Clifton’s Cafeteria neon light left on for 77 years, ‘world’s oldest neon’, causes $17k electric bill

By on May 27, 2012 in Amazing, Lifestyle, United States Comments

A neon light fixture was reportedly left on unintentionally in an iconic cafeteria in California for 77 years, and is now being dubbed by experts as the ‘world’s oldest neon light‘ after it was discovered only this year. It was believed to have caused an electric bill of around $17,000.

Andrew Meieran and the neon light at Clifton’s
Cafeteria, dubbed as ‘world’s oldest neon light’

Image Credit: Allen J. Schaben/LA Times

According to a report by Los Angeles Times on Saturday, May 26, 2012, a lighted neon light fixture at Clifton’s Cafeteria, the so-called oldest surviving eatery in Los Angeles, was discovered last February 9 by its owner Andrew Meieran, the day the eating place was unveiled.

As noted in the report, the said neon light is being believed to have been installed in 1935 when Clifton’s Cafeteria founder Clifford Clinton bought the lease, which is located on Broadway and 7th Street; and its name was changed to Clifton’s Brookdale in 1939.

Apparently, Meieran bought Clifton’s Brookdale on September 21, 2010 and renovations were planned to convert it into a forest-themed restaurant, with the original wall design featured a lot of hand-tinted transparencies of mountain and forest landscapes, each of them with a neon light backlight.

“We were using flashlights, and I thought I caught a glimpse of a little light coming through the wall. I asked, ‘What is that?'” Meieran told the paper, referring to the lighted neon light fixture, which he estimated to have brought an electric bill of around $17,000.

“Neon lamps can last 20 to 40 years before the glass deteriorates or transformers go out. That this one has survived, lit, for as long as it has is incredible.” Museum of Neon Art Executive Director Kim Koga was quoted as saying.

According to Blog Downtown, which was believed to have first reported this Clifton’s Cafeteria neon light discovery more than a week ago, Meieran called it as ‘Eternal Neon’, noting that the light has no switch and must be hard-wired into a panel deep in the brick.

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