Shining on! Pakefield family home is illuminated with a 100-year-old lightbulb

IT was the year that the Titanic sank and Captain Scott's expedition to Antarctica ended in tragic failure.

But the year 1912 had its successes too – as Roger Dyball can tell you.

For the lightbulb that illuminates the porch at his home in Pakefield came off the production line that very same year – and amazingly it is still burning brightly after 100 years.

Mr Dyball, 74, this week recounted the history of the humble 230-volt, 55-watt DC Osram lightbulb, which was made at the company's factory in Wembley while King George V was on the throne.

Mr Dyball said he and his wife Patricia had lived in the family home in Pakefield Street for more than 40 years, but the bulb was already in place before they moved in.


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'We have been here since 1967 and the fitting was here when we arrived,' he said. 'We have just left it there with all its original fittings, and it has never gone out.'

Mr Dyball said he knew so much about the history of the bulb because, being so old, it had caught his eye shortly after he moved into his house.

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In an effort to find out more about it, he wrote to Osram-GEC's head office giving the company all the details he had to hand, including the numbers printed on the bulb.

On January 30, 1968, the technical services department replied to his inquiry.

It told him: 'From the numbers quoted in your letter we would estimate that this lamp was manufactured sometime in July, 1912.'

This certification has been framed and now it sits just a few feet away from the lightbulb and fitting in the porch.

Mr Dyball said: 'We think it must have been hand-made and I was quite impressed at the time that Osram actually got back to me – and that they had the records to go back that far.'

Keen to find out more about the lightbulb, Mr Dyball has also carried out some of his own research.

He said: 'I went to Lowestoft library to look into this more and there were pictures and information about Lowestoft being dug up around this time and electricity being laid.

'In 1870 there were gas lights in the town, so with all the streets being dug up (around 1912) this area must have had electricity laid within that first year.

'I think it must have been associated with the light's fitting,' he added.

Mr Dyball, who used to work in the quality control department at Birds Eye in Lowestoft, said he believed the secret of the bulb's longevity lay in its design, which was different to more modern lightbulbs.

'It has a very thick filament, which is why it has not gone out at all,' he said.

'We continue to just use it, despite people saying not to ...I don't think it will ever go out!'

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