First Picture: The Lava Lamp
Second Picture: Typical 1950’s living room.
Firstly some sad news. I understand that Jean Green nee Bennett passed away on the 1st March. I think that this is the first time I have had to report the death of a school pal since I started this web site nearly 10 years ago.
The Mystique of the Lava Lamp
Lava Lamps, those oozy symbols of spaced-out kitsch from the 1960s, and they are making a comeback around the world. The original Lava Lamp is a defining and iconic image that is still regarded as a contemporary piece today. This is the history of the quirky little lamp with the uniquely hypnotic light.
Born in Singapore, Edward Craven-Walker, the inventor of the Lava Lamp flew Mosquito aircraft on reconnaissance missions for the Royal Air Force during World War II. He got the idea for the original lamp design after walking into a pub here in Hampshire and noticing a rather odd item sitting on the counter behind the bar. It was a glass cocktail shaker that contained some kind of mucus-like blob floating in liquid. Upon inquiry, the bartender told him it was an egg-timer. The 'blob' was actually a clump of solid wax in clear liquid. The bartender explained you put the shaker in the boiling water with your egg, and as the boiling water cooks the egg it also melts the wax turning it into an amorphous blob of goo. When the wax then floated to the top of the jar, your egg was done. Edward Craven-Walker saw a money-making opportunity in front of him - turn the egg-timer into a lamp with thicker oil that would form sculptural shapes and sell it to the public. He set about tracking down the inventor of the original design. The inventor, known only by his last name of Dunnet, was deceased, allowing for Edward Craven-Walker to patent the invention for himself.
He spent the next 15 years perfecting Dunnet's invention so that it could be mass-produced. In the meantime, he supported himself by making 'art-house' films about his other passion: nudity. Travelling Light, one of these so-called 'art-house' films, was the first naturalist film to receive public release in the UK. Described as an underwater ballet, this film was shot off Corsica and was released in 1960.
The Astro Lamp was launched in 1963, just ahead of the craze for all things psychedelic. Craven-Walker's factory was built in Poole, Dorset where it still is in production today. He sold rights to his creation to Mathmos, one of Britain's fastest-growing companies3, staying on as a consultant until his death at age 82 of cancer.
In 1965, Craven-Walker introduced his Astro Lamp at a novelty convention in Hamburg, West Germany. Two Americans named Adolph Wertheimer and Hy Spector, in awe with the lamp's beauty, asked to purchase the American rights to the lamp. The Astro Lamp was then taken to North America and renamed Lava Brand Motion Lamps and production took off in Chicago. Lava Brand Motion Lamp sales peaked in the late '60s when slow-swirling coloured wax happened to coincide perfectly with the undulating aesthetics of psychedelia. They were advertised as 'head trips that offered a motion for every emotion'4.
At their peak, more than seven million Lava Lamps were sold around the world each year, but by the early 1970s the fad had run its course and sales fell off dramatically. By 1976, sales were down to 200 lamps per week, a mere fraction of what they had been a few years before. By the late 1980s, however, sales began to rebound. As style makers began to ransack the sixties for inspiration, Lava Lamps came back. Formerly flea-market finds, original 1960s Lava Lamps (especially those with paisley, pop art motifs on their bases) became real collectibles in the late 1980s, selling in chic boutiques for more than a brand new one. And speaking of new ones, they weren't hurting for business either. By 1998 manufacturers in England and the United States were selling more than two million of the lamps per year.
Although the Lava Lamp was invented in 1963 by Edward Craven-Walker, and patented by his company in 1964, the US Patent dates to 16 March, 1971. There are conflicting records at the US Patent Office that also state that the Lava Lamp was submitted for patent by David George Smith on behalf of Craven-Walker's Crestworth Company in 1968 under the heading 'display devices'. Whichever the case, only the companies that make Lava Lamps know precisely what chemicals are in the lamp and in what combination, making the recipe a trade secret. There are, however, many websites and books offering 'poor man's' versions of the Lava Lamp that you can make at home. It is not recommended attempting any of these formulas, simply because many of the ingredients suggested are flammable and can cause personal injury.
• Employees take an oath of secrecy upon being hired so that the mystery of the Lava Lamp's inner workings are never revealed.
• Lava Lamps can be seen almost every night on prime time television.
• Haggerty Enterprises, Inc is the only official manufacturer of the Lava Brand Motion Lamp in the United States. Mathmos is the only official manufacturer of the Lava Lamp in the UK.
• More Lava Lamps were sold in the 1990s than in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s combined.
• There are over 100 different style and colour combinations of Lava lamps, including glitter motion lamps.
• The largest Lava Lamp on the market towers over four feet tall and holds ten gallons of the 'secret' formula.
• No two Lava Lamps are the same. They all have their own personality.
If you buy my lamp, you won't need drugs... I think it will always be popular. It's like the cycle of life. It grows, breaks up, falls down and then starts all over again.
How right his words were!
Keep in touch
I was thinking about what went on in school all thoughts of years ago and it struck me, now that I'm a lot older the names of the Four House and what colours they were.
If I'm correct their were as follows
ELGAR was Yellow
SUTHERLAND was blue
FLEMING was Green
MASEFIELD was Red
I was in Sutherland House and the House's would compete against each other in Sports, Art, Music, and other comp's.
I was in Masefield and that was Green can anyone else add to the list?
News and Views:
The BBC's The Sky At Night programme was first broadcast on 24th April 1957 - making Sir Patrick Moore the longest-running presenter of the same television show in the world. Today the programme celebrates its 700th episode, and Sir Patrick has fronted all but one of them.
On this day 6th March1960-1965.
On 06/03/1960the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 06/03/1961the number one single was Walk Right Back/Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Minicabs introduced.
On 06/03/1962the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was RCP London publishes 'Smoking & Health'.
On 06/03/1963the number one single was The Wayward Wind - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was World In Action documentary on defence banned.
On 06/03/1964the number one single was Anyone Who Had a Heart -Cilla Black and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Cassius Clay changes name to Cassius X Clay.
On 06/03/1965the number one single was I'll Never Find Another You - Seekers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was US pledges to send 3500 troops to Vietnam.