World's Largest Light Bulb to Shine in Cleveland

A 7-story tall tower of light is under construction for New Year's Eve celebration

The dawn of a new century will shine brightly in Cleveland, Ohio on New Year’s Eve. A 100,000-watt tower of light is going up in the city and will shine at the stroke of midnight in the Year 2000.

It is called "First Light 2000" and was unveiled in Cleveland this week in front of the historic Terminal Tower at Public Square. The tower of light will be fully illuminated when the countdown hits midnight on January 1, 2000 as a part of Cleveland’s millennium celebration.

As the world’s largest light bulb the structure will contain nearly 10,000 individual lights, it will weigh 8,500 pounds and stand 88-feet tall. The giant light bulb construction started this month and will be completed in mid-November.

To launch the project. GE Lighting’s President and CEO,Mike Zafirovski, flipped on the historic switch Tuesday. It was a switch designed and used by Thomas Edison. The switch was on loan from the Smithsonian Institute and coincides with the 120th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s invention of the incandescent lamp in 1879.

"We think the light bulb is a very appropriate symbol for the new millennium, for more than 100 years the light bulb has been synonymous with new ideas. Perhaps no other invention has had a greater technical or cultural impact on the way we live" said Mike Zafirovski.

Cleveland was chosen as the perfect city to host the giant tower of light because the city has been home to many lighting firsts. Cleveland was first to install the first electric street light in 1879 and was home to the invention of the first traffic signal in 1923.

It also helps that GE Lighting headquarters are at Nela Park, and have been located in the Cleveland area for more than 85 years.

"GE Lighting’s incredible gift of ‘First Light 2000’ will provide our city with one of the most distinctive and memorable icons of the new millennium," said Cleveland Mayor, Michael White.

When the projected is completed there will be a total of 52 circuits, wired in a series, and will empower the nearly 10,000 light fixtures in the project. The overall structure will consist of some 80 sheets of a quarter-inch alumalite that will be joined together with a fully engineered framing system. This in turn will be securely fastened to the Terminal Tower with stainless steel fasteners and wall brackets.

The lighting of the project will operate in complete conjunction with the Greenwich Mean Time Line, completely synchronizing Cleveland’s countdown with other celebrations around the world.

"First Light 2000" will shine for the first time at midnight and will continue to illuminate the city every night through the end of February 2000.

DATE: 10/29/99

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