Anglepoise Profile

Anglepoise Decorative lighting

Invented by a car designer
One of Britain’s most iconic and instantly identifiable products, the Anglepoise® lamp started out its life as a remarkably complex engineering concept, created in 1932 by George Carwardine (1887-1948), an automotive engineer who developed vehicle suspension systems.

It’s all about the springs
Carwardine had developed a formula for a new type of spring that would remain perfectly in position after being moved. The tensile quality of the spring allowed an accuracy and delicacy of movement that was to set Anglepoise® apart from previous desk lamp designs.

A structure that mimics human flexion
Carwardine discovered that pivoting arms, supported by a sequence of the new springs, would mimic the constant tension principle of human limbs, able to be repositioned with the lightest touch, yet remaining perfectly in place once released. Through his experimentation Carwardine had chanced upon the means to create an articulated task lamp that could combine ultimate flexibility with perfect stability.

Licensed to a spring maker 
Naturally Carwardine turned to world-class spring makers, Herbert Terry and Sons, to manufacture his design. Terry’s was one of the few companies able to produce springs of such complexity and had already extended their business to manufacture products that used the springs they made. In 1932, a patent was acquired. Equipoise, the chosen name for the product, was rejected by the Trade Marks Registry as it was a word in common parlance so the name Anglepoise® was registered and, under licence to Terry’s, the first Anglepoise® lamp, the 1209, was launched.

Reworked for a domestic market 
This four-spring Anglepoise was deemed too industrial for a domestic market so, in 1935, Carwardine, together with the designers at Terry’s, developed a three-spring version. The design, known as the Anglepoise® Original1227, was to be refined over the years but is generally considered the archetypal Anglepoise® lamp.

A pioneer for energy efficiency 
Throughout its history, energy conservation has remained high on the Anglepoise® agenda. The shade of Carwardine’s original lamp had been designed to concentrate the beam, maximising light intensity whilst minimising consumption of electricity. Right from the outset Terry’s were to focus on the Anglepoise® Original1227’s energy-saving potential, claiming that the precision with which the beam could be focused allowed an inexpensive 25-watt bulb to deliver the effective power of a 60-watt. The distinctive structure of the lamp was cast in metal and made to last; planned obsolescence has never figured in Anglepoise® strategy. Later, in the early 80’s, Anglepoise® was one of the earliest adopters of the compact fluorescent bulb and a series of LED lamps now feature within its extensive portfolio.

Opening a new chapter 
When, in 2003, Simon Terry, great great grandson of Herbert Terry joined the family company, it had become clear that an update of the original Anglepoise® design was required if the brand were to maintain its authority and successfully stave off competition. Here was to begin a longstanding and on-going collaboration with pre-eminent British product designer, Sir Kenneth Grange. Grange’s subsequent designs for the Anglepoise® Type3, Type75, Type1228 and the TypeC LED series have seamlessly integrated form with function and are a perfect fit, both with the original design concept and with the company’s modernist design ethos.

Capturing the zeitgeist 
The aesthetic and remarkably engaging, anthropomorphic quality of a lamp that can constantly change its form has inspired musicians, artists, designers and writers over the years. In 1979, post punk pop group, The Soft Boys, made it into the pop charts with the song “I want to be an Anglepoise lamp”. First appearing in the computer-animated indent that launched Pixar in 1986, an Anglepoise® character now features in the company logo, bouncing into shot at the start of every film. In 1985, innovative sculptor, David Mach formed a large flowing hand out of 360 black Anglepoise® lamps for an exhibition at the Oxford Museum of Modern Art. The Anglepoise® lamp that sat on the desk of Roald Dahl was considered so much a part of the writer’s persona that, in 2004, a Giant version of the Anglepoise® Original1227 lamp was specially commissioned for the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. The Giant1227 has since gone into volume production. Anglepoise® lamps have also featured in many of the James Bond films, most recently seen in the dramatic set for the MI6 underground HQ in Skyfall.

There is only one Anglepoise® 
Just as Hoover became the definitive name for a vacuum cleaner, since its introduction in 1934 the Anglepoise® name has come to stand for a whole genre of articulated task lights. Yet the original articulated system was conceived and patented in 1932 by George Carwardine and subsequent patents were granted as the design of the lamp was developed. Whilst there are numerous articulated lamps on the market, few inspire the emotional attachment that drew 25 designers, when interviewed by Jeremy Myerson in 1992, to vote the Anglepoise® Original1227 “the favourite light of all time”.

An iconic BRITISH brand 
To celebrate its 75th anniversary, in 2009 the Anglepoise® Original1227 was featured on a Royal Mail stamp, alongside such British design Icons as the Concorde, the Routemaster bus and the Mini.

Today, examples of the Anglepoise®, a quintessentially British brand, can be seen in London in the Design Museum, the V&A and the Science Museum.

For further information, Anglepoise® photographs and samples, please contact Kathryn Dighton PR, tel +44 (0)20 8348 3848, email,

To find out more about Anglepoise® log onto

Product group: Table lights Free-standing lights Suspended lights Wall-mounted lights LED lights
Designer: George Carwardine Kenneth Grange
Anglepoise Ltd.
Unit A10, Railway Triangle
Walton Road PO6 1TN, Farlington Hampshire
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 2392 224450
Fax: +44- 2392 385445
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