The Lava Lamp – 1963
Sometimes inspiration comes when sitting in a pub. This happened to Edward Craven Walker, who saw an interesting-looking contraption made out of a cocktail shaker and bubbling liquids in a bar in Post WWII England. Walker launched his design in 1963. The lamp, which Walker originally called the Astro Lamp, gives more of a glow than functional light.
A cone-shaped tube (similar to a cocktail shaker) holds brightly colored lava-like blobs of wax that are suspended in a mixture of water and “secret ingredients.” This sits on a metal base that holds a light bulb. When the lamp is turned off, the wax stays on the bottom. When you turn the lamp on, the light bulb in the base heats up the wax. The blobs expand, break off, and float to the top. As they cool, the blobs fall down. The motion repeats. The effect is hypnotic if you stare at it.