100 year light bulb?

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Today you'll find a remarkable light bulb burning bright at a fire station in Livermore, California. It hasn't been turned off since 1901.
True or false?

Answer: http://www.snopes.com/science/lightbulb.asp
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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I dont know Ivan. I tried finding it on the Guinness Book of World Records site but was unable to bring anything up in the search. I did find this at the Christian Science Monitor though:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2001/0921/p25s2-stin.html

This from the California Energy Commission:

http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/time_machine/centennial_lightbulb.html [Broken]

There were also some short write ups from NPR and USAToday that provided links to the www.centennialbulb.org site. Unfortunately I am unable to pull up that site.

Who knows, but apparently it is only a 4 watt bulb so maybe it does not have the same thermal stresses that most light bulbs undergo, so perhaps this one is true. I have heard of this legend as well but never gave it any thought. It seems to be true but then again..... :uhh:
 
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  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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I have a...clears throat...1976 Guinness book that mentions this light bulb.
There is some evidence that a carbide filament bulb burning in the Fire Department, Livermore, South Alameda County, California, has been burning since 1901.
 
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  • #4
SGT
Most light bulbs burn when turned on or off, due to transients (electric and thermal). A bulb that is continuously on is more likely to last longer, especially if it is a low power one.
 
  • #5
DaveC426913
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SGT said:
Most light bulbs burn when turned on or off, due to transients (electric and thermal). A bulb that is continuously on is more likely to last longer, especially if it is a low power one.
Yeah, right. So why do I replace the bulbs in my workroom every couple of weeks even though I leave them on all the time?
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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I know!!! :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: The quality of incandescent bulbs is in the pooper. I've also had bulbs and sockets that won't work together. I can't screw in the ****** lightbulbs!
 
  • #7
russ_watters
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If you want a light bulb that costs a buck, buy an incandescent - if you want one that lasts 20 years (and burns a quarter of the energy), buy a fluroescent.
 
  • #8
Gokul43201
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A few years ago (5-ish ?), people were doing backflips when Gallium Nitride based blue LEDs were developed. One of the suggested applications was in lightbulbs that would have lives of tens of years. I ever remember this being employed in traffic lights, somewhere in the UK. Anything come of this ?
 
  • #9
Evo
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The light bulbs in the chandelier in my foyer have been working for 13 years. These are some of the most used lights in the house being turned on and off every time someone leaves or enters the house or goes up and down the stairs.

Thank goodness because I will need a very high ladder to reach them if they need to be changed. :bugeye:
 
  • #10
hypnagogue
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Ivan Seeking said:
I know!!! :grumpy: :grumpy: :grumpy: The quality of incandescent bulbs is in the pooper.
I wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional on the part of the manufacturers, in order to get customers to buy the product more frequently.
 
  • #11
Ivan Seeking
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We have high efficiency lighting almost everywhere, but we use regular bulbs as heaters in outbuildings like the pump house. When we first bought this place, one bulb lasted all winter or even several winters. Now I'm lucky if they last a month. I don't know hynagogue; planned obsolescence, or maybe just increasing cheap manufacturing, or both.
 
  • #12
brewnog
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Gokul43201 said:
A few years ago (5-ish ?), people were doing backflips when Gallium Nitride based blue LEDs were developed. One of the suggested applications was in lightbulbs that would have lives of tens of years. I ever remember this being employed in traffic lights, somewhere in the UK. Anything come of this ?
As far as I know, we've had shedloads of LEDs in our red lights for years, just starting to see some green ones too (not sure about amber!).
 
  • #13
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hypnagogue said:
I wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional on the part of the manufacturers, in order to get customers to buy the product more frequently.
My friends and I have long speculated such a notion. It makes business sense, but this may also be due to the trend in the manufacturing industry as everything becomes more disposable. Or both. Another conspiracy theory to think about :biggrin:.

I wouldn't mind not having to change light bulbs ever again. All of the highly used lights in my home are fluorescent, the less-trafficked ones still are incandescent.
 
  • #14
russ_watters
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Gokul43201 said:
A few years ago (5-ish ?), people were doing backflips when Gallium Nitride based blue LEDs were developed. One of the suggested applications was in lightbulbs that would have lives of tens of years. I ever remember this being employed in traffic lights, somewhere in the UK. Anything come of this ?
I have a blue LED flashlight - the batteries last forever.
 
  • #15
DaveC426913
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hypnagogue said:
I wouldn't be surprised if this was intentional on the part of the manufacturers, in order to get customers to buy the product more frequently.
Sure, but I'd think all that would do is create a quality vacuum, providing an edge for competing products.

See, that kind of planned obsolescence is used in the automobile industry, but there are so few competitors (in the domestic market) that they can cooperate.

But nothing's stopping Joe-nobody from creating a long-lasting light bulb.
 
  • #16
russ_watters
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The thing people aren't getting here is that replacement cost of a lightbulb is absolutely trivial compared to the energy it uses. Its not even worth thinking about, much less complaining about. Really, you're complaining about convenience - that's not anywhere near the biggest concern when picking a light-bulb. But since we are....

Bulbs.com sells http://www.bulbs.com/products/product_detail.asp?page=products&inventory=11591 (for about $0.50 apiece (1,620 lumens, 750 hours). That's almost exactly one month of continuous usage at 50 cents a month to replace. Absolutely trivial. The energy it uses in that month, however (at 12.5 cents per kWh) costs you $935!!

The http://www.bulbs.com/products/product_detail.asp?page=products&inventory=8002 (a relatively expensive CF) goes for $12 (1,750 lumens, 25w, 10,000hr). That's about 13.5 months of usage, or about 89 cents a month if used continuously. Energy used per month of operation: $233.

Now even in a business employing a couple of hundred people, where a 750 hour life could mean changing 1 or 2 lamps a day, clearly, lamp life (cost of the lamp+cost of 10 minutes for the janitor to replace the lamp) is trivial compared to the cost of the energy it uses: even if you reverse the lifespans of fluorescents and incandescents, businesses would still use the one that used less energy! And for a home, where the reality is changing 1 lamp every month or so, its also a trivial consideration (Evo's chandelier notwithstanding).

Keep your eye on the ball, people!!
 
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  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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russ_watters said:
Bulbs.com sells http://www.bulbs.com/products/product_detail.asp?page=products&inventory=11591 (for about $0.50 apiece (1,620 lumens, 750 hours). That's almost exactly one month of continuous usage at 50 cents a month to replace. Absolutely trivial. The energy it uses in that month, however (at 12.5 cents per kWh) costs you $935!!

$9.35

The http://www.bulbs.com/products/product_detail.asp?page=products&inventory=8002 (a relatively expensive CF) goes for $12 (1,750 lumens, 25w, 10,000hr). That's about 13.5 months of usage, or about 89 cents a month if used continuously. Energy used per month of operation: $233.
$2.34

Keep your eye on the ball, people!!
:biggrin:
 
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  • #18
Ivan Seeking
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Who wasn't getting it? I'm confused.
 

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