What have an egg timer, a Squadron Leader and a country pub got to
do with this strange lamp? Well, the Lava Lamp was invented by
Squadron Leader Edward Craven Walker, and inspired by an egg timer
he observed while in a country pub. He worked on the lamp for ten
years, and in the swinging sixties it was very popular. Now these
lamps are being made again, and many people find them attractive
How do the orange blobs move around in this lamp? The electric
cable runs from the plug through the hollow base of the lamp and
attaches to a small heat bulb that screws into a light socket. A
switch on the electric cable turns the light bulb on or off. A
free-standing glass bottle, filled with a mixture of coloured wax
and water as well as a secret ingredient, sits on the base over the
heat bulb. Also, there is a metal ring inside the bottle that
collects heat from the bulb, and adds to the temperature at the
base of the bottle. The top of the bottle has a screw cap, and is
covered by a separate metal cap.
When the Lava Lamp is switched on, the light from the bulb shines
through the glass bottle. The heat from the bulb warms the glass
bottle, metal ring, wax and water. The wax begins to separate out
into blobs and rise up and down the bottle, through the water.
Then, when the lamp is switched off, the bottle and metal ring cool
down again, and the wax sinks to the bottom of the bottle and is
This lamp has a hollow metal base with plastic feet. The base gets
hot when the lamp has been on for some time, so the feet are there
to prevent a table from being marked or burned.
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