‘Lighting the way since 1894’

February 20, 2014


The light bulb was displayed at Louisiana Tech’s centennial celebration and is now displayed in the office of Tech President Les Guice. – Photo by Devin Dronett

The light bulb was displayed at Louisiana Tech’s centennial celebration and is now displayed in the office of Tech President Les Guice. – Photo by Devin Dronett

Alumnus and former employee donates a nearly 100-year-old Tech light bulb back to the university


Paul Harris
Staff Reporter



Treasures usually remain hidden. Only when the treasure is unveiled can one enjoy the pleasure it brings.

Former Louisiana Tech employee and graduate Bill Cox inherited a Tech treasure that is nearly 100 years old. Cox was given a light bulb that has a lighted bulldog built into it that lights up when plugged in.


“I got that bulb back in 1965,” Cox said. “There was a gentleman named Sherwin Hayes that had a welding service on U.S. 167 south of town, and when he passed, his mother was cleaning up down there, she called me and said, ‘Sherwin has something down here that I think he would want you to have.’”


Cox said he drove there to see what it was, and she gave him an old lamp, the base of it was a big horseshoe that had a Spanish revolver welded to it.


“The barrel of the gun was pointing straight up,” Cox said. “He put a light fixture on the top of the barrel, ran a wire through the barrel out the bottom and put a lamp shade on it.”


Cox said that at the time he didn’t have much use for it so he stored the lamp away in his barn for years.


“Probably around 1980, I was cleaning up and thought I was going to throw it away,” Cox said.


He called his friend over instead to give it to him. While disassembling the lamp, Cox said he then found the light bulb that was being used for the lamp.


“I told my friend that he could have the lamp but I was going to keep the bulb,” Cox said.


He once again stored the bulb away until he got a call in 1994, the year Tech’s centennial was celebrated. Cox said Tech called him to see if he had anything significant Tech could use for the 100th anniversary.


“I called them later that day to tell them about the light bulb,” Cox said. “We were afraid to plug it in the first time because we didn’t know what would happen. We hooked it up to a dimmer switch, and I slowly started to give it power, and it started glowing, then lit up.”

Cox said once he found out it worked that he had to preserve it in some manner.


“I made a shadow box lined with dark blue velcro inside and put a glass door on the front of it,” Cox said. “I took an old trophy to get a marble base off of it then went and bought a brass fixture and drilled a hole through the bottom.”


Cox said once the casing was assembled he went to the jewelry store to get a plate put on the front of it that says, “Louisiana Tech University, lighting the way since 1894.”


“I cannot come close to tell you when it was actually made, but I’ve talked to a lot of people about it and some old timers say that they remembered there were two or three of these light bulbs in the Tech bookstore for sale back in the ‘20s,” Cox said. “It’s a unique thing, I’ve seen a lot of Tech stuff around but I don’t know if there are any others like this around.”


The bulb is now housed in Tech President Les Guice’s office overlooking the university on the 16th floor of Wyly Tower.


“My understanding is that maybe an electrical engineer from Tech created the bulb and brought them back to the university,” Cox said. “Thank goodness I saved it because it is a great piece of memorabilia that has represented this great university for a long time.”


Email comments to phh007@latech.edu.


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