Palainco Seriously light minded

Curiosity from the Palainco archive: Falkenbergs’ rescue of secretaries

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After the widespread adoption of the typewriter there was a great demand for secretaries. But the secretary’s job could be hard work; a secretary often had to sit for hours at a desk producing documents while sometimes working conditions were far from ideal. This prompted Swedish lighting company Falkenbergs in the 1970s to design a range of lamps especially for secretaries.

  • A table lamp that was “completely glare free” and would “spread the light in such a way that maximum illumination falls on the work area” (source: catalogue Manus, Delux & Milux, second half 1970s) would already have helped solve the problem of insufficient lighting. The models Delux and Milux fully met this requirement.

  • Palainco_2_Falkenbergs_Catalogue_Manux_Delux_Milux_Page_07_Archive_Detail- Delux and Milux, lamps by Falkenbergs that “…spread the light in such a way that maximum illumination falls on the work area” (catalogue Manus, Delux & Milux from the Palainco archive).
  • Falkenbergs, however, did not only look at the most obvious thing. By identifying that lighting is just one of the factors that influences the work environment they implicitly gave themselves the task to work on a one-stop solution. They started looking for an innovation that would “form a physical environment that must be adaptable individually to both the user and the task” (catalogue Manus, Delux & Milux).

    Another impactful day-to-day issue was the position of the manuscript; a text lying horizontally on the desktop forced the secretary to hold her body in a way that often put a severe strain on her back.

  • Palainco_4_Falkenbergs_Manux_Delux_Milux_Archive_H_Armstrong_Roberts_Retrofile_Getty_Images_B-









    Falkenbergs did their homework and noticed how experienced secretaries solved this issue themselves in a pragmatic way: they simply put their notebook upright.


  • Palainco_5_Falkenbergs_Catalogue_Manux_Delux_Milux_Page_05_Archive-5 Also available with a fixing clamp and in five different colours (catalogue Manus, Delux & Milux (from the Palainco archive).
  • And that is where the third product by Falkenbergs comes in: Manus, a lamp combined with a manuscript stand.

    We really like Manus, as it offers solutions for different problems. The lamp is completely glare free, not only for the workplace but also for the surroundings. The height is adjustable and it can be tilted and rotated. The manuscript can be placed in the proper slanted position at the proper distance and height. And it offers a special feature: a ruler, which can be operated manually or even with a pedal.

    In other words, with Manus each secretary could adjust the work place fully to her demands without having to struggle with sight or back problems!

  • Palainco_6_Falkenbergs_Catalogue_Manux_Delux_Milux_Page_11_Archive_Detail- With Manus the secretaries were also fully prepared for the computer age! (catalogue Manus, Delux & Milux from the Palainco archive).
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    • Design of Manus, Delux & Milux: S. Björklund and L. Gustafsson, early 1980s.
    • Literature: Falkenbergs Catalogue Manus & Delux Milux.

    Unless otherwise stated, all material is sourced and/or generated internally. All rights reserved.

    • Text: Palainco, Koos Logger & Ingrid Stadler.
    • Image sources: The Palainco archive.

    The article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any part or form without the prior written permission of the copyright holders.

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