OMI Desk Lamp
First of all, the Koch & Lowy OMI story is a HOAX! Someone with a lot of imagination has ever made this up… The same story with DMI.
Materials: Red painted round metal (iron) base. Cast iron counterweight inside the base. Green felt on the bottom of the base. Long red painted brass rod. Red painted elongated aluminium lampshade, painted white inside. Bakelite E27 socket.
Height: 61 cm / 24.01”
Lampshade: ∅ 12 cm / 4.72”
Base: ∅ 12 cm / 4.72”
Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 75 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.
Period: 1970s – Mid-Century Modern.
Designer: To be appraised.
Manufacturer: Massive, Kontich and Wommelgem, Belgium.
Other versions: This OMI desk lamp exists in several colours.
When you do a search on the internet for the OMI mark on the chromed knee joint, you always find lamps that are described as lamps designed by Koch & Lowy for OMI.
Koch & Lowy is not a design team, but an American light company and has got nothing to do with this lamp. Koch & Lowy used OMI joints for their lamps, hence the confusion. Today Koch & Lowy is owned by Chapman Manufacturing Company, Inc. from Avon, Massachusetts, USA. Some say OMI Switzerland, of course, there is nothing to be found about a Swiss company with that name.
Others say OMI DBGM, because sometimes it is written on the knee joint. DBGM is not some type of company, but it is German for utility model, “gebrauchsmuster” in German. Only used in Germany and Austria: Deutsches Bundes-Gebrauchsmuster. To keep it simple, the knee joint is made by a company named OMI and the mechanism is licensed for some period, most of the time 10 years: the small brother of a patent.
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 commercialised more than 10.000 lighting products under brand names such as Massive, TRIO and Lirio. The group had about 5.000 employees worldwide and was active in 70 countries.
Massive sold many lamps made by others. Peill + Putzler from Germany and Yamada Shomei from Japan produced lamps for Massive, to name a few. Many other lighting companies did.
The OMI company is Otto Meinzer GmbH & Co Metallwarenfabrik from Iserlohn in Germany (Otto Meinzer Iserlohn). It is a manufacturer of chromed brass joints for the lighting industry. The joints are marked with the OMI mark. The company was founded more than 50 years ago. They never produced lamps.
Companies that use OMI parts are among others: Atelje Lyktan, Sweden, Massive, Belgium, Fase, Spain, Hustadt Leuchten, Germany, Abo Randers, Denmark, Steinhauer, The Netherlands and many more.
Another joint maker that is often linked on the Koch & Lowy story is DMI.
All the electric parts were produced by VLM Components in the 60s and early 70s. The company was founded in 1945 in Buccinasco, a small village near Milan, Italy. The company became famous for the switches they produce since 1968, designed by Achille Castiglioni.
VLM is part of the Relco Group, founded in 1967. Today they are the owners of the brands Relco, Leuci, Relco Lighting, VLM and Segno.