Specialists in Explosion Proof Lighting: EOW

Specialists in Explosion Proof Lighting: EOW

Many of the lights in our Heritage Collection were made by the legendary East German manufacturer EOW, known for their expertise in explosion proof lighting. EOW excelled as leaders in the development and production of lighting for truly extreme environments. So we thought, why not dive a bit deeper into the story behind EOW’s amazing products.

Original EOW Katalog from 1966 with 'Sch' and 'Ex' signs in the top left corner

Illumination in Extreme Environments

It all started in 1907 with the J. Carl Jena company - which specialized in water and weatherproof electrical appliances. In 1948, the company was incorporated into the newly founded VEB Elektroinstallation Oberweimar, or EOW for short. EOW produced lights suitable to meet the greatest demands on electrical equipment when it comes to shock and explosion resilience. EOW lighting equipment could withstand temperatures of minus 55°C (- 131°F) to plus 60°C (+140°F). These lights were not only used in the former East Germany and Soviet Union, they were also found around the world. EOW provided illumination for the most challenging of environments, and continues to do so today under the name of R. Stahl Schaltgeräte GmbH Weimar.

How Do You Recognize an EOW Fixture?

Most of the time, you can recognize lights made by EOW by the logo marking of EOW and additional markings indicating product specifications. The most common added markings are ‘Sch’ and ‘Ex’:

Sch: Identification code for impact-resistant electrical equipment 

Ex: Identification code for explosion-proof electrical equipment  

The following photo shows these markings on the Giant Lobster fixture from our Heritage Collection

Lights with these identification codes were suitable for illuminating rooms and placement with an arbitrary operating position. These fixtures were intended to provide direct lighting in areas such as the workplace, hallways, stairwells, and assembly pits found in service and storage facilities vulnerable to explosion.

The following image is a diagram from the manufacturer’s original manual for what we've named the Chuckwalla - Pendant featured in our Heritage Collection. The Chuckwalla was designed for use in environments vulnerable to explosion found in operating and storage facilities, and in areas where the presence of explosive mixtures could be expected. 

The Chuckwalla

Original image from old booklet

The Crocodile - Pendant was also designed for the illumination of locations at risk of explosion such as certain operating and storage facilities, as well as paint spraying areas. The Crocodile’s robust construction also makes it particularly resistant to mechanical stress. 

Image from the original catalogue of EOW from 1966

Why do we have so many EOW lights?

EOW lights were used wherever there was a risk of explosion such as military bases, mines, nuclear power plants, shipyards, laboratories, storage areas as well as within the chemical industry. The former East Germany had many of these kinds of sites that have been abandoned since the end of the Second World War. In these facilities, it was imperative to have lights that were safe to use in explosion sensitive areas which almost always meant lumination provided by EOW. These lights are durable and made to last. In the decades after being abandoned and left to the ravages of nature, these EOW fixtures are still in good working condition because they were originally designed to withstand the most extreme of conditions and made with the highest quality materials available. Besides explosion resistant, EOW lighting fixtures have proven to be time resistant. 

EOW lights are a vivid expression of the Bauhaus principle of ‘form follows function’ while meeting severe functional demands with safety as a top priority. The EOW style combines straightforward design with extraordinary function in a way we’ve come to admire at Blom & Blom. We’ve learned a lot working with EOW fixtures. The key characteristics of the Bauhaus school of thought are beautifully presented in EOW lamps in their use of pure materials, minimalistic style, and most of all - functional excellence. That means EOW lights are solid and ingenious - built to withstand and endure the most demanding of conditions. It’s no wonder that EOW lights can still be found around the world today.

Archive photo. Above the door two EOW Turtles (Sea Turtle - Blom and Blom)

Drop by and See for Yourself!

Now you know why our Heritage Collection proudly features so many EOW fixtures and why we love them. Want to see some prime examples of EOW excellence close and up front? If you have the chance, come and visit our showroom and workshop in Amsterdam North. There’s a good chance we might even be working on an EOW lighting fixture when you arrive. And if not... we have plenty of EOW lights on display that we would love to show you!