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A Brief History of the Anglepoise Lamp

Picture of Charlotte Luxford
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 4 August 2017
In this collaborative series with London’s Design Museum, senior curator Alex Newson selects treasured design icons from the institution’s permanent collection: Designer, Maker, User. In this video, he unveils the history behind the iconic Anglepoise Lamp.
Original 1227 | Courtesy of Anglepoise
Original 1227 | Courtesy of Anglepoise

This iconic 1930s design was actually designed by car engineer George Carwardine – what made it special was the ultimate flexibility of the design, thanks to the specific type of spring and lever mechanism that Carwardine created, which was patented in 1932. It meant that the lamp could be angled to face any direction and remain in that position, making it a great task light for industrial use, however it was introduced to the domestic market three years later.

1227 Ceramic | Courtesy of Anglepoise
1227 Ceramic | Courtesy of Anglepoise

The original design was the 1227, with many other models and updates created throughout the 20th century – it was only in 2003 that renowned British designer Kenneth Grange resurrected the 1227 and gave it a fresh, contemporary twist, which became the Anglepoise Type 3. The collaborations continue, with the likes of contemporary designers Margaret Howell and Paul Smith working with the brand to create limited editions.

Margaret Howell limited editions | Courtesy of Anglepoise
Margaret Howell limited editions | Courtesy of Anglepoise

Watch the video above to see the full story and discover the history of other design icons in the series, including Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60, Alessi’s Juicy Salif citrus squeezer, the Apple Mac, Thonet’s Bistro chair and Braun’s SK4 radio-phonograph.

Read more about the history of the lamp here.