"Bubble" lamp


George Nelson ( American, 1907 - 1986 )


Howard Miller Clock Co. ( American, 1926 )

designed 1952
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General Description

George Nelson's Bubble lamps are familiar icons of Modernism, the streamlined form somehow evocative of both paper lanterns and the space race. Nelson designed the first bubble lamp in 1947, using a self-webbing plastic that was developed for military use. It was typical in the postwar era to incorporate these sorts of military materials in domestic products — even familiar materials like plywood had been greatly improved through military necessity. The result was a lamp that was safer to produce and more durable than a paper lantern, cheaper and easier to produce than a silk lantern he had been inspired by, and which, above all, was incredibly versatile and created an warm glow when illuminated.

Adapted from

DMA Label copy [2008.44.1-2], 2008.