65-year-old bulb still shines, and outshines all

December 21st, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 21 (IANS) It withstood German air raids on London in the second world war. It defied the British police opposed to its presence. And it continues to survive, about to outlive the store it was brought from. This is the story of a light bulb, aged 65.The 40-watt bulb, which still works, now has the pride of place in a china cabinet at the home of Valerie Beaney, 68, whose late mother Rose Allen bought it from Woolworths in 1943.

Woolworths is now insolvent because of the credit crunch and all the shops of the British retail chain will close between coming Saturday and next January.

The bulb survived the bombing of London in the second world war. Rose and her husband Jack were then living in Waklthanstow in east London. Their building took bomb hits, but nothing happened to the bulb.

Defying British black-out rules, the bulb illumined the Allen’s bedroom. They were even fined for it, but the Allens never put it off. It was under its light that their younger daughter Elaine - sister of Vaierie - was born.

When Jack died 10 years ago, Rose moved to a house in Kent. The bulb went with her and was used in her spare bedroom.

When Rose died three years ago, aged 92, daughter Valerie, who lives nearby, decided to preserve the light bulb that has outlived Woolies, as Woolworths is fondly known.

She wrote to Woolworths, whose customer relations department told her they were “amazed” the bulb had lasted so long.

Valerie told Daily Mail: “The bulb my mother bought all those years ago still lights up, although I am very careful not to drop it on the rare occasions that I show it to people.

“Although I am very sad to see Woolworths go, at least the wonder of Woolies shines on through our little bulb.”

The world’s oldest working bulb is a carbon-filament lamp with a hand-blown glass bulb which was first switched on in the summer of 1901 in the hose-cart house of the fire department of Livermore, California, US.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the bulb manufactured by the Shelby Electric Company, is still lighting up.

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