Midday Fix: Lava Lamps

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Clay Farnsworth, CEO of Lava Lamp

Lava Lamp is celebrating its 50th Anniversary


Lava Lamp® Fun Facts
An American Icon Since 1965

Lava Lamp History

• British inventor Edward Craven Walker created the “Astro” Lamp which he presented at a trade show in Brussels in 1965 which caught the eye of entrepreneur Adolph Wertheimer. He and his partner bought the U.S. rights to manufacture and sell it as the “Lava Lite” which they later sold to Hy Spector. Lava Lite began manufacturing and marketing the Lava Lite in Chicago, IL in 1965, with the introduction of the original Century lava lamp.

The Science of Lava
• Lava Lamps consist of a metal base and cap, a light bulb, and a filled globe. Inside the globe, there is water, wax, a small but closely guarded combination of 16 chemicals, and a metal coil. These ingredients, plus the trademarked shape, comprise the pop culture icon. Every Lava Lamp is made by hand.
• A Lava Lamps uses the principles of physics to its advantage. When the lamp is turned on, the light bulb heats the wax, with the help of a metal coil, at the base of the lamp. The wax gets hot enough that it starts to rise. When the wax approaches the top of the glass globe, it is far enough away from its heat source that it cools and drops back down. It’s this delicate balance of density and temperature that makes a Lava Lamp’s magic.
Molten Screen Star

• Over the last five decades, lava lamps have cast a groovy glow in countless movies and television shows including Austin Powers, Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, Dr. Who, Dark Shadows, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Hustle & Flow, Saturday Night Live, Scrubs, Tanked, The Office, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Wheel of Fortune and X-Men and commercials for Aquafina and Toyota.

Whole Lava Love!

• Today, Lava Lamps are a pop culture icon — 94% of people recognize the Lava Lamp shape!
• There are over 150 unique Lava Lamps with more designs being imagined every day. Currently, there are five sizes of Lava Lamps being produced.
Inventor Craven Walker predicted, “I think [Lava Lamps] will always be popular. It’s like the cycle of life. It grows, breaks up, falls down and then starts all over again. And besides, the shapes are sexy.”

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