Bulb Still Burning After 100-Plus Years as GE Brings Business Back to US

ABC News

Livermore, California, is home to what residents say is the world's longest-burning light bulb.

Made by the Shelby Electric Co. of Ohio, it's been shining bright, without a flicker, at the town's firehouse since 1901.

"It just keeps hanging on," said Dick Jones, a member of the Livermore Centennial Light Bulb Committee. "Everybody loves the bulb."

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent light bulb, would be proud.

The bulb is 3 inches long and made of hand-blown glass and carbon filament. Firefighters said that it's about 60 watts and that scientists around the world remained puzzled by it.

Jones said the firehouse even runs a webcam so enthusiasts can watch the light bulb.

"We run it 24 hours a day," he said. "Anybody in the world can get on the website, go there and see the bulb. … We don't dust it. We don't wash it. We have a lot of people think we change it out at night."

And Edison would also light up at this news: Across the country, from the firehouse, the lights are back on in three GE plants - from Matoon, Illinois, to Circleville, Ohio - with new bulbs rolling off the belt.

In 2010, GE closed its last U.S. factory producing plain, old incandescent light bulbs. New energy standards had phased out the old bulbs, forcing Americans to switch to compact fluorescent and other bulbs. At the time, GE sent production overseas.

GE, though, has invested tens of millions of dollars in new technology to create brand-new, state-of-the-art halogen light bulbs that look like its old ones and are now made in the US. Just a month ago, they had been made in China.

They're 28 percent more energy efficient, save American families about $80 a year and have led to the hiring of 100 new US workers.

Ruth Meyers, who worked at GE for 21 years, said the light bulbs were a source of pride for her and her family.

"I go into a store and I look up and say, 'Hey, there's our GE light bulbs up there,'" she said.

Click here to watch the Livermore light bulb shine.