Design Classic: The Anglepoise Lamp

Updated: May 6, 2020

The Anglepoise has an anthropomorphic charm.  Its design functions as an arm - two straight poles with an elbow in the middle and a fixture at the top like a wrist.  They are awkward, looking yet functional.  They lend an air of studied indifference to a setting if you choose that seems as if you wanted it for a light it casts regardless of whether it is not quite the right style for your desk.

They stand clamped to our desks where they cast a puddle of light over our workspace.They are positioned everywhere in copper versions with knobby joints and a rounded shade; in wood and metal to give a bold look to a living room, it provides a touch of grounded ordinariness.

The original engineering lamp, the Anglepoise Light, was designed by George Carwardine in 1934 for Herbert Terry & Sons in Britain.

Carwardine was asked to come up with a simple, efficient lamp made from basic engineering components, that could be used at a workbench.

It dawned on him to model the lamp's structure on the workings and dimensions of the human arm, after which he attached it to a clamp.

Brilliant idea, and one that placed Carwardine's lamp on thousands of desks throughout Britain in the ensuing decades - not to mention the knockoffs and variations that are ubiquitous today.

Carwardine's originals were painted an ugly muddy colour.  Eventually, they went the way of all suddenly ugly office furniture - they were purged, and ended up in the storerooms and garages and other warehouses of the displaced and unwanted.

The Anglepoise Lamp, though lives to illuminate another day.

Check out Anglepoise Style Swing Lamp with Clamp

Check our Anglepoise Swing Style Lamp

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