Plastalux desk lamp

Selected because it is a classic design with a wonderful title, 'Plastalux', and we believe it must be possible to find out who designed it.

Plastalux desk lamp
Case number - PHSL : 153
This Ekco 'Plastalux' desk lamp, circa 1940s, has a lead weighted base, and is articulated with joints at the base and at the top of the support arm. The shade is an integral part of the overall design, as is the on/off switch in the base.
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DesignerUnknown - Wanted
ManufacturerEK Cole
Date1940-49 circa
Dimensionsheight 420 mm, width 150 mm, length 215 mm
Materialsplastic, PF, phenol formaldhyde, bakelite - generic term
Methodcompression moulded

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Plastalux desk light PHSL : 153 What a great name and a brilliant design manufactured by the famous firm of EK Cole. It must be possible to find out who designed this. Can you tell us?


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News from the Southend Echo in 2008...



Great stuff, Yvonne. Would you like to follow up the lead to Ken Crowe or would you like me to do that?


I was dropping breadcrumbs for others to follow... so feel free to continue.


Thank you. Will do.


Well, I wrote to Southend Museum but no reply received yet. Hopefully there will be something soon.


Nothing from Southend Museum but Guenter Latterman of Bayreuth University who owns this and a number of related lamps tells me he has the answers we are searching for. So keep watching if you are interested. It is certainly frequently reproduced in the literature on historic plastics. How about a trip to your library to see what you can find out there.


David Harman Powell writes: "I don't remember seeing it around when I was at EKCO , though in the 30's there was a strong tie with Germany , was it made under licence ?" Interesting lead. Would anyone take on the task of searching for EKCO's tie with Germany? I would start that by an internet search. It would be great to have a German player to take this on.


Guenter Latterman has solved this. The lamp was designed by Christian Dell (1893-1974), who worked at the Bauhaus and then at Frankfurt art school. Interesting that David Harman Powell mentions EKCO's link with Germany and that he doesn't remember seeing it around when he worked at ECKO. Guether tells us that the electrics were made by Stotz-Kontakt and the moulding by Roemmler AG. He has also sent an article he wrote about its different versions.


The catalogue page illustrates the prices as 38RM, an abbreviation of Reichsmark, which dates the publication as 1924-48.

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Case notes

Susan Lambert's picture

Plastalux desk lamp: Case PHSL : 153

A brilliant design manufactured by the famous firm of EK Cole. It must be possible to find out who designed this. Can you tell us?

Useful lead


Agent Yvonne Foster has provided a very useful lead as a result of photographs relating to Ekco that chart its history from 1945 coming to light. They should help narrow down the date. Hopefully they will also tell us the designer. We are in touch with the curator at Southend Museum.

Don't let this stop you doing your own search to find the designer.

German collector says he knows who designed it so watch this space


Guenter latterman of Bayreuth University who has one of the best collections of plastics in Germany has chapter and verse on this and it sending it through the post.

But we don't yet have the designer's name. 

Made under license in Germany?


Agent Harman Powell writes: 'I don't remember seeing it around when I was at EKCO, though in the 30's there was a strong tie with Germany, was it made under licence?

Can you throw more light on the German EKCO story?

Designed by Christian Dell

Dr Guenter Lattermann of Bayreuth has a collection of several versions of this lamp and is able to tell us that it was designed by Christian Dell (1893-1974) who was associated with both the Bauhaus and Frankfurt art school. It was moulded by Roemmler AG with electrics manufactured by Stotz-Kontact. We do not know the origins of the title: Plastalux, which we inherited from its PHS documentation. Dr Lattermann dates the lamp to 1929.

An article by Dr Lattermann about the lamp is availbale in the Evidence Locker.

This case is almost solved. I just want to try to tie up the odd loose end with Dr Lattermann.