Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

All,

I am the lucky guy who purchased Jim's Imperial. This is the before pic. The stand was a wreck and had been painted a flat white with some gold "antiquing" paint on top of that. The globe, while never opened, was low on fluid and it would not flow. This is the state that Jim purchased it in he would not do this to a lamp of this caliber so don't blame him for the state of the lamp in this pic.

Before:

This is a picture of the Imperial today. I've stripped and refinished the stand. I restored the metal feet, cleaned up the top and metal base and without opening the bottle was able to top off the fluid while tweaking fluid density. I did this with a hypodermic needle via the top vent hole in the cap. That took endless hours. The lamp looks as close to new as you can find and flows like a champ. I did refinish the wood top but went on and had a solid walnut top done up to give the lamp a true "piece of quality furniture" appearance. In this pic is the solid top, I have wrapped and stored the walnut veneered particle board original top. I'm proud of my work on this iconic sixties lamp.

After:

I hope you all enjoy the pics....I've spent a lot of time, energy and of course green on this lamp restoration.

Crit

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I think in some cases the 60s "red" was used in place of the true orange, because no catalog from that era lists a red/yellow but I've seen lamps from that era with orange or red wax in yellow liquid. It wasn't until the early 70s that they switched to blood-red wax and continued calling it "orange/yellow" despite it being *DARK* red.

Jonas - although it is no longer my lamp to speak to, the wax color on this quite closely resembles the "red" wax in a Squiggle.  Almost a strawberry red.

Jonas Clark-Elliott said:

I think in some cases the 60s "red" was used in place of the true orange, because no catalog from that era lists a red/yellow but I've seen lamps from that era with orange or red wax in yellow liquid. It wasn't until the early 70s that they switched to blood-red wax and continued calling it "orange/yellow" despite it being *DARK* red.

Jonas,

This wax is straight up red, and "strawberry" isn't a bad comparison.  I have orange/yellow sixties lamps too and this wax is not even close to the same color.  Interestingly, when this lamp flows the wax becomes VERY clear, not perfectly clear, but not just translucent either.  I wonder if other Red wax Imperials become quite clear when they flow too?

Bill

Very nice work!

Just curious, why you couldn't just open the top?

That would probably be it, a case of 'the red has some orange in it so call it orange' i was going to say that there might have been the possablitie of it being a custom but from what you said Jonas its highly unlikely.

Jonas Clark-Elliott said:

I think in some cases the 60s "red" was used in place of the true orange, because no catalog from that era lists a red/yellow but I've seen lamps from that era with orange or red wax in yellow liquid. It wasn't until the early 70s that they switched to blood-red wax and continued calling it "orange/yellow" despite it being *DARK* red.

Astra,

The risk of breaking the cylinder is very high when removing the top on the Imperial.  Unlike the Princess which has a lid which screws down and a decorative cover the Imperial has one lid that serves both to seal the cylinder and looks good too.  This top is bonded to the glass with a strong adhesive.  Last year Tom S. broke his imperial cylinder while removing the top.  I would have removed the top only if I had no other option for topping off the cylinder.

Critter


Astralav said:

Very nice work!

Just curious, why you couldn't just open the top?

That's a very good reason.

You made the right choice not taking this risk.

Hey critter,
Tonight I have lived the dream, and was able to purchase an Imperial off craigslist locally. I'm wondering how long it takes to warm up, and how do I check to see if it has the right bulb? The metal base appears to be stuck to the globe. Thanks, and I love yours btw. A masterpiece! Mine needs work :-)
Congrats Christian....that brings the number of known Imperials up to 9...unless of course you have just picked up one of those we already knew about.

Let me know if you need any tips or help happy to lend a hand.
I got it in Lee County, Florida. It was sitting on the lanai near the pool no less! I was about to knock off $20 from the price because she knew it was an old antique and yet left it outside in 90 degree humidity. Luckily I don't think she owned it long as they had just moved in. The wax is red but almost looks orange with the light on. Fluid is full of particles and I'm not sure it will run as I'm not sure if it has the right bulb. Been on 2.5 hours now and Seems melted but hasn't flowed.
Thanks as I will definitely need assistance on this one. Feeling very fortunate tonight!

Nicely done! I'm curious about the hole in the cap. I've heard other Imperial owners mention this feature. I have a blue/green Imperial that does not have a hole in the cap. In your opinion, does it look like the hole is intentional (i.e. drilled), or is it a result of the thin metal at the peak of the cap breaking away?

Fog., mine has the hole and it is definitely drilled and was done so from the inside out. So the cap was drilled prior to sealing it in place.

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