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Isn’t it iconic? Doubly so, in the Anglepoise Type 75 Desk Lamp: Paul Smith Edition One. First as an industrial light and then adapted for home use, the timeless Anglepoise with its adjustable arms has been a fixture of life across the pond ever since it was introduced in the 1930s. (Its inventor, automobile designer George Carwardine, had patented a new kind of helical spring that was able to extend, contract and reliably remain in a fixed position. With that, he was able to create the the forerunner to the quintessential Type 75.) Now another English master of design, fashion’s Paul Smith, has applied his playful propensity for color to his version of this modernist exemplar.
Here’s the unlikely tale of how an iconic British design literally "sprung" from an amateur inventor’s workshop. More than 70 years ago, automotive engineer George Carwardine, tinkering with constant-tension metal springs developed by the French firm Terry’s, found they could be moved in any direction but then “stayed put.” He didn’t find an application for cars but envisioned a task lamp based on the mechanics of the human arm. Notably, he added a shade to focus the light which meant that it used less electricity than usual at the time.
With patent in hand in 1934, George debuted the first Anglepoise at the British Industries Fair. Since then, his original model 1227 and succeeding variations have proved timeless to generations of students, artists and professionals. Anglepoise lamps were produced for World War II bombers, celebrated in a Royal Mail stamp and have inspired tributes from musicians, artists and writers. With new energy-saving strides, the Anglepoise remains true to its defining minimalist design and efficiency.