The original exotic conversation piece – the lava lamp – has been moodily lighting teenage bedrooms since 1963.
Despite numerous incarnations since, Mathmos was the original brand to develop these psychedelic love-streams.
They were designed by notorious nudist Edward Craven-Walker, who saw an affinity between the fluorescent lava flow’s unpredictable nature and the easy-going, drug-induced spirit of the 60s.
As Christine Craven-Walker, ex-wife of lava lamp inventor, explained: “At that time, everything was getting a little bit psychedelic, there was Carnaby Street and the Beatles and things launching into space and so on. He just thought it was quite funky and might be something to launch into and see what he could make of it.”
Edward Carven-Walker was inspired by an odd-looking liquid-filled egg timer he spotted in a pub in southwest England. The former World War II pilot then spent years transforming the concept into a home lighting accessory.
The second Beatle’s drummer Ringo Starr snapped up a lamp, sales rocketed and Carven-Walker knew he had successfully tapped into the marketing appeal of Britain’s ‘Love Generation’. At a time when space was being conquered and the future was the spirit of the time, the lava lamp was an easy sell.
Back in the southern English town of Poole, Mathmos lava lamps are still made using the traditional design, based on two liquids of slightly different density which don’t mix. The heavier liquid sinks to the bottom, but when heated by the lamp light its density decreases and it floats to the top.
As Mathmos owner Cressida Granger pointed out, as a brand, there is a quintessential British appeal to the product: “It was invented by somebody who was maybe a little bit eccentric, which is very British, and it’s just so quirky and individual that it just feels very much part of the British tradition.”
After a rave-inspired renaissance in the 1990s, collectors believe the lava-lamp could be with us for the long haul.
One of them, Anthony Voss, celebrates the lava lamp’s hypnotic qualities: “I think there’s just something about it that appeals to people and draws people in, and I think it’s the motion within the lamp. I think it’s the way that it flows, how it’s anti-repetitive, how it’s a mixture of light and chaos blending together. And I think it’s that which kind of pulls people in, draws them in and before you know, you’ve spent 15 minutes looking at it.”
Seemingly exempt from the decline of British manufacturing, the lava-lamp looks set to celebrate half a century on the shelves in suitably groovy style.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Podemos: Spanish indignation in Brussels’ corridors of power | euronews, reporter
- 2Israel announces it will seize 400 acres in West Bank | euronews, world news
- 3Watch: Angry mob throw Ukraine MP into rubbish bin | euronews, world news
- 4Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut | euronews, world news
- 5Hoverbike on the horizon | euronews, hi-tech
- 6Iraq: Baghdad rally held against US ‘occupiers’ | euronews, world news
- 7China executes eight Muslims convicted of terrorism | euronews, world news
- 8New car offers freedom for disabled drivers | euronews, hi-tech
- 93D printing: a driving force in design and engineering | euronews, hi-tech
- 10Rise of the machines | euronews, futuris
- 11Ukraine accuses Russian aid convoy of stealing factory equipment | euronews, world news
- 12Young Yazidi girl escapes Islamic State kidnappers | euronews, world news
- 13Ukraine: Donetsk rebel weapons factory blows up | euronews, world news
- 14EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president | euronews, world news
- 15The business benefits of EU chemical regulation | euronews, business planet
- 16#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 17#Indyref Live: Scotland votes on independence from UK | euronews, world news
- 18Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’ | euronews, world news
- 19Official ‘executed by flame-thrower’ over links to Kim Jong-un’s purged uncle | euronews, world news
- 20Thousands of Catalans call for choice on split from Spain | euronews, world news