Have you heard the story of the eternal Centennial light — the lamp that “resists death”? An unsolved mystery or an impeccable design?

What’s the Centennial light?

The light that “has never gone out” has hit headlines before, to the point where Guinness World Records have even recognised it as the world’s longest-burning light bulb. Lasting since it was first installed in June of 1901, the now 122-year-old bulb has an organisation in its name and its own devoted audience. No kidding — there’s a web camera where everyone can watch the lamp live 24/7.

How does the Centennial light work?

The Centennial light bulb is not other than a regular bulb of the time. The invention is accredited to Adolphe Chaillet, a French engineer, who filed a patent for this hand-blown, carbon-filament design. Its origins, though, have been found in Shelby, Ohio, where it was manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company in the late 1890s.

Is the Centennial light still burning?

It seems that the first owner of the bulb was Dennis Bernal, who also owned the Livermore Power and Water Company. After he sold the company, he donated the lamp to the local Fire Department. Since then, the bulb was moved to Station 1 in 1903, survived a renovation there in 1937, and finally, in 1976, was transferred to its present site in Fire Station 6 in California with a full police and fire truck escort.

And yes! The 122-year-old Centennial lamp is still burning all along.

Not without any pauses of course, but in every case, each pause was because of a human error or intervention — location change (22 minutes), renovation (7 days), failure of the UPS (9 ½ hours), or any power outage in earlier years — meaning that the bulb itself had never ‘burned out’ or ceased function.

Why has the Centennial light lasted so long?

It is a mystery how exactly it still works after all these years. However, it doesn’t have the same strength it once had. The initial 30 or 60 watt bulb is now very dim, emitting about the same light as a 4 watt nightlight. It was in 2013, after the failure of the UPS, that the light came back on full strength for a few hours.

Unlike the Centennial light, there is no mystery why the Class A LED light bulbs work for that long! Class A LEDs have a lifespan of 50,000 hours, making them the longest-lasting light bulb available on the market, while keeping their strength and brightness in full all the way.

In more detail, that is more than three times longer than regular LED lamps (15,000 hours), more than six times longer than CFLs (8,000 hours), and 25 and 50 times longer than Halogens and Incandescents respectively.

The design and their looks have also been improved. Their carbon footprint has dropped by 60%, as well as their energy consumption, making them the most cost-effective and energy-saving type of lamp yet. We have categorised them into both a 40W equivalent and 60W equivalent to help you find what you are looking for.

Have a look to decide what works best for you.

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