Video China World Entertainment Sports Lifestyle  

Lava lamps: Iconic British design still popular after 50 years

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, September 4, 2013
Adjust font size:


Call them sixties relics or hippy home accessories, lava lamps have been in continuous production now for fifty years. Since September 3rd, 1963, the iconic lava lamp has become synonymous with alternative culture and Britain's psychedelic movement.

Lava lamps: Iconic British design still popular after 50 years 

The bright colours and trippy lava flows make these lamp designs intrinsically linked to the alternative culture of the 60s. Since then, more than one million Mathmos products have been made and exported to customers around the world. The lava lamp was originally made by former-Second World War pilot Edward Craven-Walker, who took the idea from an egg-timer design he spotted in a British pub.

Craven-Walker's former wife Christine says he recognised the potential for such a design early on.

Christine Baehr said, "At that time, everything was getting a little bit psychedelic, you know, Carnaby Street and The Beatles and things launching into space and so on. And he just thought it was quite funky and might be something to launch into and see what he could make of it."

The design of lava lamps has come a long way. Having first used soda bottles and cocktail shakers filled with oil and wax, the inventor eventually perfected the design with specifically-made glass containers.

And thanks to the psychedelic movement, many connect the unpredictable nature of the lamp's lava flow to the easy-going spirit of the decade.

Christine Baehr said, "We even heard one day, a factory, we were selling to a store in Birkenhead, which is near Liverpool, and they rang up and said 'Just thought you'd like to know that Ringo Starr's been in and bought one,' so that was a great 'Ah, brilliant, we've made it,' sort of thing."

The success of Craven-Walker's design wasn't limited to the swinging sixties though. The nineties trend for retro revival also brought lava lamps back into fashion, heralding a renaissance for the Mathmos brand.

1   2   3   Next  

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from