Although the illuminated vessels of undulating goo, known as Lava Lamps, have reached middle age they’re still as sexy as every. We should all be so lucky.
From the Mind of a Nudist
Inventor, WWII vet and raging nudist, Edward Craven Walker, while tippling at an English pub, spied a lamp "...made out of a cocktail shaker, old tins and things." Although its architect, Mr. Dunnett, had since expired, Walker’s enthusiasm for the lamp did not. The Singapore-born inventor proceeded to spend the next decade perfecting the novelty item.
Locally, Walker’s creation, known as the Astro Lamp, was met with little enthusiasm. Brits viewed the contraption as offensive if not downright repugnant. Walker’s description of the lamp may elucidate the public’s reaction. Of his invention he was quoted saying "[It] starts from nothing, grows possibly a little bit feminine, then a little bit masculine, then breaks up and has children. It’s a sexy thing." Maybe a bit too sexy.
Far Out, Man
But luck was on Walker’s side as the psychedelic movement in Britain during the 60's embraced the Astro Lamp as an iconic symbol of the love generation. To those buzz-kills who accused Walker of using the hypnotic lamps to promote drug use, the naturist responded, "If you buy my lamp, you won’t need to buy drugs."
In 1965 two American entrepreneurs bought the rights to manufacture the lamp after seeing it at a German trade show. They renamed it the Lava Lite Lamp and began production in Chicago where it continues today. At the peak of its popularity, Walker’s lamp sold 7 million units a year worldwide, and in July 2000, England’s Design Council presented Walker’s creation with the seal of "Design Classic."
Groovin’ on the Goo
If you’re looking for a little sensuality in your mood lighting, check out www.lavaworld.com, which offers, among other things, very cool sound effects. Bloop. For all you Beakman wannabes, go to www.oozinggoo.com to find secret formulas for making your own Lava Lamps. Groovy, baby.