The collection
Desk lamp with rounded black plastic shade and conical aluminum stem that tapers down to a rounded black base.

Desk Lamp, Executive

Designed by
Walter Dorwin Teague (1883–1960)
Bakelite, aluminum, cellulose film
Produced by
Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts
33.3 x 25.6 x 23.1 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, D82.113.1

This streamlined lamp was the result of the creative abilities of two men: Edwin H. Land invented and patented polarizing materials in 1933, which revolutionized the control of light in products from sunglasses to cameras to lamps. Walter Dorwin Teague made Land’s materials look revolutionary in this futuristic design for Polaroid. Its base, shaft, and hood are all smooth rounded forms set in dynamic counterpoint.

The dark Bakelite of hood and base contrasts with the shine of the aluminum shaft, and it illuminated a larger area, covering an entire newspaper evenly. The lamp sold for $9.75. Teague was an example of the modern industrial designer who analyzed manufacturing, sales, and advertising methods while designing a product.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.