The Lava Lamp: Any Truly Groovy '60s Pad Had One. Did Yours?

By | January 19, 2018

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Left: detail of a 1980 publicity photo of the B-52s, in which singer Kate Pierson holds a lava lamp. Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images. Right: a lava lamp in action with the lights turned off. Source: Wikimedia commons.

In the ultimate groovy pad, the lava lamp is a must. The beanbag chair, the hand chair, the macrame owl, a poster by R. Crumb -- there are lots of pieces of furniture and decor that take us back to that era but nothing quite like a lava lamp. Shaped like a rocket, it seems to run on space-age chemicals (even though it doesn't), and it's trippy and hypnotic -- the lava lamp combines the optimisic futurism of the early '60s with the psychedelic haze of the late '60s. 

The First Lava Lamp

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Lava Lamps were first invented in 1963 by a British accountant named, Edward Craven-Walker. Oddly enough, his inspiration came from, of all things, an egg timer. This particular egg timer had been a homemade project fashioned out of a glass cocktail shaker filled with liquid. The egg timer, which was used in a local pub, was sitting on a stovetop bubbling when it caught his eye. It intrigued Craven-Walker and the wheels started turning.