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Lightolier Lytegem Desk Lamp

Materials: White plastic cube base. White plastic bottom lid. Extendable chrome antenna rod. 2 chrome joints. Some metal and plastic parts. Globe/eyeball lampshade.  Metal CP socket.

Lampshade: ∅ 8 cm / 3.14”

Height: 15,5 -> 40 cm / 6.10 -> 15.74” – Adjustable

Base: 6,5 x 6,5 cm / 2.55 x 2.55”

Electricity: 1 bulb 32 CP (automotive), 1 x 25 watt maximum, 12 volt – 220 volt. Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.

Period: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s – Mid-Century Modern.

Designer: Michael Lax in 1965.

Manufacturer: Lightolier Inc., Fall River, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Other versions: The Lightolier Lytegem desk lamp exists in many colours. Also chrome, walnut & brass lamps were made. It has a switch with a high and low (6 and 12 volt) setting. A mechanism used for many other telescopic or antenna lamps from that period.

In 2003, Lightolier relaunched it for their 100th anniversary.

Beware when you want to buy one. Many are for sale in the USA, but they are all 110 volt.

Michael Lax

Michael Lax, born November 8, 1929, in New York City, was an industrial designer. He graduated in 1947 from the New York School of Music and Art and in 1951 from the Alfred University’s New York State College of Ceramics.

In 1954, he went to Finland where he learned Scandinavian modern design. His first succes as a designer was with enamelled cast iron cookware for the Copco company.

In 1965, Lax designed this low-voltage, high-intensity Lytegem table lamp. It was a huge succes and became part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, USA.

Michael Lax passed away, May 25, 1999 in Bridgehampton, New York.


The Lightolier Inc. company was founded in 1904 by Bernhard Blitzer under the name of New York Gas and Appliance Company. Later the name changed into Lightolier Inc. when electric light became more widely accepted. The name Lightolier is a contraction of the words light and chandelier.

In the 1960s Lightolier introduced the first track lighting system, designed by Anthony Donato. Lightolier also produced a huge amount of lamps designed by Gaetano Sciolari in the sixties and seventies. His Cubic chandelier was a big success in the States thanks to it’s presence in the Dallas TV series and in the James Bond film Live and Let Die (1973). The Lytegem series was designed by Michael Lax. The most well known designer of the firm was Gerald Thurston. More information about the designer over here on Vintageinfo.

Lightolier was the first lighting company to introduce digital lighting systems in the early nineties. In 2007, Koninklijke Philips N.V. from the Netherlands (Philips Royal Electronics) announced that it would acquire the Genlyte Group which would make Lightolier a part of Philips.

Lightolier Lytegem desk lamp together with the Lyric desk lamp.

Lightolier Lytegem desk lamp & Lyric table lamp 1965 design: Michael Lax USA 1960s 1970s

Lightolier Lytegem Desk Lamp – Publicity

Lightolier Lytegem Desk Lamp - Advertisement & Catalogue Pictures