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Philips President Desk Lamp

Materials: Dark grey painted round flat aluminium base with the Philips logo stamped in it. Cast iron counterweight inside the base. Chromed metal (iron) rod. Round anodised mushroom style aluminium lampshade. Some metal parts. 2 Metal (iron) E27 sockets.

Height: 47 cm / 18.50”

Width: ∅ 41 cm / 16.14”

Electricity: 2 bulbs E27, 2 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, not a specific one preferred.

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

Designer: To be appraised, after a Louis Kalff design.

Manufacturer: Philips, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Other versions: The Philips President desk lamp was also made with a lampshade with 10 round perforations in a circle around the chromed part on top. In the seventies the name of this lamp changed in Toulouse. The Toulouse has a triple switch for more settings. Toulouse is a city in France.

This lamp has 2 switches, one for every light bulb. It can be used with a special bulb with 2 filaments. Like the one in your car when you use your big lights (toggle switch). These bulbs are no longer for sale. They were made in 25/60 watt or 40/100 watt. Fortunately, ordinary light bulbs can also be used.

The Toulouse can be switched to 40, 60 , 80, 100, 120, 140, 160 and 200 watt. It uses light bulbs with 3 filaments. Also, these bulbs are no longer for sale.

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 1891 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.  Frederik Philips was a Jewish banker based in Zaltbommel, also in The Netherlands.

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 May 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 a freelancer he also designed posters and advertising for the Holland America Line, Calvé, Zeebad Scheveningen, Holland Radio and many others. He also designed book covers.

After World War II Louis Kalff kept himself active in industrial design for Philips. After his retirement in 1960, he 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 Major and President/Toulouse desk lamps in a seventies Philips catalogue.

Louis Kalff President & Major desk lamps 1970 catalogue Philips 1960s vintage lighting MCM