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Milestone


A1 Lighting catches up with Andrew Thorpe, chairman of Thorlux Lighting, which celebrated its 75th anniversary at this year’s ARC Show.


The Thorlux Lighting stand at this year’s ARC Show gave a firm nod to the past during the company’s 75-year history. The stand was designed to illustrate the company’s history and heritage alongside the latest developments in LED luminaires. A photographic timeline incorporating documents and pictures from as far back as 1936 through to the modern day emphasised the changes in production methods and technology over the last 75 years. Central to the display was an original nose cone from a Spitfire aircraft, spun at the Thorlux factory during World War 2, and a 1940s vitreous enamelled reflector.


Q How did you first become involved in the lighting industry?


I started at Thorlux in April 1972, following my father and grandfather into the company. After finishing school I decided that my interest in lighting combined with the obvious advantages of joining a family business outweighed any other options. After serving an apprenticeship I worked in various parts of the business leading to the positions of export sales director, manufacturing director and managing director of Thorlux Lighting. In 2000 I became joint chief executive and in 2003 Group (F. W. Thorpe plc) Chairman.


1936


Thorlux Lighting was founded by Frederick William Thorpe and his son Ernest. Based in a small factory in Small Heath, Birmingham, they initially designed and manufactured vitreous enamelled steel reflectors.


32


1939


Thorlux was struggling to keep up with orders and moved to larger premises in Hall Green, Birmingham. During wartime, alongside the production of circular reflectors for gas filled and mercury discharge lamps, the company was spinning nose cones for Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft.


1963


The company moved to a purpose built site in Kings Norton, Birmingham. Bulkheads for gas filled and discharge lamps were developed along with cast floodlights for tungsten halogen lamps. Further ranges were introduced to satisfy hazardous area requirements.


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