x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Anglepoise 1227

Some things in life become so familiar that we simply take them for granted. And some objects are so pleasing to the eye, so good at doing the jobs they were designed for, that they become virtually generic.

£110.64 (approx D648) plus shipping, from www.anglepoise.com
£110.64 (approx D648) plus shipping, from www.anglepoise.com

Some things in life become so familiar that we simply take them for granted. And some objects are so pleasing to the eye, so good at doing the jobs they were designed for, that they become virtually generic. Yet, surely, these are the very objects whose designers are most worthy of celebrating. And when they continue to be made by the original manufacturer, that's all the more special, not to mention increasingly rare.

One such is the Anglepoise task lamp - specifically, Model 1227. Its inventor, George Carwardine, who specialised in vehicle suspension systems, came upon the design almost by accident in 1932. Experimenting in his workshop with spring-loaded pivoting arms, he realised that the idea could have other applications (among them, holding lights to illuminate assembly line work benches) and swiftly patented the mechanism. He sold the manufacturing rights to his spring supplier, the family-run Herbert Terry & Sons; the original four-spring model was refined to become the three-spring Model 1227 and launched in 1935 - and an icon was born.

And it nearly died. With thousands of more-or-less lookalike imitators pouring forth from the world's cheap manufacturing zones, and creating an ubiquity that rendered the design almost invisible, the Terry family's Anglepoise company seemed threatened with closure. Until, that is, the founder's great grandsons realised what a classic they had in their hands and set about a relaunch - introducing some subtly updated models alongside the old.

While the newer range has all the quality, functionalism and good looks of the old, what makes Model 1227 "the one" for me is that, as the Anglepoise arm celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, it's just as fresh now as the day it was born. Happy birthday, Anglepoise, and may you enjoy many more. £110.64 (approx D648) plus shipping, from www.anglepoise.com