Tasmanian Times



IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that one of the world’s strangest tourist attractions is a simple electric light bulb in a California fire station – because it was first switched on in June 1901, and is still burning today, nearly 113 years later.

Firemen at the Livermore Fire Department’s Station 6 on the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay area welcome visitors to view and photograph the 24hr “night light,” even having a sign saying that if the front door is closed, to go around the back and bang on the door there to get their attention.

And the local City Council has installed CCTV to monitor the light, that’s been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not and even in a citation from the President of the USA as the world’s oldest-known working light bulb.

The bulb was installed in the original Livermore Fire Hose Cart-house in 1901, briefly switched off when that station moved to another site in 1903, and turned off for a week during renovations in 1937. It was moved to its current location in 1976 and has only been off once since – when power to the station failed for 9.5hrs in May last year.

Its authenticity has been verified from newspaper records and by engineers from the General Electric Company.

David Ellis, ellispr@bigpond.net.au

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