The Lava Lamp or Astro Lamp is an interesting lamp to look at. It was invented by an accountant in 1963. Edward Craven-Walker the inventor of the Lava Lamp was inspired by an egg timer that was homemade sitting on top of a stove in a bar.
He was fascinated by the liquid moving up and down in the vessel. He decided to copy the design using a vessel with water, a light bulb as the heat source and a wax, mineral oil, tetrachloride mixture. The light would heat up the wax mix in the water and cause it to float up and down.
A patent was issued in 1965 for the Astro lamp. It was listed as a Display Device and started being sold in stores in 1968.
The Lava Lamp Story
Mr. Walker brought his Astro Lamp to a trade show and the idea was spotted by Adolph Wortheimer who with a partner bought the US rights to the lamp. Production began shortly thereafter under the Lava Lamp Manufacturing company.
Mr. Walker was a shrewd business man thanks to his accounting background and kept the rights to the lamp in every place that he filed a patent except the US. When Mr. Worthheimer no longer could or would produce the lamp Mr. Walker began his own production company with a partner and began production.
50 Years and Still Going Strong
Mr. Walker’s design is still being sold around the world. Fifty plus years and people are still pretty taken back by this simple light. There has been several “accidents” over the years that have largely been attributed to misuse. A gentleman in 2004 is the only fatality in 50 plus years. Evidently this gentleman placed his Lava Lamp on his stove to heat it up to see what would happen. While he stood in close proximity monitoring the results of his experiment, the glass vessel burst sending shards of glass straight into his heart. Clear instructions are provided with each lava lamp purchase outlining the dos and don’ts. However the incident that occurred contributed to the company suffering minor backlash.
Where Is Mr. Walker?
Mr. Walker lives with his family in Keny England and never went back to being an accountant. He invented a few other “toys” over the years but never quite hit the big time like he did with his Astro lamp.