Lava Lamps: Business Continues, Even After 50 YearsBy: Tobias Roth - September 3, 2013
Lava lamps, everyone’s favorite toy from the ’60s, is now able to celebrate its 50th birthday. It continues to be profitable, even after all these years. Lava lamps became a popular toy for many people during the ’60s and it was also an integral part of the drug culture with a lot of the hippies wanting to have one to watch while they get high on various drugs in a group of people.
They have remained popular for such a long time, due to their uniqueness and the great appeal of how cool they look. The strange design has also been used as a night light for people for a number of years. While originally used by the hippies in the ’60s, it has been popular thing for kids to enjoy in recent years. Sales have continued for 50 years and with such a unique product, it seems to be in a profitable business and does not seem to be going away any time soon.
One of the coolest things about it has always been that no matter how long someone were to stare at the lamp, the movement of what is inside will never be the same. The way the toy is set up allows for it to be constantly changing, a very groovy aspect for the hippie generation that was getting into mind-altering drugs such as LSD especially. It was originally marketed as an exotic conversation piece in 1963 and since then, millions of models of the invention have been sold worldwide, according to ABC News. The model has been copied multiple times over the last 50 years, but it was originally created by a company in Britain.
The design was created by British inventor Edward Craven-Walker, after being inspired by a liquid filled egg timer that he saw in a pub in southwest Britain. After recognizing the potential for such an invention during the time of ’60s in Britain where it seemed that anything could be done, he spent years transforming his idea into a home lighting accessory.
Christine Baehr, the second of Craven-Walker’s wives, recalls a moment which was a real turning point for them when they heard that Ringo Starr, of the Beatles, had purchased one of their lamps. “That was a great, ‘Ah we’ve made it,’ moment,” she said to ABC News.
The technology behind lava lamps is also interesting to note, being based on two liquids of slightly different density, which will not mix. The heavier liquid sinks to the bottom, although after being heated by the light, its density decreases, causing it to float back to the top. The lava lamp has been the subject of many music videos and television shows, appearing in an episode of Doctor Who shortly after its release.
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