lava lamp timeline
    by Jonas Goo
 

1960s      1970s       1980s       1990s
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L   E   G   E   N   D   :
Years
General information
Model Names
Descriptions
Variations known/seen
Color Combinations - Lava color/ Liquid color
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1990

The 25th Anniversary for Lava Lite. A huge party at a nightclub in Chicago marks the celebration. The new "Titan", a vaguely Century-shaped lamp standing all of 2 1/2 feet tall, is shown off. This model won't make it to the market for a number of years due to engineering difficulties.
The catalog page for The Titan is released, shown in these colors:
Black base/cap, white lava - blue liquid; Brass base/cap, red lava - yellow liquid.

Another series, one that does go into production and occupies the back of the Titan's catalog page, is the Giant Wave Machines. These models sport a bulbous black base with a glowing blue line around the middle, lights within that can be turned on or off, volume and tone controls, and a cylindrical wave cell with clear ends. They are:

Atlantis model 2000
8" tall, 22" long wave cell, 4" diameter cell. Model 2002 has the light/sound option.

Pacifica model 5000
9" tall, 30" long wave cell, 5" diameter cell. Model 5002 has light/sound option.
New colors are added to the:
Midnight
additional colors added:
Orange/ Orange
Pink/ Pink

By now, anything old is rare. 1970s/80s Aristocrat, Century, Enchantress easiest to find. 1960s Consort easiest to find.
 
 
 

1991

Coach Lantern
Discontinued.

Midnight
New colors slowly added to lineup.

After this time, new models such as Century lamps in black (doesn't last long) and silver bases as well as brass, Aristocrats in silver and black as well as brass, the Princess (an Enchantress form with a white base and coral, yellow or purple in clear), the Elec-Trick (Enchantress form in red, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple and pink with matching blacklight-responsive bases), the Silver Streak (Enchantress form with silver base), and Giant Lava (Titan) lamps come marching onto market. First, Enchantress caps, followed by Century/Aristocrat caps, are updated from a screw-on top to a crimped metal bottlecap with a false plastic cap sitting over it. A whole lineup of new colors flood the lineup. Gold Aristocrat, gold Enchantress and gold Century keep the "classic" 1980s two: Red/Yellow and White/Blue. These three are now known as the "Classics". Lamp's official name changed from "Lava Lite" to "Lava Lite Lamp".
New black lava in clear liquid comes on market - is best-seller color until black "Midnight Century" is discontinued.
 
 
 

mid 1990s

Lava-Simplex, under Haggerty Enterprises, becomes Lava World.  Lava World introduces the Icon series with its ceramic bases in the form of skulls, alien heads, devils, evil deranged clowns ("Cranky the Clown" Think horror movie here; also think of those ceramic bases used on water pipes sold for dubious purposes), nasty jesters ("Chester the Jester"), and stoned mushroom-people ("Toady"). After a time, these are discontinued and simpler versions with ceramic caps come out, followed by a model with Garfield on the base.

New lamps currently on the market include:

The Wizard
A Carlisle type cone on a footed black plastic tray, with holes shaped like stars and moons. Pointed metal overcap also has stars/moons cutouts. Available with black, silver, and metallic red or blue bases and caps, one line is of the Lava Lite type while the other contains glitter like a Gem Lite. Gem Lite is new formula - uses a nasty staining/icky fumes if broken type of liquid.

The Starship
A sleek Enchantress bottle and pointed cap with a tapered, pointed-bottom base supported by three long, curved rocket fin legs. Available in black base (with a ring of holes in base and cap) or silver (without holes). A less graceful counterpart to UK-made Crestworth (Mathmos) Telstar.

Psychedelic Swirl
Limited Edition lamps hand-painted with wild tie-die-like swirls of white. Enchantress shape. Lamp bases come in purple, green, blue and red.

Year 2000 Lava
A polished chrome Aristocrat with the number "2000" cut out of the base so it glows. A limited Edition of 5,000 lamps were made.
Yellow/ Blue

Knock-Offs, Etc.
Other Lava Lite Lamps made by another company but using Century-size Lava World bottles are a Beatles Yellow Submarine lamp, a KISS lamp, and a Coca-Cola lamp with a base featuring the Coca-Cola polar bear. These are limited editions of 10,000.
    The new official lamp name is the "Lava brand Motion Lamp". Lava World allows companies such as Lyon Design to make their own lava lamps, for royalties payments.
    Lamps manufactured by other companies who pay Lava World for use of the lamp configuration include:
Glo-Oozy/Flo-Oozy, Space Lamp, Cosmic Lamp, etc. Tall, narrow cylinders with black or chrome flared base. Also made in larger version. Both sizes and both colors made with lava wax or Gem Lite type glitter inside. Versions are produced with bases/caps covered in decoratively patterned Fimo, a modeling clay often formed into intricate patterns.
    "Scenic" lava lamps with decorated base/top. Designs include "alien spacecraft", "sharks", "flower garden", "Santa Claus", "Dinosaurs", and "polar bears - penguins".
Lyon Design's pointed-top "rocket lamps" with cylinder base, in black or silver,
"Gas Pump" lamp with themes such as Route 66, Texaco advertising, and hippie flowers.
"Way Out Lite" shaped as an old fashioned gumball machine with red enameled base and top and glass globe with red/clear lava inside. Formula cheap, tends to cloud.
 
 
 

This is Lava history in the USA as I know it... Enjoy!
If you have any information or suggestions/corrections/additions, want to see a photo or sketch of one of these, have lamps or catalogs to sell or trade, or simply want to discuss your collection or shoot the breeze about old Lava Lites, email me - Jonas Goo
Thank you!
~ Jonas Goo
 

1960s      1970s       1980s       1990s