A very rough guide to dating your 1227

All information is based on my very limited experience and internet research, so much of what is here may be inaccurate. I am not a restorer.

Anglepoise lamps have become highly sort after, however there’s a lot of misinformation and plenty of mis-selling going on. This page is a rough guide intended to help you date your lamp  (I don’t mean taking it out to a fancy restaurant, you are of course, welcome to do so but you’l get some funny looks!).

If your looking to buy a 1227 be careful, ALOT of 1227 Anglepoise’s are sold as being from the 1930’s. Most of the time this is not the case! 1930s examples are very very rare, most 1227’s that come on the market are from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

So heres what to look out for

The three tier 1935-38 model:

(Image courtesy of 30-something.co.uk)

  • It will have a three step base, cast base.
  • It’s arm will be made out of steel.
  • it will have a slimmer shade than later models with sets pin-holes on the sides for ventilation. These will usually be aluminium as with most Anglepoise shades but on rare occasions they are sometimes Bakelite.
  • There will be a large knurled screw adjuster about halfway up the lower part of the arm.
  • there will be a small bolt near the top of the second part of the arm which holds in place the ‘wrist’ for the shade.
  • The the ‘V’ section at the bottom will ALWAYS look different to later models, being made of three parts rather than later single castings. This gives the appearance of  the centre being a raised (this is chromed). The word Anglepoise is indented into this.
  • There will usually be a large earthing screw on the rear side of the ‘V’ section. I say usually because on very early and very very rare examples the bolt had not yet been added. These lamps may also be stamped ‘Pats Pending’ rather than the later ‘Patented’ stamp.
  • Chrome bars there will be two slotted though the ‘V’ section.  A wider one which holds the two outer springs in place and a smaller one that holds the middle spring. Sometimes this is not present and the wider bar holds all three, but in this case there should be a hole for the missing part.
  • Springs: the springs if original will be simple. they will simply loop around at the top and bottom, if there is a cap of any kind they areprobly later replacements

This model is very rare and if you have one then its worth something. Properly restored or good condition ones can go for anything up to £350 (ish) sometimes more in antique shops.

Beware Lamps of Questionable Origins:

There are sometimes lamps that may appear to be older than they actually are. According to some of the experts and dealers I have talked to, there is a practice among some less reputable dealers where they take the 2 step versions of the 1227 (usually the early post-1938 versions which had several similarities to the1935 three-step) and add a modern reproduction three-step base to them in order to give the impression of the earlier and rarer and more valuable  ‘three step’.

There are tell tale signs: (these are NOT proof however just indicators).

  • The Base: On original three step the casing was quite rough with rounded edges, this was the reason they used crincle paint; to hide the imperfections. This means if you see one that is a bit to perfect with crisp edges and a smooth or chrome finnish theres a chance it may not be original. However this is not proof  as it is possible that the original rough casting has been machined to be smooth in order for it to be chromed.
  • The ‘V’ section ( the bit that attaches the arm to the base): Original three steps had a ‘V’ section made out of several separate parts bolted together. so If you see a 3 step do with a ‘V’ section consisting of a single casting, it might be worth thinking twice, as this is generally only found on later versions (usually post1938).

There is some controversy on this because there were so many variants of the 1227. Especially post WW2 when due to materials shortages it was not uncommon for left over parts to be used up, resulting in ‘Frankenstein’ lamps with parts from different eras.

It’s something to be wary off so its important if your spending a substantial amount to be sure you are using a reputable seller. If your concerned ask what work has been done and if possible  ask to see photos of the lamp pre-restoration. [NOTE: Sometimes reputable sellers may have bought stock in good faith, they may not be aware of an individual lamps origins themselves].

The first two tier 1938- early 1948 * 

In a-lot of places people say this version stayed the same for the rest of its production, this is not the case! The Early two step base 1227:

  • Will have a shade virtually identical to that of the three step, that is smaller than later versions and with pin holes in the sides.
  • The shade may in some cases have small holes in the rear as well as the sides (though this is sometimes also found on some examples of 3 tier step lamps)
  • The arm will also be  nearly identical: steel and with the same large knurled adjuster, and little bolt to hold the wrist in place.
  • the base will have two steps and NO cover, if its been stripped this will look a bit knobbly as the castings were not finely finished.  also if you turn it over the base will have no recess for a nut, instead the base itself will be threaded to attach the ‘V’ section.
  • Paint, if its original this will be a form of lumpy crackle effect paint, Terry an sons used this to hide imperfections in the castings.
  • The ‘V’ section varies on these, its normally the later cast section which remained virtually unchanged (apart from the number of holes drilled though it) for the rest of the 1227’s life (with the exception of the modern re-issue) but sometimes they have the earlier version seen on the Three steps.
  • The cast ‘V’ section on these while very similar is slightly taller than on later versions.
  • Chrome bars: same as the three step.
  • Springs: same as the three step.

During the Second World War Terry and sons made very few lamps for the domestic market and didn’t really scale up production again until the 1950’s. These are also relatively rare and while not as valuable as the Three tier base are still sought after.

The most common two tier late; 1948/1952 – the beginning of the1960s

(dates are approximate, some sources indicate 1952 being the initial manufacture date of this lamp while others indicate it may have been produced three of years prior to this)

(Image courtesy of 30-something.co.uk)

There are a few notable differences here:

  • Larger shade, especially at the back, with ventilation holes only on the back (no side pin holes).
  • the arm is made from aluminium (due to steel shortages after the war). If its painted you can tell the difference as theres a more rounded edge to the corners of square cross section.
  • Smaller knurled adjuster bolt this time near the bottom of the lower part of the arm
  • The base will have a painted cap over the cast base and there will be a recess in the bottom for a nut to attach the arm.
  • The springs will have an adjustable cap on the top with a small bent hook on the top( this allows the tension of the spring to be adjusted).

This is the the joint (with the later model) most common version of the Anglepoise. It is also the archetypal and most iconic version, not to be sniffed at at all.

The final 1227 two tier (well until the re-issue that is!) 1960s-1969


Image by kind permission from: http://www.autrefois-la-lumiere.com/2011/02/lampe-anglepoise-1227.html#

This is virtually identical the above but there are a few differences:

  • There will be no rim on the shade. All previous versions had this but not this one.
  • There is a sharper angle at the back of the shade, making the back very flat.
  • The hinge that attached the three sections of the lower arms together at the bottom if replaced by an single plastic casting. Its difficult to explain This is what I mean compared to This
  • the higher crossbar and in fill bits that slot into the tops and bottoms of the arms are all plastic ( on earlier lamps these are always chromed metal).
  • the springs will have caps with drilled out holes in the tops.
  • The very last of these had the same ‘v’ section as found on the Anglepoise 75 which replaced the 1227. These are rounded  at the bottom with an oval makers plate.

This is probably the least desirable version of the 1227, the fittings have a cheaper feel and the plastic hinge often breaks and is difficult to find a replacement for.

Also due to the lack of a rim on the shade, the shade dents and mis shapes more easily. But IT IS STILL WORTH RESTORING.

The ‘New’ Anglepoise Original 1227.   2009-present

(Image from anglepoise.co.uk)

To celebrate the 75 anniversary of the initial release 1227 Terry and sons re-launched the 1227 in 2009 (I know that would mean it came out in 1934 but 1935 is what iv got).

Ok I know if you’v got one of these you probably know its new but anyway…This version is nicely made an cherry picks a few nice elements from from the 1227’s history (and one form the type 75).

  • The ‘V’ section (i know i keep calling it a V but it could be a U or a Y, hell it could be anything) looks a-lot like those found on the early Three step based models from the 1930’s but without the earthing bolt. 
  • the arm is aluminium like all post war anglepoise’s but t has a nice big knurled adjuster: this looks like those found on earlier models but is at the bottom of the arm like later models.
  • the shade is the shape of the 1950’s version a part from the ventilation holes which are long slotted holes in the rear rather than circular ones.
  • At the bottom of the arms there is a gap between the chrome and the metal, it is flush on earlier lamps.
  • also the cable does not come through the ‘wrist’ instead it pop out of the back of the upper arm and the cable go’s down on the inside at the ‘elbow’ just like you’d see on the type 75 anglepoise.
  • the springs are also simple, a bit like those found on the 1930s 3 and 2 steps.
  • main difference is its almost always shinny, but hey its new.
Please be aware that there are many MANY variants due to constantly changing production, material shortages, using up old parts etc. If your variant isn’t here this is not to surprising hence this being a VERY rough guide.
* Thanks to Robert Munro, for this information based on two adverts both from 1948, one with the earlier 2 step, the other with the later version. This indicates that this was the cross over year.
All images are here are obtained from the internet, if an image is yours and you wish me to remove it, message me and i will take it down.

16 thoughts on “A very rough guide to dating your 1227

  1. Good, useful blog. Suffering here from the same obsession with the Anglepoise.

    Black 3 tier
    Black and chrome 3 tier
    Green and chrome 3 tier
    About 2 more in bits and 1st generation 2 tier
    (Need a blue and chrome 3 tier)

    As you already know, not everything clear cut.
    My black and chrome 3 tier example has the four larger additional holes to the shade. And has a silver presentation plate attached to the base for a retiring vicar dated October 1937.
    No doubts about lamp, very original, unmessed with condition when I got it.
    Would indicate holes added prior to late ’37 (?).


  2. Our lamp is latte colour with a round base and original wiring. There are two metal plates bearing Made in England by Herbert Terry & Sons LTD Redditch. Would you be able to date this model please.

  3. Just after your opinion – have a three tier blue in orginal condtion. It works but the light fitting is a little loose and I am debating whether I should replace it with a modern chrome replica fitting which I can buy on the internet – should I do so or would this detract from its value?

  4. A very interesting history on these lamps.
    There doesn’t however seem to be any mention of the dreaded inline switch. As far as I am aware, virtually all of the the original anglepoises had switched lampholders (as the 1228 has now) putting the switch where it’s needed, in your hand.
    There appears to be a tendancy (started by Anglepoise themselves) to migrate these switches to the inline version which leaves them somewhere between the power socket and lamp base, usually hanging down the back of furniture where they cannot easily be reached.
    These things are turning up on classic restorations – I cannot believe that switched fittings are not available.

    • Hi, while there are switched lamp holders out there there are very few of a high quality and none that replicate the shape of the original Crabtree holders . for a time Anglepoise themselves did offer a rewire kit with something akin to the original but they have now stopped producing this. The trouble with the old Crabtree Bakelite holders is that the heat build up over the years tends to break down the internal mechanism. All of the lamps that i have had have had this problem. some restorers do find deadstock originals to use however these have become increasingly rare and subsequently prohibitively expensive.

  5. Regarding the very early Pats Pending three steps, I’ve seen ebay examples which, like the earliest 1209s, had no upper spreader bar; three step lamps without it maybe the earliest of their type? Also the hinge, tensioners, springs and spring bars show no signs of being chromed and are inevitably rusty.

    The South African patent was applied for on 23 January 1935 and given on 23 May. Quicker and maybe less exacting than GB patents.

  6. Hi. This is a very interesting blog. I’m interested by your comment that the early two step models should have ” NO steel cover” . I have a very original early two step with a steel cover over a cast base as described above. I also have a later two step with a tall cast V section but with only one hole drilled for the spring bar. In both cases I think this backs up your comment that there were transitional periods and times when the company used up old stock of parts. I hope this is of interest.

  7. Hi , I have a three tier and have not ever seen one before and that was on the 30 somethings website and just sold for £400 , it has the four holes in the rear of the shade and small pin holes around the circumference of the rear end of the shade , what’s different is the V section …mine and the one on 30 something is one piece but has two bars at different heights in it for the spring , I never see this on any I view and must be a end of the first run of them but with an experimental V section , do you know anything about this one ?
    It has the chrome arms and is in great condition , shade indented , I’d call it A1 condition .

  8. Hello, very interesting blog. I was wondering if anyone could help me with a restoration question. I have a two step mid era lamp and unfortunately the side arm springs are missing. The replacements i have are too small for the original rivet pins as the original springs were the wire type rather than the solid with drilled holes. I bought replacement pins and removed the old ones but am not sure how to attach the new rivet pins or wether i need a collar to fit inside the chrome spacer? I tried asking 30 something /art deco lighting who i bought the pins from but no one could be bothered to get back to me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  9. I have a lamp that is an early model in every respect yet it does have a cover on the base. I have seen other early models with the same. As there is a gap of 5 years, according to the above, after the end of the early models until the introduction of steel base covers do you have any ideas?

    • from what i can gather there were often no exact set dates for different versions so there was often overlap and using up of old parts. In all likelihood the factory may have been using up old stock of arms and shades from older designs while producing newer ones. As a result you’l sometimes see earlier designed lamps with later bases, You’ll also occasionally see things like 3 step lamps with the later tuning for sections.

  10. Hi there,
    Very useful site! I have seen late model 1227 lamps with Ashley rather than Crabtree bulb holders that appear to be original. Do you know when they stopped using Crabtree and started using Ashley bulb holders?
    Thanks for your time.

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