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A LIGHT THAT LASTS


Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879. Twenty-two years later, in 1901, one of the newfangled gadgets was hung and turned on in the Livermore, Calif., Fire Department. It’s still there, and still on. The old bulb has almost never been turned off in 109 years.

By today’s standards it should have burned out 852 times by now. The bulb, hand-blown, with a thick carbon filament, was made, it is said, by the Shelby Electric Company, which did not become one of the giants of the nation, for an obvious reason. The Shelby Company made light bulbs to last, and nobody ever reordered.


The bulb is accorded an awesome respect by Fire Captain Kirby Slate and his men. In a time of planted and planned obsolescence, when gadgets are forever falling apart or burning out or breaking up, it’s reassuring to watch a dusty 109-year-old light bulb shine on and on and on.


His promises are never failing.


(From a sermon by Ralph Andrus, How to Dwell Securely, 8/26/2010)

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