Anglepoise About

Our Story

Characterised by a pioneering perfect balance mechanism developed in the 1930’s and an engaging kinetic form, iconic, quintessentially British brand, Anglepoise® produces an incomparable series of practical, energy-efficient task lamps, ideally suited for both domestic and commercial interiors.

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Its all about the Springs

Family company, Herbert Terry and Sons Ltd. is established in 1855, manufacturing springs and presswork for the trade. By the 1920’s Terry’s is also developing products using the springs - an eclectic product range that extends from multi-purpose spring clips and car valve springs to toast racks, pen holders, hockey stick carriers and bicycle saddles. 

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Invented by a car designer

1931: Automotive engineer, George Carwardine develops a theoretical concept for balancing weights using springs, cranks and levers. Using special springs with a ‘constant tension’ quality developed by Terry’s, Carwardine had chanced upon the means to create an articulated task lamp that could combine ultimate flexibility with perfect balance.  A patent is filed and, in 1933 the first four-spring Anglepoise® lamp is launched. Read more about George Carwardine.

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Reworked for a domestic market

The four-spring Anglepoise® is deemed too industrial for a domestic market so, in 1935, Carwardine, together with the designers at Terry’s, develops a three-spring version. This design, known as the Anglepoise® Original 1227™, has been refined over the years but is generally considered the archetypal Anglepoise® lamp.

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A Product salvaged from Loch Ness

Anglepoise® Navigator’s lamps are produced for the World War II bombers between 1939-1944. Four decades later, an American team searching for the Loch Ness Monster salvages a Wellington bomber submerged in the mud. Remarkably the lamp still works! Known as R for Robert, the plane, complete with working lamp, is exhibited at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey, UK.

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Capturing the Zeitgeist

The anthropomorphic quality of the Anglepoise® lamp design has inspired musicians, artists, designers and writers over the years. In 1979, the proto-punk pop band, The Soft Boys, release “(I want to be an) Anglepoise lamp”. Six years later in 1985, innovative sculptor, David Mach creates “The Giant Hand Sculpture named Knuckle Shuffle” from 360 black Anglepoise® lamps. 

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Among Britain’s most Distinguished Designers

Having previously identified the Anglepoise® as his favourite design and a ‘minor miracle of balance’, Sir Kenneth Grange, responsible for some of Britain’s most iconic and successful designs, including the Kenwood Mixer, the Kodak Instamatic, the Intercity 125 train and the updated London taxi, becomes Design Director of Anglepoise®.  His first Anglepoise® design, the Type3 desk lamp is launched in 2003. Read more about Sir Kenneth Grange.

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The Great Big Friendly Giant

Anglepoise® is approached by the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre to produce a giant version of the Anglepoise® Original 1227™ lamp that sat on the desk in Dahl’s writing hut. Three prototypes are produced; one for the Centre, a second is sold to film director, Tim Burton and a third was exhibited at the 100% Design Exhibition in London. The lamp generates so much interest that it is put into volume production. 

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An Iconic British Brand

To celebrate the 75th anniversary, in 2009 the Anglepoise® Original 1227™ is featured on a Royal Mail stamp, alongside other iconic British designs including the K2 Telephone Kiosk, the Routemaster Bus, the London Underground Map and the Mini.

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A Blueprint for future Generations

Anglepoise® is selected by the Design Museum as one of six design stories that illustrate the impact of contemporary design on our everyday lives. Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things will remain on permanent display until 2015. Early examples of Anglepoise® lamps can also be seen at the Victoria & Albert Science Museum in London and Anglepoise® is included in the Vitra Design Museum’s touring exhibition, Lightopia, which opened in Germany on 29th September. 

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Foremost British designer Paul Smith begins an ongoing collaboration with Anglepoise®. The Type 75™ desk lamp, designed by Sir Kenneth Grange, provides the perfect canvas for Paul Smith’ to express his mastery with colour. Its streamlined, modernist form becomes the designer’s palette and its no-frills, mechanical functionality is highlighted by his playful colour-by-component approach.

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Anglepoise® Crosses the Pond

To mark their commitment to the North American market, Anglepoise® establishes a New York office along with a US website and online shop. For the first time Anglepoise Collections become readily available to customers throughout North America.

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In Roald Dahl’s centenary year, Anglepoise® launches a new, enhanced, and greatly extended Giant Collection, including the first Giant Outdoor Collection, a premium Giant Brass Collection featuring solid brass components and a new triple scale Giant interpretation of their best-selling Type 75™ desk lamp. All the Giant amps are hand built and made in Britain.

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Continuing a successful and longstanding relationship, Anglepoise® and Margaret Howell launch two new exclusive colours for the Type 75™ Anglepoise® desk lamp. The colours chosen - Saxon Blue and Seagrass - complement the existing Yellow Ochre Edition from an earlier collaboration in 2012.

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Pride of Place at the Design Museum

Anglepoise® is featured in the permanent collection at the new London Design Museum. Design, Maker User tells the story of contemporary design though these three interconnecting roles. The Anglepoise lamp is celebrated alongside many of the world’s most popular and affordable consumer goods including the first Apple computer, Sottsass and King’s Valentine typewriter for Olivetti and the Vespa Clubman.

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A new Anglepoise® and Paul Smith collaboration is revealed in New York as part of NYCxDESIGN. Having already created three striking collaboration colourways, Paul Smith now turns his attention to two extremes, Mini and Giant versions of the iconic Anglepoise® Type 75™ desk lamp.