Loomlight + Thorlux Heritage Range
Here at Loomlight, we specialise in reclaimed and beautifully restored heritage lighting which means we can’t always guarantee the availability of some of our fixtures. There is something very satisfying about buying a a one-off but it can also be very frustrating if you need three!
Some of our most popular light fixtures are the original factory style Thorlux enamel ceiling pendants, which are getting harder to source thanks to the growing popularity of these high-quality, timeless products, designed and made here in England.
So we are thrilled to be partnering Thorlux, a move which enables us to offer iconic pieces from their Heritage range on our website and means quantity will no longer be an issue.
A recent tour of the Thorlux factory in Redditch was the highlight of our month. Getting out of the workshop and home office, travelling to meet people face (mask) to face (mask) felt like a novelty. We are already huge fans of Thorlux, having salvaged and restored many of their fixtures in the past. But what we learnt during our visit confirmed our view of the brand as a world-leading example of British craftsmanship.
This is a family firm steeped in history and tradition. From 1936 when Frederick Thorpe founded Thorlux, up to the present day, the Thorpe family has remained central to the management of the company. The key to a great business is its people and during our tour, we spoke to scores of staff members proud to describe themselves as true ‘lifers’, having been with the company for 20, 30 even 40 years. Several directors had joined the company at the age of 16 as apprentices, learning their trade on the factory floor then rising through the ranks, carefully mentored to become senior managers. Their people know the business inside out and are like gold dust. That speaks volumes about Thorlux and its values.
We were particularly fascinated by the variety of manufacturing techniques on show. In one part of the factory, large, highly technical Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines were cutting out the parts robotically as staff members busily transported large volumes of them to the relevant departments for assembly. Thorlux has a huge turnover of modern luminaires for commercial purposes but the firm remains closely in touch with its roots. Walking just 20 metres into the Spinning Department where the Thorlux Heritage range is made felt like stepping back in time - a jaw-dropping experience for anyone interested in historical manufacturing methods. Here traditional spinning techniques are still part of the Thorlux culture and an integral part of the process. The pendants are made using the original 1936 tools, physical embodiments of the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. In the Spinning Department, steel and aluminium components are still produced by hand, using traditional spinning machines, cutting machines and lathes. The craftsmen working here look as though they too are made of steel, creating the ceiling pendants in time-honoured style.
We watched, mesmerised, as the metal was rotated on the spinning machine while the expert spinner wielded a long metal rod to push, mould and shape it, transforming it within a few minutes from a flat sheet of steel into the perfect ceiling pendant. At first sight, the process seemed smooth and apparently effortless, but at close quarters it was soon clear that this demanded huge reserves of strength and stamina from the spinner himself. One, with over 20 years’ spinning experience – and the muscles to prove it - revealed that he could turn out around 20 pendants in an hour. No wonder he looked a bit like Iron Man.
We are enormously proud that the products in our new Thorlux lighting range will come straight from the Thorlux Spinning Department, handcrafted, using the same timeless British design and techniques as the 1930s originals. Loomlight can then customise the lighting in our workshop, painting the pendants in a range of colours as required.
We believe that this partnership will prove fruitful and satisfying, giving many more lovers of historic craftsmanship and industrial art the chance to acquire some of the most distinctive examples of Midlands manufacturing genius, and enhance any setting.
See the full range here. Please get in touch with us directly for large quantities and trade order quotes.