Equipoise..the first true Anglepoise lamp


  This lamp is a very early model made sometime between 1928-32  by the designer of the Anglepoise lamp George Carwardine at his own premises in Bath. Constructed possibly up to some four years before Carwardine collaborated with Herbert Terrys of Redditch. 

I believe this lamp to be very rare, the only other I have seen is on page 348 "1000 lights" Taschen. In this book, and other web sites displaying the original drawings for this lamp, it is incorrectly (in my opinion), titled as a 1208 model. These 1208/09 numbers were without any doubt assigned from Terrys own catalogue system (I have proof of this), yet this prototype model was designed and made some years before Carwardine approached Terrys. For this reason I'll refer to it as  "Carwardines prototype Anglepoise." He had wanted to name it the "Equipoise lamp" however this title was rejected by the patents office for copyright legal reasons, due to the word Equipoise already existing and being in use within the English language. Fortunately the name 'Anglepoise' was accepted because without doubt if the Anglepoise lamp has one undeniable characteristic it has  to be 'poise'. 

There are some subtle differences on this lamp from the later Herbert Terry 1208-09 models .


Firstly the shade is a slightly different profile, not quite as rounded as the later Terry model although similar in size. The large knurled aluminum locking knob to the rear of the shade was omitted on later Terry models and the connection to the shade itself is slightly different. There are five holes to allow for tensioning the springs in the upper arm, as there are on Terrys 1208/09 also.

The finish is as original and the lamp has not been stripped. This prototype model was never lacquered or enamelled apart from the base. The finish on this particular base has been re-painted, so I am unsure whether it was crackle glaze paint originally. 

The bakelite bulb holder I believe to be original to the lamp. I've seen similar on other lamps from the late 1920s to early 30s, and this one is still in working order. I have noticed that it the same bulb holder as shown in Terrys 1935 catalogue a picture of a trolley lamp. Which adds to my belief that this is the original bulb holder.

The aluminium box section arms are made of thinner section than later Terry models and the connecting plates are made from aluminum also, later Terry models are found made from either steel or steel and brass. The lamp is held in position by another knurled knob midway along its length. The arms are thin box section aluminum, these were made from steel on later 1208/09 models 1935-40s, then later still (postwar) aluminium was used again alongside steel and brass depending on the usage the lamp was intended for. These postwar lamps are often described as early vintage models by sellers but are infact from the 1950/60s.

The small spreader bar found approx 80mm beneath the elbow joint as found on all Terry 1208-09 lamps is not present on this early model, nor is it shown on the original drawings, confirming this lamp is pre-mass production. The small spreader bar when fitted adds greatly to the stability of these lamps and was a positive improvement on this design. 

The base is different to later Terry bases. This has a brass plate which bears his company name rather than the familiar Herbert Terry & sons, the sides of the base are square rather than the slightly curved sides of the first Terry bases. Although they both share the tall stem which was reduced within a short production period. The cable was neatly fed though the base and exited at the rear and bottom of the base, this method was employed on the subsequent Terry models but was omitted on the later stem bases dating post 1930s.

Above is shown the brass plate bearing the name of Carwardines company. As clearly shown, it was named Cardine Accessories Ltd. I have never previously seen this name in print. The company is usually referred to as "Carwardine associates Ltd" in books and on the web. George Carwardine owned a small business making car suspension parts, so 'Cardines Accessories' sounds most likely, but he may possibly have have been a director of more than one company..?

It is visible on the brass plate that a patent for the lamp was not yet granted when this was made.

Update, I've kindly been contacted by the owner of a very fine example of this early model lamp. Please do get in touch if you also have one or know of the existence of others.

Original drawings

These are the original drawings Carwardine made for his lamp. You will notice the small spreader bar beneath the elbow is not shown . It's not present on the above model either. This spreader bar was a later improvement and proves the lamp is not from Terrys mass production.

Mac Copyright 2013 

Subpages (1): Herbert Terrys 1208/09