factory, which was a collaboration between British physicist Sir Joseph Swan and American inventor Thomas Edison.


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