Minor British Institutions: Anglepoise lamp

Click to follow

Walk round any homeware store and you'll find dozens, perhaps hundreds, of desk and table lamps, more or less fashionable, more or less functional – and all inferior to the Anglepoise lamp. Dating from 1932 and still manufactured today, with detailed improvements, it is far from the cheapest option, but it is the best and is a genuine design classic that falls within most budgets.

Like the finest British inventions it was designed in an amateurish, tinkering sort of way by an automotive engineer named George Carwardine, who seemingly had a fascination with springs and the extreme flexibility and stability of the human arm. Count how far and in how many planes your elbow, shoulder and wrist can twist through to see the challenge nature laid down. Anglepoise have even made a 10-foot- tall giant version. That bit of fun is yours for £1,900; the now re- released original costs around £80.