On June 18, the oldest-known working light bulb in the world will celebrate the 110th year it has burned bright. The bulb, which hangs idly about in a fire station in Livermore, California, holds the Guinness World Record.
However, it's not clear how this particular bulb has been glowing since it was installed in 1901. Lynn Owens, who is in charge of the light bulb centennial committee, says, "Nobody knows how it's possible. It is a 60-watt bulb and it's only turned on for about four watts, but nobody knows why it keeps burning… We've had scientists from all over the country look at this light bulb.”
Not that the bulb's shiny record is perfect. It has endured some initial glitches in 1901, a fraught week in 1937 and some random power outages all the way up to 1970s. Originally donated to the fire station, the bulb was actually designed by Adolphe Chaillet, who – get this – originally competed with Thomas Edison to make the best light bulb in town.
Now I'm not sure if Edison would be proud or rolling in his grave, but one thing's for sure: let's hope no one hits the power switch on the way out of the door on this bulb.