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Philips Tobrouk Table Lamp

Materials: Completely made of white opal glass. Round base with globe on top. Brass rod, Bakelite socket.

Height: 27 cm / 10.62”

Width: ∅ 17,5 cm / 6.88”

Base: ∅ 10,5 cm – 4.13”

Electricity: 1 bulb E27, 1 x 60 watt maximum, 110/220 volt.
Any type of light bulb can be used, but preferably a small white or frosted one. 

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

Designer: Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt (1928-2014).

Manufacturer: Philips, Turnhout, Leuven, Belgium.

Other versions: Made in several colours and a few versions. The version of 38 cm (14.96”) high is made with two light bulbs inside, one in the base and one in the top of the lamp. It was made in the 1960s and 1970s. The design is slightly different. Later in the 1970s, early 80s they also made a this table lamp. It was also produced with a fluorescent light bulb; the Tobrouk – PL with an 11 watt bulb. As you can see below.

Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt was a Belgian designer, sculptor, and painter born in Etterbeek near Brussels in 1928. He died on 13 August 2014 at the age of 86. Emonds-Alt studied sculpture at the National School of Architecture and Decorative Arts (Ter Kameren – La Cambre) in Brussels, in the studio of Oscar Jespers, of which he later became assistant.

From 1964 onwards he devoted himself mainly to design, focusing on the shape of industrial products such as this table lamp he designed for PhilipsHe has been repeatedly honored for his work.

Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt also designed the Tahiti table lamp for Philips, a similar lamp also completely made of glass.

Emonds-Alt also designed the logo for the Brussels Metro in 1976.


Tobrouk (Tobruk) is a port city on Libya‘s eastern Mediterranean coast, near the border of Egypt. A strategic place were famous battles between the Nazi’s and the Allies took place. A movie was made about it in 1967, starring Rock Hudson and George Peppard. Maybe the name of this table lamp is based on this.

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.

1960s version of the Philips Tobrouk and Tahiti table lamps in a catalogue and on the right the label of the PL version
Photo below: Tobrouk table lamp spotted on the Puces du Design fair in Paris, April 2018

Philips Tobrouk Table Lamps catalogue picture designer: Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt

Philips Tobrouk Table Lamp opal glass round base with globe designer: Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt

Philips Tobrouk Table Lamp Puces du Design Paris designer: Jean-Paul Emonds-Alt