Vintage Info – All About Vintage Lighting

Many thanks to Herwig Sterckx and Fons Vandervaeren for the enlightening information.

1960s Opal Glass Table Lamp

Materials: Lamp made in a similar shape to a light bulb. White opal frosted/mat glass. White painted Bakelite socket. Brass rod inside the lamp. Brown felt on the bottom.

Height: 24 cm / 9.44”

Width: ∅ 17 cm / 6.69”

Base: ∅ 11 cm / 4.33”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, but a small round opaque/frosted light bulb is preferred.

Period: 1960s, 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Herwig and Frank Sterckx (born 1948).

Manufacturer: Glasfabriek De Rupel N.V., Boom, Belgium.

Other versions: This 1960s opal glass table lamp was made in several colours.

Produced by Glasfabriek De Rupel, sold by Massive.

Herwig and Frank Sterckx

Herwig and Frank Sterckx are graphic designers from Antwerp, Belgium. The twin brothers studied at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten van Antwerpen (Royal Academy of Fine Arts).

Their dad, Piet Sterckx was a journalist and he wrote an article for a newspaper about the Spanish glass blowers that worked in the glass factory in Boom,N.V. Glasfabriek De Rupel” (Limited Liability Company Glass Factory De Rupel), named after the river that runs along the city.

The director of the glass factory asked Piet Sterckx if he knew someone who could make modern designs. He first asked his sons that then studied at the academy in Antwerp. In the period 1968 – 1969, the duo designed a whole series of lamps for De Rupel. All the lamps were hand blown in steel molds. The test pieces were first blown into wooden molds. 

Herwig and Frank Sterckx, students at that time, never heard anything about production and were never paid for their work. The director died suddenly and the successor claimed not to believe in the modern direction.

Glasfabriek De Rupel

The glass factory was founded in 1923. De Rupel was led by Léon Boon, one of the 30 investors. Léon Boon was a butcher and due to back problems he was appointed chairman of the management board. The company produced many glass items. Chandeliers and parts for lamps were produced since the 1930s.

De Rupel was a glass producer, they did not commercialize the lighting themselves. The lamps were offered at trade fairs to lighting companies who added the wiring and included them in their sales range. They produced glass for companies such as Massive, Philips and Bo-Niko. Many lamps on Vintageinfo uses glass from De Rupel. Some examples can be found in the links.

The glassworks went bankrupt in 1975 after it merges with 3 other Belgian glass companies: Doyen, Boussu and Verreries Nouvelles de Manage (New Glassworks of Manage). The fusion was without success. Glass production in Belgium became to expensive. De Rupel was the only factory that made a slight profit. The joint name was MANUVERBEL (Manufacture Belge du Verre – Belgian Glass Factory). 

The company was sold by the Belgian government to the German company BEGA Gantenbrink-Leuchten, also owner of Glashütte Limburg and dismantled. The government wanted to recoup the overdue social security contributions.

Today the BOOM company produces outdoor lighting and is located in Puurs, Belgium. It is named BOOM Buitenverlichting NV (BOOM Outdoor Lighting Limited Liability Company).

Echo

In addition to designing, the twins also had a modest career on television, but with a major impact. At that time there was only 1 TV station, named the BRT, (Belgian Radio and TV) so everyone watched it. 

They were a gimmick in the Echo show: the two guys with a ladder (De ladderdragers). Herwig and Frank Sterckx always just walked by and no further attention was paid to them. The program makers never gave any explanation, so the duo naturally started to intrigue.

Below a fragment of the duo, recorded in Wetteren on March 14, 1969. The ladder of the two weird guys caught fire on the market and the fire brigade had to rush out…

Echo was a Flemish human interest program that was broadcast every week from 1961 to 1973. Around 8,400 mini-reports were made. The program was often awarded.

Massive

Massive was in origin a bronze foundry and they produced mainly candlesticks, crucifixes and chandeliers in Wilrijk near Antwerp, Belgium. The company was founded in 1926 by Pieter-Jozef De Jaeck.

His son Eddy De Jaeck was responsible for the huge expansion of the company in the 1970s. But it were his sons, Piet and Jan De Jaeck who made Massive a true multinational. Thus, they moved production to Eastern Europe and China.

In the 1980s Massive became the leading brand in Europe. In 2002, the brothers left the company to the investment fund CVC Capital Partners, for allegedly more than 250 million euros. 

Since 2008 the company is owned by Philips and the name of the shops is changed into Light Gallery.

When the takeover by Philips was announced in November 2006 Massive commercialized more than 10.000 lighting products under brand names such as MassiveTRIO and Lirio. The group had about 5.000 employees worldwide and was active in 70 countries.

VLM Components

All the electric parts were made by VLM Components in the 1970s. VLM Components was founded in 1945 in Buccinasco, a small village near MilanItaly. The firm is part of the Relco Group, founded in 1967. Today they are the owners of the brands RelcoLeuciRelco LightingVLM Components and SegnoVLM Components became famous for the switches they produce which were designed by Achille Castiglioni in 1968.