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Holiday Gift Guide

Iconic Design with a Foxy Update: Anglepoise Task Lamps

2010 June 28

Last time I checked, the human arm seemed to be a pretty high-functioning appendage. So it seems only fitting for it to be the inspiration for a super-repositionable table lamp—one that would become one of the most iconic British designs of the 20th century.

George Carwardine, an automotive engineer, channeled that potential when he designed the first Anglepoise desk lamp in 1932, using a system of perpetual tension and special springs that he invented. At the risk of launching into an engineering lecture, let’s just say this lamp can move, wherever you need it, maximizing the light where it needs to be. You know, like a lamp is supposed to do.

In the 1930s, this was revolutionary design at its finest. So much so that it’s likely you’ve used a table lamp many times since that was based on the that original, brilliant design. Word spread quickly about Carwardine’s lamp, and it became a highly coveted piece for both business and personal use. The rest, as they say, is history. (Fun lighting-meets-pop-culture fact: In 1979, Robyn Hitchcock, the lead singer in influential punk rock group “The Soft Boys,” wrote a song called “I want to be an Anglepoise Lamp.”

Only two Anglepoise lamps are available in the U.S., but don’t worry, we’ve got them both:

Anglepoise Original 1227 table lampAnglepoise Original 1227 Task Lamp
This design is more than 75 years old, but ages like a fine wine. The Anglepoise Original 1227 Task Lamp is based on Carwardine’s original 1930s design. It’s both flexible and strong, much like the human arm (or some human arms. Mine is likely only the former. Just saying.) It also has the original two-tier square base, which acts as a stabilizer for the lamp, and comes in several appealing colors.

Type 75 Task Lamp by AnglepoiseType 75 Task Lamp by Anglepoise
This is a foxy 1970s redesign of the iconic Anglepoise task lamp. The Type 75 still exhibits the signature Anglepoise design with the 3-spring mechanism, but its shape is a bit more sleek and smooth for a more contemporary edge.

These classic lamps do have one modern update: energy-saving bulbs. The light itself is designed to replicate the intensity of light that is needed by professionals in all fields. So we’re not just talking classic design, but unmatched performance as well. That’s form and function at its best.

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