lava lamps syndicate
The Lava Lamp Myth

the god of lava lamps

Mr. Craven Walker of England is definitely the one responsible for the proliferation of all of these liquid motion lamps. The actual inventor's identity is something of controversy. I've heard a couple of versions:

Version 1 - Craven Walker invented the lamp while working on a post-war egg timer. This history paints as the sole inventor, albeit accidental.

Version 2 - Lights dim, curtain opens on Craven Walker enjoying a brew in a dark pub. Craven, drunk already, is mistified by a fabulous, yet crude, contraption of a coctail shaker and old tins. The first liquid motion lamp had already been invented by the mysterious "Mr. Dunnett" who, by this time, was dead.

Over the next 15 years, Craven perfected the mixture and began marketing the lamp through his Crestworth Company. He enjoyed mixed results. Later Crestworth became Mathmos, the holder of the European patent.

In 1965 two men from Chicago, Adolph Wertheimer and Hy Spector, saw Craven's lamp at a German trade show and bought the American rights. Syndicate member Paul Goo has an old lamp with a paper label which reads "LAVA MFG. CORP., CHICAGO, ILL." This is the company which they created upon return from Europe. Lava Manufacturing Corporation produced the Consort,the Continental and the gold/white "squiggle" painted Aristocrat. For unknown reasons, Lava Mfg. Corp. became Lava-Simplex Inc. They later produced the Enchantress Planter among others. During the Great Lava Lamp depression of the early 1980s, Haggerty Enterprises cleverly purchased the operation. In the mid-90s Haggerty created the division Lava World International, the company we know and love today!

Craven and his lampIn his later years, Craven enjoyed his cult popularity as the lamp was embraced by a new, younger generation. He claimed that people who don't like lava lamps are "afraid of sex." Hmm, he may have been on to something there...

The day the lava died: August 15, 2000, Craven Walker passed away after suffering from bouts with cancer. He'll be missed. You can read more about his life by visiting our News section.

I'll continue to investigate this ambiguous story of invention and keep this page posted as I unravel this mystery. Much thanks to Jonas Goo who contributed facts herein. For more information on the lamp styles go to the Gallery.

Back to Oozing Goo Home
To Oozing Goo LavaShop