Eccentric Brit Edward Craven Walker was a World War II pilot and nudist—but he’s best known for inventing the first-ever lava lamp in the 1960s. They took off quickly in the UK, and caught fire in the USA and everywhere else after two American entrepreneurs saw the lamps on display at a trade show in Brussels and bought the rights to market the lamp worldwide. The funky decor items continue to sell to this day, with other manufacturers also developing similar designs. Light up your life with a few of our favorites.
With its aluminium base and cap, this design uses a 40 watt incandescent bulb to create atmospheric lighting. Lava
They might be cool and space-age in design, but the technology behind the lava lamp is pretty simple. The majority of lamps use a combination of a water-based liquid and oil-based wax. Heat is applied to the bottom of the lamp—usually via the lightbulb and the wax absorbs the heat. As it heats up, it takes up more space and so becomes less dense than the water and begins to rise. But as it rises, it gets cooler, denser and heavier, so it sinks. Be warned, this whole process takes a while to get started; you may have to run your lamp for eight hours before it’s properly active.
The combination of colors create a mesmeric scene that’s reminiscent of the natural world as green continents glide through azure seas. Lava Lite
How large do you want your lava lamp to be? The original size is 16.3″ and while that’s still available, you can also get super cute 11.5 inch mini versions, and oversized ones that measure more than two foot in height. As you might expect, the larger the lamp, the larger the price tag.
Out of This World
The original lava light gets a space age makeover with sparkling flecks, a tri-color globe and decorated base and top that gives the impression of a starlit galaxy. Lamp
When it comes to picking the color combo of your lava lamp, the options are almost unlimited. And there are other style options too—such as lamps that include glitter with the wax, or even have multi-colored glass globes so the wax appears to change color as it moves around.