July 5, 2012

Anglepoise: a story of a desk lamp


the evolution of the anglepoise desk lamp

Core 77 will announce the winners of the 2012 Design Awards, beginning this coming Sunday at 8p.m. The editors recently put a great little series together on the evolution and diaspora of the ubiquitous counterbalanced desk lamp that we thought we’d share in anticipation of the important news they will broadcast from July 8th through the 16th. This is one of those “On Our Radar” posts we just couldn’t resist!

You know the desk lamp we mean: the fascinating articulated task light that can be positioned in loco, using cleverly offset spidery gantry arms and springs attached at exactly the right fulcrum point. Archimedes would have been beaming, had he had the pleasure.

an early angelpoise desk lamp

The stories behind the making of things and their makers are always a source of delight. I won’t belabor the moment with all the details (Core 77 has recounted an excellent narrative already) but suffice it to say that any tale which encompasses car suspensions, sewing machines, Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, and Pixar in the same breath has got my interest.

In the “you can’t make this stuff up” category, I got an onomastic kick out of the original designer’s surname, a Mr. George Carwardine. And what was his profession? He was “a UK-based freelance car designer and engineer”, working specifically with suspension systems… Talk about propelled by fate! “Car” plus “-ward” (movement) plus “-ine” (of or pertaining to). It’s not like his ancestors had been doing this for generations.

A sexy update on the angelpoise desk lamp

 Speaking of stringing words together, how about the brand name “Anglepoise”? That says it all, right up front. They don’t make them like they used to; well, maybe they do, but in a proliferation of sizes and finishes!

Photos courtesy Core 77.

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