How Many Years Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb When It Is The World’s Largest Lightbulb?



This is what the world’s largest light bulb is supposed to look like.

As of July, 2013, this is what it looks like:


The tower is located next to the Edison Museum, and in Menlo Park.  It was built in 1937.  According to the Menlo Park Museum website, the Tower has deteriorated to the point where the concrete is crumbling, exposing the corroded reinforcing rods in its walls. It has been closed to the public for years and a chain link fence keeps would-be visitors at a distance to protect them from falling masonry. Preservation New Jersey has named it one of the state’s top endangered sites.

Thomas Edison was an unknown young inventor when he moved his experimental facilities to the tiny village of Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876. Then, in a six-year burst of astonishing creativity, he patented approximately 400 inventions, including the phonograph and devices for electric light and power generation, and he revolutionized the process of invention itself. Known around the world as the Wizard of Menlo Park, Edison made himself and Menlo Park famous, and to this day, both names are synonymous with the spirit of invention.


The Tower, which rises 117′ 8″ above the Terrace, is topped by a 13′ 8″ high monumental Bulb of Pyrex glass segments. The Terrace is set about 3′ 6″ above site grade, given a total height of 134′ 10″ above site grade. The Tower interior contains four levels:


  • Eternal Light Level, at Terrace grade, approximately 12′ 2″ high, containing the Eternal Light Room and a utility room
  • Amplifier Room Level, 9′ 4″ high, containing electrical equipment for the sound system, including speakers
  • Intermediate Level, extending 67′ high
  • Loudspeaker Room Level, at the loudspeaker grilles, 16′ 11″ high containing speakers
  • Access Room, a 9′ 9″ high compartment below the Bulb


Construction of the Tower continued from May 17, 1937, through February 10, 1938, and it was dedicated on February 11, 1938. The Tower was presented as a gift of William Slocum Barstow to the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Incorporated on behalf of the Edison Pioneers.


The Edison Memorial Tower was constructed at a total cost of $134,200.02, excluding the electric organ and loudspeakers. The largest single expense was the mosaic concrete panels.


The Edison Memorial Tower was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1979. The site possesses historical and cultural significance for the events that took place there; the Tower itself possesses architectural significance for its stylistic expression, construction techniques, and use of architectural concrete. The Tower possess cultural significance as a monument, not as a government-sponsored monument to a battle or political hero, but as a privately financed monument to a man of science. The Edison Memorial Tower is symbol of the greatness that the public saw, and continues to see, in Thomas Alva Edison and his scientific contributions.


It was really cool to be standing at the exact location where so much smart and amazing work was done by Thomas Edison.  Kind of tingly because of the history of what happened at that exact spot, and sad at the same time because while in a location that is famous because of it’s illumination, to see it at night is almost a little scary.  It’s very dark and quiet at the World’s Largest Light Bulb at night.

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At night, the world’s largest light bulb is supposed to look like this:


But, because of the on again / off again restoration that has been going on since 2006:


It looks like this:


I know this because yes,  I went back to Edison very late one night just to see if it was lit up.  If you want to check it out yourself, head to 37 Christie Street in Edison, NJ. This is located exactly at the corner of Christie and Tower Street:



In 1879, Christie Street in Edison, NJ became the first street in history to be lighted.

A very cool place to see, and a place that is in desperate need of renovations and TLC.


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