Design Details: The Anglepoise Lamp

4 years ago
2 minutes

Sometimes a piece of design becomes so ubiquitous it’s hard to imagine a world without it – but the classic Anglepoise Lamp is such a piece.

Adding an elegant Anglepoise to your home is a sure-fire way of adding the perfect combination of functionality and sophistication to a space, whether it be a study, living room or bedroom.

Perhaps it was Pixar’s breakthrough animated short, Luxo Jr. in 1986 which cemented the lamp as a cultural icon amongst a wider audience – and the playful little guy has stuck around as part of the studio’s brand identity ever since.


The Anglepoise was designed in 1932 by British designer George Carwardine. A car designer working on innovative vehicle suspension systems, Carwardine hit upon a new combination of springs. When applied to the armature of a lamp this strategic placement of four springs allowed for perfectly balanced positioning.

He entered a partnership with manufacturer Herbert Terry and Sons and released his first Anglepoise Lamp in 1934. After it proved hugely popular for commercial usage – workshops, doctors, and dentists snapped them up in large numbers – Carwardine developed a three-spring version with a more slimline profile.


Arriving on the market in 1935 this was the classic Anglepoise design most people recognise – the 1227 Mini. During the Second World War, it proved hugely popular in homes across Britain, being promoted as ‘the ideal blackout lamp” with its focused shade providing a narrowly focused beam of light exactly where needed.

As well as being highly functional, the elegance to the lamp’s spring mechanism, slim framework and simple shade are what have drawn collectors, interior designers and lovers of design elegance for over 70 years. The lamps have proven superbly adaptable through the decades, perhaps also due to them being available with a range of base options including clamps that enable it to be attached almost anywhere, and wall-mounts.


The original Anglepoise company is still manufacturing its classic lamps, regularly running out of stock due to demand. But their manufacture has been so voluminous that you can also find plenty of these for sale on eBay. And, of course, there are plenty of alternatives and copycat versions to choose from, such as this clamped option from IKEA.

The Anglepoise company has continued to innovate and recently added a mini version powered via USB. You can even power it from your laptop, allowing you to take this portable piece of iconic design with you from room to room.

But it’s the original designs that have a sense of timelessness… however you position them.

Read more… do these pendant lights look like work of art?

All images credit: Anglepoise