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The Anglepoise lamp: a modest design miracle

August 28, 2015

The Anglepoise lamp: a modest design miracle

We recently added this industrial balanced-arm desk lamp and complementing floor lamp to our collection (see below). When you first look at it, it might not strike you as very special. But the truth is, these super functional task lights pay tribute to the iconic Herbert Terry Anglepoise lamp, described as “a minor miracle of balance” by a leading UK designer. Believe it or not, when this desk lamp was first invented in 1932, the use of counterbalanced springs was a genuine design revolution. In this blog, we’ll tell you’re a bit more about its journey to become an international design classic. Plus, we’ll throw in a few interior examples of these types of balanced-arm lamps in action.

How the Anglepoise lamp became a roaring success

The Anglepoise lamp was born in the workshop of an English car designer, George Carwardine. While tinkering away at a new vehicle suspension system, he came up with a spring mechanism that was flexible in multiple directions, and at the same time stayed fixed when stationary. It took him a couple of years to realise that although it was no good for a car, it was great for a practical workshop lamp. One business agreement later, the first Anglepoise lamp model ‘1208’ was introduced to the world by Herbert Terry & Sons as a commercial lamp for professionals. It was followed suit by a domestic model a year later, which was so successful that it stayed in production almost unchanged for 30 years. Its secret? Flexible, directional lighting that could be used for a plethora of tasks. The balanced-arm desk lamp turned out to be just what the world needed.

Modern-day use

Over 75 years later, an Anglepoise floor lamp has joined the ranks and the functional design has been copied and enriched many times. Our own brand-new balanced-arm desk lamp and complementing balanced-arm floor lamp pay tribute to the original design. Their rugged matt black finish fits both traditional and contemporary interiors. Originally designed as workshop lights, they are an excellent example of how vintage industrial style lamps complement urban homes.

Above on the left, you can see how the balanced-arm desk lamp works just as well lighting up the keyboard of a modern laptop as it did lighting up nuts and bolts in a tinkerer’s workshop. On the right, Anglepoise-inspired superlux lamps have been creatively used to make something entirely new.

Below, you can see the domestic use of the Anglepoise lamp is at least as widespread as its commercial counterpart. It is used in a wide variety of interiors, and has inspired many other lights. The Jielde lamp (below, right) for example is another design classic that has conquered the hearts of many a home owner.

The Anglepoise lamp is a timeless vintage classic, and we’re proud to have so many balanced-arm lamps in our collection that pay homage to it. Do you own a balanced-arm desk lamp or floor lamp? If yes, where do you use it? We’re curious about your experience! Check out our range of Floor Lamps for more inspiration!

Image 3 via blood & champagne, image 4 via my paradissi, image 5 via touchcontagious, image 6 via s-p-r-i-n-g

2 Responses

Florian Wolf
Florian Wolf

March 13, 2019

The Anglepoise chandelier in my view is taking it a bit too far & sits like an octopus under the ceiling without looking the par. My dad was an architect & preached “Less is more” every day – which possibly is why I am a bit inclined towards minimalism when it comes to lighting. The Anglepoise table lamp was everywhere in our house – even on a desk in my children’s room, so I grew up with it. Floor & ceiling versions weren’t available in the 70ies, so the well worn Anglepoises even made their way onto side tables in the living / lounge area and looked neat. But I find it difficult to have a multi-armed “design monstrosity” under my ceiling, so will go with something else. Fortunately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I have to admit that my daughter found the ceiling version of the Anglepoise lamp VERY cool (“dad, you’re sooo old-fashioned”, etc. etc. 😉).


September 5, 2015

That’s great news, congratulations for your your new launched industrial balanced-arm desk lamp products. It is really too good, attractive and easy to use. Thanks for sharing this good information. \
Pendant Lights

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