Fit, misfit and unfit

Our kitchen light fixture started to char its plastic housing, so we went and bought a new China-made one, equipped with two concentric fluorescent lamps like its predecessor. It was only later, after much climbing ladders and drilling holes overhead, that the problem appeared: try as we might, fitting the two lamps seemed impossible to do. Then it became clear that it actually was impossible!

Googie lamp

The fixture had three equidistant radial arms to place the lamps on, and these each had metal protrusions to locate the neon rings in position. The problem was, no matter how we pushed and bent, the smaller ring would simply not fit – its diameter was wrong. Note that the two lamps came in the same fitted cardboard box with the fixture, right from the manufacturer!

At first we were so upset we decided to replace the contraption; but it then struck me that as it hangs there with off-center skewed rings it does have a retro charm reminiscent of the Googie style (think Jetsons or retro Sci Fi ray gun designs). So for now, the lamp stays. Still it does boggle the mind that they’d sell a lamp that can’t be assembled, as if by design.

1 Response to “Fit, misfit and unfit”


  1. 1 Jorge

    Douglas Hofstadter in his Pulitzer price winning book “Gödel, Escher, Bach” pointed out that computers are regularly completely indifferent, whereas humans can hardly be as indifferent as machines.
    You proved him wrong with your lamp 🙂
    Unfortunately, there are so many more examples for human insesibility.

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