George Carwardine inventer.

photo from relight lamps g carwardine
george carwardine anglepoise lamp

G Carwardine  lived at 17 Macaulay, Bath. Telephone Bath 3827.

Born in 1887 and died in 1947, at the age of 60.

Employed as a free lance design engineer, in the early 1900’s George found success in the automotive sector. Finding an affinity with the effects of tension and compression, a certain flair for car suspension systems seemed inevitable.

It was the realisation that through a geometric tensioned arm arrangement a given load my be made to appear weightless regardless of it position.

in his words, taken from his patent.

” This invention relates to elastic force mechanism of the kind comprising means whereby the varying forces of an elastic member such as a helical spring are applied so as to produce a unidirectional constant force for the purpose of counteracting the pull of gravitation on a mass pivoted at a distance from its centre of gravity.”

17 Macaulay, Bath relight lamps
G Carwardine house 1933 bath England

Whether or not George Carwardine intended the use of his “Elastic Force Mechanism” to over come the pot holes and cobbles of the Bath victorian country side. He did spring upon the idea of using the “Balanced Arm” to support a Lamp.

When reviewing his patent of February 1934, number 433,617, I noticed as I suspect George did :-

” An arrangement such as that last described is particularly suitable for equipoising a mass such as an inspection or spot light since the said mass is not constrained to move in an accurate path but may take up any position in the plane of movement within the range of the links Moreover, by allowing the support to swivel in a horizontal plane the said mass may take up any position in CS space around the support within the range of the links A further feature of this arrangement is that the mass may be allowed to swivel into any angular position with respect to that portion of it to which the said parallelly disposed links are pivoted without disturbing the equipoise.”

Cardine Accessories
Cardine Accessories 20 high street bath england

I could just imagine him sat looking out of his quintessential mad inventers’ garden shed, thinking, “I need a thumping good name for this invention, what on earth could it be? … Any angle, weight equals spring tension, position, poise…”

Oh I know the “Equipoise Lamp.”

Well done Caractacus Pott’s, your onto a winner, toot sweet.

With the aid of GILL, JENNINGS & EVERYGLAYTON, Chartered Patent Agents, 1/52, Chancery Lane, London. His patent was awarded.

A setback came before the first lamp saw the light of day, apparently the name “Equipoise” was already trademarked. Tenacious as ever George repositioned the wording from his patent splurb and the more iconic name of Anglepoise was born.

anglepoise 4 spring
anglepoise 4 spring

He began to manufacture the lamp in a small factory called Cardine Accessories situated at 20 High Street, Bath. In 1934 you could ask the operator to connect you to telephone number Bath 3913 and George himself could well of answered the call.

The first anglepoise lamp was a bit different from the iconic 1227 lamp we know today. You can see the influence of heavy automotive engineering that surrounded George and the more industrial target market design. More noticeable is the 4 spring design and larger size, but it still has the “brand new design” of spring balanced arms and is instantly recognisable.

As production started the initial interest was encouraging although hampered somewhat by the industrial machinist looks. It was about this time our story has a new important intersection with a man called (more on him) Herbert Terry.


As ever, if you find or have reason to disagree with my opinion or use of /identification of images or statements please feel free to comment.