Peter Farran

Lava-Lite Lava Lamp

In Classics on December 19, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Lava LampLava-Lite

Creator: Edward Craven-Walker
Created:
1963
Origin: Poole, Dorset, UK

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The Lava-Lite or Lava Lamp is a decorative light consisting of a spun aluminium base with a cone shaped clear glass container on top. The glass container is filled with a mixture of colored liquid and liquid wax with a contrasting color. When the lamp is switched on the bulb in the base warms the mixture which gives rise to bubbles of liquid rising and falling hypnotically. The colored liquids density is relatively stable but the density of the liquid wax varies as it is heated  by the bulb and cools as it reaches the top of the glass container. A convection cycle is set up which is maintained by the energy of the bulb.

The idea was developed when the inventor envisioned a decorative lamp based on the principle employed in an egg timer where a coloured wax bubble rose when the egg was ready. Edward Craven-Walker had the original idea in 1963 in Poole, Dorset.

He sold the rights to manufacture the lamp in Chicago United States to Adolph Wertheimer as the Lava-Lite. The lamp has remained in continuous production since it’s inception and enjoys pride of place in the Design Museum London.

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