1Ediswan Bulb (1883)
It dates back to 1883, and first belonged to the late Florence Crook who once took it to school to dazzle her classmates. It was then passed down to her son Kenneth, in Morecambe, Lancs, and is still in use by his widow Beth.
The bulb was built with six internal filaments—which have all stood the test of time—and is one of the earliest products of the Ediswan factory which started production way back in 1881. Since then, it has only been turned on sporadically. (Source)
2The Centennial Bulb (1901)
But how does it keep on keeping, well, on? The approximately 116-year-old bulb has been burning for most of its existence, and there are a few theories as to why. It is of a slightly different design than the Edison bulb of its time, which may have helped contribute to its longevity. Also, the bulb has only rarely been turned off—every time a bulb is turned on and off, the filament cools and is reheated, thus stressing the metal itself and creating tiny cracks. With enough on and off action, the cracks become too much, the filament breaks, and the light goes out.
The City of Livermore and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department (where the Centennial Bulb is located) intend to keep the light on for you as long as it will last, and have no plans for what to do with the bulb when it eventually burns out. Until then, check the bulb out for yourself here. (Source)
3The Eternal Light (1908)
4Jack Gasnick's Supply Shop Bulb (1912)
Jack Gasnick's shattered dream. (Photo Source)
Gasnick's bulb was reportedly turned on in 1912, yet it received no accolades, no fame, no noble title, and ended its long life in obscurity. Gasnick, frustrated that his bulb was not winning the recognition that he felt that it deserved, sold his business, retired, and disappeared. The store, and the entire half-block on which it stood, was leveled in 2003 and we don't know if Gasnick took his bulb with him or it ended up shattered under the rubble. (Source 1 | Source 2)
5Mangum, Oklahoma Fire Department Light Bulb (1927)
The light has no power switch and runs from being hard wired directly into the electricity, so there's no turning it off. Numerous markings indicate it has stood the test of patience. "Some time ago, different firemen had painted black spots on it and stuff like that to dim the light so they could sleep at night," said Slaton.
The bulb itself shows no signs of quitting and has plenty of caretakers around that vow to keep it burning for future generations. "The only way you're going to turn it off is you unscrew it, and that's not allowed in my era," Slaton added. (Source)
6Fire Museum Bulb, York County, Pennsylvania (c.1903)
Dennis Kunkle, director of facilities for the York County History Center, can't say for certain how long the bulb has been operating, but since the building was built in 1903, it is possible that the bulb has been with it since day one. (The smoky coating inside the bulb indicates that it probably contains carbon filaments, which were replaced with tungsten in light bulbs after about 1920.)
The bulb was removed from the basement socket of the fire museum in April 2017 and added to the York County History Center collection. One question we'd love to know—is it still lit? (Source)
7The Martin & Newby Bulb (c. 1930)
The light lasted in the staff restroom in the back of the store for 70 years but existed without much fanfare as it was switched on and off as needed. One day, in 2001, it just stopped working. Brian Stopher, an electrical department manager who worked at Martin & Newby since 1952, believes that the reason it lasted as long as it did was because of its low wattage—it was only about 25 watts. (Source)
8Clifton's Cafeteria Neon Light (1935)
Andrew Meieran was renovating his eatery when he noticed light shining through a storeroom wall. Further inspection revealed a glowing neon light that had been paneled over in 1949 but never disconnected. It is estimated that the light has used up about $17,000 worth of electricity over the years. It continues to burn but is now on public display for patrons to enjoy.
The walls of the restaurant once featured numerous hand-tinted transparencies landscapes, each of which was backlit by a rectangular neon light. This one was installed in a window-like nook in a basement restroom, where it softly illuminated a woodland scene. (Source | Photo)