Lava Rinse Repeat

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.

Lava Rinse Repeat


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.


Offensive Optics

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."

The Nudist Comes Out on Top

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.

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bruno on Nov 28, 2006:

Wow, DIY lava lamps sounds like a great (and dangerous) project for The Fix-Its.

beccajo on Nov 28, 2006:

oh man.

i was a 411 operator for a few months, and i actually had a guy call me to find out what was in his lava lamp because he dropped it while moving.

the inventor guy had just died i remembered, and i said, i don't know. try the library! he said he'd had too many recipies come up to try them all. so he called me, at 'information' to find out the answer to which one was best.

i think i said, 'sir, put down the bong, and go buy a new one'.


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