www.hippielight.com | Vintage Historical "lava lamp" Showcase | Vintage "lava lamps" | The History of the lava lamp

Hippielight.com has been dedicated since its very first day to the history of vintage "lava lamps" and the original vintage designs relating to the 1960s & 1970s. Hippielight documents the legacy of vintage "lava lamps" from all over the world, the vintage designs and the designs that are loved by everyone still today, decades after their release. From Century, to Enchantress Planter, to Carlisle, to Continental, to Decorator, to Aristocrat, these vintage manufactured "lava lamps" are still loved by thousands today and are represented here through photography and nostalgic memorabilia in collections and displayed on www.hippielight.com.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Christine Baehr for her kindness and donating such an amazing array of photography and material to the www.hippielight.com archive. I'd also like to thank a wonderful array of people who have kindly donated information or photography to us, with special thanks to: Bohdan & Patti Rudy, Jerome Dopson, Craig French, Jonas Clark-Elliott, George Stadnik, Mandy Mills & Her Hippie VW Bus, Bob Chudy, Ravi Shah and Jeff in California. I would like to especially thank Craig French for images of his 1966 Lava brochure, featured on this page.

We document lava lamps from all over the world with designs from Crestworth which was founded by Edward Craven Walker and now known as Mathmos, the inventors of the lava lamp. We also follow the history with designs from the US, UK, Continental Europe and Japan.

www.hippielight.com | How did the lava lamp arrive in the USA? The Journey from UK to the USA | Hyman Milton Spector

How did the lava lamp arrive in the USA? In April 1965, Crestworth (now known as Mathmos), the inventors of the lava lamp, exhibited the Astro lamp at an International Trade Fair at the Atomium in Brussels.

There was a company named Mini Office Belgium, which had seen the lamps at another trade show event and they agreed that Crestworth could display their lamps to enhance their exhibits which were furniture units and were designed to close or fold up when not in use - e.g: Mini Offices. Edward Craven Walker attended the trade show with the two gentlemen who ran Mini Office. An American businessman named Frank G Ellerman visited the trade fair where the Astro lamp caught his attention. He expressed interest in selling the Astro lamp in USA and Crestworth arranged to send out some samples as soon as possible. He also stated that he had a wealthy businessman friend Adolph Wertheimer would also be interested in promoting them in the USA with him.

Ellerman subsequently returned to the USA, firstly to New York and then Chicago, writing in early May from his company called Ellerman Development Co., One East Wacker, Chicago. He asked Crestworth to send some lamps over for a sales survey. Initially Crestworth dealt with Ellerman at that Chicago address. The earliest written date of Lava Corporation is a letter headed at Ellerman's business address at: 1 East Wacker dated August 11th 1965. That was the first contact with what was to be Lava Corporation's connection with Crestworth. Lava would not have started trading prior to May 1965. 

After a problematic period with Wertheimer, Hy Spector would eventually take over the business with a completely different approach. It is actually due to Hy Spector, that the lava lamp in the USA would reach such a success in the 1960s and the 1970s. Products such as: Century, Aristocrat, Consort, Imperial, Continental, Enchantress, Enchantress Planter are still regarded as some of the finest lava lamps of all time. Lava would pay Crestworth an annual license fee, with consultation fees, which involved Crestworth personnel visiting to verify the production procedures and also discuss new ideas for products. Hy Spector is widely recognised for his amazing work at Lava. Lava would go on to create a diverse array of other products such as cameras with their Simplex division and Timette with their array of timepieces.

Those who owned Crestworth have very dear memories of Hy as all business arrangements with him were absolutely straightforward. He was also great fun to be with, and he is remembered with great affection and admiration.

Today the original Mathmos Astro lava lamps are still made by Mathmos since their invention by their founder Edward Craven Walker. We at www.hippielight.com love the Mathmos Originals invented in 1963. They are still hand made with pride, care and attention in the United Kingdom. See more at www.mathmos.com




www.hippielight.com | The Century Model: 100 | The Vintage Iconic Century "lava lamp"

The Century was the first lava lamp produced in the USA and started the legacy of the "lava lamp" in the United States of America. The original founders of Lava Corp., were inspired by the Crestworth Astro Lamp, and they acquired the rights to sell it in the USA. They opened in Chicago and brought the magic of the Astro lamp to the USA in 1965. What would become the Century first appears refered to purely as "Lava Lite" in 1965 printed material and was described as "America's Most exclusive new look in lighting ... Adds glamour and interest to any setting!"

The Century is the American version of the Astro with a few notable changes such as starlight holes in the base, which were very popular in lighting fixtures of the time. With its pinhole starlight base, it is a timeless design that will stand the test of time.

The Century was a classic that was core to the lava lamp that was manufactured in Chicago in the USA. Century and all the great vintage USA lava lamps are the vision of Hyman Spector, the owner of Lava Corp. 1960s colour combinations for the Century include: Red/ Fluorescent Green, Orange/ Yellow, Green/ Blue, Yellow/ Green-Blue and Red/ Clear. The Century also featured a Champagne Mist colourway, that was refered to as "A cream base in a pale amber liquid - A truly enchanting combination" Century uses a 40 watt appliance bulb.

Century made in the USA was an unusual exotic decorator conversation piece. Use a 40w bulb inside your vintage Century for the correct flow.

Some of the very first colour combinations for the Century lava lamp would be: Red / Fluorescent Green, Orange / Yellow, Green / Blue, Yellow / Blue Green, Blue / Lavender and Red / Clear. Power yours with a 30 watt R-20 reflector bulb. The Century is one of the most enduring lava lamps of all time and at www.hippielight.com we love Model 105: "Champagne Mist - a cream base in a pale amber liquid, a truly enchanting combination!"



www.hippielight.com | Presents: 3000 Series Savoy and Continental - Cordless, Beautiful, and dazzling ... | Candle Powered lava lamps.

Merging candle light with the motion of the lava lamp, the Continental and the Savoy were the only vintage non-electric, candle powered lava lamps, with a special candle powered unit, that would power your light for 75 hours, for plenty of bubbling. Today these candle powered lava lamp units are no longer available so a raised tea-light often does the trick.

Perfect for patios, the Continental would be the only candle powered lava lamp till the introduction of the Mathmos Fireflow candle powered lava lamp in 2009 and the launch of Auras Glow. Continental features a Consort sized globe bottle that is seen in many models, the bottle sits on a metal funnel collar having a series of cut outs most notable diamond shaped cut outs which allow air to reach the candle base. The glass candle unit was a glass cup filled with a candle and it sits on a metal tray.

"Use it everywhere - indoors or out - it's non-electric - cordless and carefree. Excellent for commercial use. Metal base, collar and cap are metal and bottle is glass with lava formulation. Model 3312 has orange lava base, yellow liquid. 3315 is champagne and champagne mist. 3316 is red and clear.

Continental was also advertised as a Happy Occasion Pack which featured three Champagne Mist bottles printed with "Happy Birthday", "Happy Anniversary" and "Happy Holiday".

There was also a version of Continental known as Savoy, which was offered to the restaurant and commercial trade. Enjoy the images below ...

Model 5000 | The Imperial | King-size Elegance The Imperial Vintage Lava Lamp...

Imperial was the flag-ship lava lamp from Lava launched in the 1960s. This stunning floor-standing model features a cylindrical globe with a shallow pointed hat cap. The base was a cone cylinder that sat on on a table with three tapered walnut legs. Imagine this in a night club, hotel or any public space. Giant, beautiful and often confused with Crestworth's Princess floor-standing model, this model was an actual production model and can be seen in Lava's lab in vintage photography.

Simply King Size. Simply Dazzling. Simply Stunning. Simply The Imperial. One vintage Lava Lamp rules supreme, simply the largest ever vintage USA lava lamp, The Imperial was amazing. King-size elegance and beauty. The Imperial featured a massive container supported on a beautiful metal and walnut stand. These lamps were individually carton packed and the 1966 wholesale brochure shows 3 colour ways for the product. This model was sold for $149.50 and has been seen featured in a 1966 brochure. Very few of these stunning pieces have been seen and they a tribute the liquids within. Imperial featured a list price of $129.50

Model: 5102: Orange Wax. Clear Fluid. Model: 5103: Green Wax. Clear Fluid. Model: 5106: Red Wax. Clear Fluid.

More colourways may have been produced in the following years. Imperial uses a 150 watt FL-R-40 flood bulb in the base.


www.hippielight.com | Lava-Simplex's 2000 Series | The Consort lava lamp design & Its Variations ... Model Series: 2100, 2200, 2500

The Consort is a beautiful small vintage lava lamp which features a sleek, modern tubular design bottle that fits onto a square metal stem base. Consort originally featured wooden bases but this was later changed for plastic bases as the Consort ended production. Consort was directly inspired by Crestworth's Nordic designs and the beautiful Crestworth Cosmos lamp. The Consort concept would see a massive array of variations and the Consort lava lamp bottle would be used in a great number of designs from candle powered to even wall-mounted. Consort would see a basic version known as Nordic, with a polished metal/ chrome finish and a black plastic base. The Nordic name would also be used to refer to other models such as a chunky square metal based lamp that is rarely seen.

The Consort would also inspire a wall-mounted version known as Princess, which features a Consort bottle sitting in a cylinder base, with a switch placed on the underside of the base. The lamp was attached to a beautiful American walnut backing with a lovely panel of reflective plastic that reflects the wonderful light and colour from the Princess. This lamp is so very rare but if you are lucky to have one of these, you can power yours with a 15 watt sewing machine bulb in the base.

Other versions of the Consort feature printed bottles. The Prayer Lite with a Cross is perfect for praying next to and features a simple religious Cross in black printed onto the bottle. The Prayer Lite with a Menorah features the a Menorah on the bottle. Lava didn't forget children with yet another variation called the Child's Nite Lite that featured a cute clown printed on the bottle, juggling some balls around in the air. Enjoy the images below ...


www.hippielight.com | Lava-Simplex's The Royal 4000 Series | Regency & The Empress ...

The Regency is often confused with the smaller Consort lamp, which is seen more often for sale. The Regency was described as: "Tall, stately, dignified. A modern decorator touch" and features a tubular glass bottle, with a square walnut finished base. Models advertised in the brochure below include: Models 4202 Orange/ Yellow, 4203 Green/Blue and 4206 Red/Clear. This wonderful lamp is rarely seen and has been seen with both a metal and wooden cap. The Regency was part of the Royal 4000 Series. There was also a beautiful wall mounted version known as The Empress.


www.hippielight.com | Aristocrat | Another Vintage Classic "lava lamp" born in the 1960s

The Aristocrat is the sister product to the Century and features a very beautiful elegant base design with beautiful starlight holes in the base that creates a beautiful touch to the piece. In the earlier years the Aristocrat was offered in a white or black porcelainized base with gold striations. Aristocrat was a very popular design and features a sharper, tighter and tapered base design than the Century, creating a very elegant cone upon cone form. Aristocrat was also made in the USA and they were very popular lamps. 1960s colour combinations for Aristocrat include: Green/ Blue, Champagne Mist, Red/ Clear. Aristocrat uses a 30w R-20 reflector bulb.


www.hippielight.com | Presents: Lava-Simplex's The Decorator lava lamp perfect for decorating ...

The Decorator extended the concept of the of the Aristocrat with a decorating tray placed at the mid point of the base where the two cone metal parts meet. This beautiful lava lamp featured a dish which was shipped empty and could be decorated with artificial foliage as often seen in brochure material. Decorator is most likely to be seen with the white porcelainized base with gold striations (gold paint splashed all over the base). This finish is often seen on other home items of the time. The big question is how will you decorate yours?

This model was targeted to the homewife who wanted to decorate the lamp and was shipped without any flowers, allowing one to decorate it as one pleased. Do you remember this model, did your family have one? With or without flowers you will love the vintage Decorator "lava lamp".

Decorator is seen in a 1966 brochure featuring three colour options: Green/ Blue, Champagne Mist and Red/ Clear. If you have one of these beautiful models, why not send us an email and let us know how you decorate yours. Decorator uses a 30w R-20 reflector bulb.

The Decorator is sometimes confused for the later smaller 1970s Model Enchantress Planter which actually featured its own hippie flower ring straight out of the box!


www.hippielight.com | The Vintage Musical Lava Lamp | Music to our ears and eyes

We lava lamp collectors love the original lava lamps made in the USA and nothing is better than finding a lamp style or design that has not been seen before.

The lamp below is a typical Aristocrat with the white base and cap combination with the gold flecks of paint on the base and the cap. It is not an early white and gold Aristocrat as earlier versions of these lamps featured a gold cap as opposed to the white/gold cap seen.

However unlike normal ones this features an inverted tray that is located on the mid-point of the base. This tray contains two musical windup music motors which play sound. Once the music motors have been wound by clockwork action, they will begin to play music. Funky and great for for the young kids.

A few of these lamps have been spotted, therefore these lamps are not just customised pieces. Further to this the part which contains the music box has the same white and gold paintwork on it, which makes us believe this was not customised and shipped from the original factory. A few examples of these have been spotted and are very rare, therefore they may have only been produced for a limited time or in a small number. These lamps are not featured in any catalog or sales brochure that we have seen and do remain a musical mystery.

If you know any more about these lamps or have one, we would like to get in touch with you. Please drop us an email at: hippielight@googlemail.com Thanks!


Welcome to www.hippielight.com Mini Index, a site dedicated to the history, heritage and nostalgia of the "lava lamp" and other beautiful vintage lights such as rain lamps. Created by Anthony Voz. Thank you for visiting www.hippielight.com | www.hippielight.com