How Lava Lamps Are Made | The Making Of

How Lava Lamps Are Made | The Making Of


Lava lamps might be
the most cult itemof lighting in the world.Since their invention in 1963,millions of lamps have
been sold across the globe.And while their popularity has
gone through ups and downs,their instantly recognizable
style isn’t going anywhere.But what actually goes into
creating these iconic lamps?This simple, yet hypnotic lampcame from pretty
humble origins.Inventor Edward
Craven Walkercame up with the
idea after spottinga handmade egg timer
that used heated waxin a cocktail shaker.And after seeing thisand months of
testing his ideasand adapting this concept
into a colorful lamp,Walker came up
with his final design:as it was called at the
time, the Astro Lamp.The idea was patented,and Walker started the company
now known as Mathmos.Mathmos has now been creating
lamps for over 50 years,and while it’s introduced
new designs,the original remains
its top seller.So, how is it
actually made?The process starts with
custom glass bottles.Glass is blown into the
shape required for each lamp.Molten blobs of glass
are dropped into a mold.A machine blows air into the
top of the bottle to shape it,and the newly shaped bottles
are then released and cooled.While this is all
done mechanically,everything is checked
over by hand.The bottles are inspected,and any that don’t make
the cut are discarded.Quality control is crucial,as each bottle needs to fit
perfectly into its housingand the glass
need to withstandconstant heating
and cooling.The next part of the
process is metal spinning,a process that takes
a thin sheet of steeland bends it around
a spinning toolto create the
right shape.Each base and cap
is hand spun,and then the resulting
pieces are polished.Once these two
components are finished,the lamp is ready
to be filled.The liquid is added
along with a metal springthat helps distribute
the heat.The exact formula
of the fluidis a well-guarded secret,but there’s one
key to it: density.There are two main
components in a lava lamp:a colored wax and a colored
solution that it sits in.As the lamp heats up, the
density of the wax changesand it begins to
float in the liquid.When it hits the top, it
cools and falls back down.Getting the density of these
two ingredients just right,though, is where the
secret knowledge comes in.Stephen Sharkey: It wasn’t a
room much bigger than this,but it was
split in half.Teaspoon,chemical,bit of chemistry set,little bit of this,
little bit of that.Does it work?On the other
side was actuallya little bit of spinningto make the spinning.And it sort of evolved
from there, really.Our unique production side
is the bottle filling.There are only a few
people here on-sitethat actually know
the ingredients,and there are loads of
people in this companythat are not allowed to know
how that product is made.Narrator: Once the two
liquids are mixed,the bottle is submerged
in hot water.This water bath cleanly
separates out the liquidsand stops any wax
that would be stuckto the side
of the bottle.Lids are glued on, and the
bottles are ready to go.Mathmos has sold millions
of its lamps over the years.The design is so
true to the originalthat you could still
buy the spare partsfor a lamp made in 1965.And at its peak
popularity in the ’90s,it was selling over
800,000 lamps a year.Sharkey: I think
it representsthe ’60s, the 1960s,when the world
was changing.The iconic brand, for me,
relates to the fact thatit’s still manufactured
here in Britain.It’s still manufactured
in the same process.It’s still built in
the same place.But more
importantly,it’s still part of
the original design,which makes it
such an icon.

83 thoughts on “How Lava Lamps Are Made | The Making Of

  1. what the heck.. last night I was literally wondering how lava lamps are made and now I just got a notification for this video…

  2. I've always wondered what they were made of and how they were made. I used to have quite a few back in middle school. That was, like, 2006 and they were pretty popular.

  3. Their website says that it will soon be available for purchase in Canada, any idea if that's going to happen? I'd love to have that light blue lamp in clear liquid.

  4. Till this day I still want that big ass over sized lava lamp I would see at Spencer's gifts back in the 90s…damm I loved that lamp but could never afford but I sure did afford the little one..best day of my life when I got that lamp…

  5. I have a few of the small ones and a Lava Grandé that was on clearance at Walmart maybe 15 years ago for $30. It's 27" tall and uses a 60 Watt bulb.

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