Vintage Info – All About Vintage Lighting

Louis Kalff desk lamp from the 1950s and 1960s

Louis Kalff Philips Desk Lamp

1970s-1980s box of the Timor 69 with the grounded wire

Philips Timor 69 Desk Lamp - Box

The Philips logos trough the years

Philips Major desk lamp in the catalogue

Philips Major Desk Lamp - catalogue picture

1970s-1980s box of the Timor 69

Philips Timor 69 Desk Lamp - Box

Used as a prop in the 2017 TV-series La Fôret (The Forrest). La Forêt is a French/Belgium crime series that was shown on La Une and Canvas (Belgium) and on France 3 (France). The story goes about a sixteen-year-old girl that disappears from her village in the Ardennes and the investigation about it.

Philips Major Desk Lamp - La Fôret TV Series (2017)

Many thanks to Hans from Objeta for the additional photos and the enthusiasm.


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Philips Major Desk Lamp


Materials: Brass. Dark green painted aluminium lampshade and base. The lampshade is painted white inside. Cast iron counterweight inside the base. Bakelite socket.

Height: 64,5 cm / 25.39”

Width: ∅ 33,5 cm / 13.18”

Base: ∅ 11,5 cm /4.52”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 100 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used. A big silver cup/crown/bowl bulb is preferred. There is a difference in sizes between 60 and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs. The 100 watt bulb is preferred.

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

Designer:  Louis Christiaan Kalff – attributed.

Manufacturer: Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Major/Timor: This lamp has two names. The first name in the early 70s was Major. In the late 1970s it became Timor (69). This desk lamp was produced until the 80s. It is based on a design by Louis Kalff as you can see on the left.

The difference between the two desk lamps is that the Timor is earthed, the Major is not.

In all probability this lamp was re-designed by the internal design-team of Philips. It is possible that it was approved by mister Kalff, since he has an advisory function for the company after his retirement. Louis Kalff started to work for Philips in 1925.

Koninklijke Philips N.V.

Inspired by the fast-growing electricity industry and the promising results of Gerard Philips own experiments to make reliable carbon filaments, Frederik Philips (his father) financed the purchase of a modest factory in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in 1891.  Frederik Philips was a Jewish banker based in Zaltbommel.

In 1895, after difficult first four years and near bankruptcy, Anton Philips joined the company. He was Gerard’s younger brother. With Anton’s arrival, the family business began to expand rapidly. The brothers changed their family business by founding the Philips corporation. They laid the foundations for the later electronics multinational.

In 1930 the first shaver of the Philips company was introduced and was simply called “The Philishave”.

A day before the German invasion in the Netherlands on 9 Mai 1940, the Philips family fled to the United States of America, taking a large amount of the company capital with them.

Operating from the US as the North American Philips Company, they managed to run the company throughout the war. After World War II the company was moved back to the Netherlands, with their headquarters in Eindhoven.

Louis Christiaan Kalff (Amsterdam, November 14th 1897 – Waalre, September 16th, 1976)

Louis Kalff was a pioneering industrial designer in the Netherlands during the first half of the 20th century. With a solid background including studies in sculpture, ceramics, furniture design and architecture, he began to work for the Philips company in 1924,  department consumer electronics company marketing.

In 1929 he started a department for design of lighting products (LIBU – Lichtadviesbureau (Dutch for light consultancy). Louis Kalff was responsible for the lighting sections of the World Exhibitions in Barcelona, Antwerp and Paris.

 As freelancer he also designed posters and advertising for the Holland America Line, Calvé, Zeebad Scheveningen, Holland Radio and others. Louis Kalff also designed book covers.

After World War II Kalff kept himself active in industrial design for Philips. After his retirement in 1960, Louis Kalff stayed with Philips as a consultant and architect. In 1961 he was given the direction and execution of the Evoluon building in Eindhoven. It was the last work of the light architect who almost worked for forty years at the Philips group.

Louis Kalff Timor and Major lamps before a restoration 

Philips Major Desk Lamp - Timor and Major lamps before a restoration 

Philips Major Desk Lamp - Timor and Major lamps before a restoration 

Philips Major Desk Lamp - Timor and Major lamps before a restoration 

Used as a prop in the 2008 movie L’Instinct de Mort – Public Enemy Number One (Part 1). The story of french gangster Jacques Mesrine, before he was called Public Enemy N°1.

Philips Major Desk Lamp - L'Instinct De Mort (2008) Public Enemy Number One (Part 1)