Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Why are certain lamps more cloudy looking right out of the box these days ?

Hey guys,  I'm new to the community, and was looking for an existing discussion thread, but since I couldn't find one decided to start a new one.

Anyway here is a short background.  I've owned one Lava lamp for over 20 years.  It has functioned perfectly, nice and clear, etc.  I decided to finally get some more after I saw they were still being sold today.

Here is the problem, I started with the smaller lamps from Walmart, since it's the closest place I can simply walk to.  Anyway  They have a few choices there, blue with white wax, purple with pink wax, and the  color max rainbow lamp.  clear with white wax and colored glass.  All these are 14.5 inch lamps, and they seem to be genuine lava lamps made by whatever company is servicing the US right now.

The issues I've had with these lamps (mainly the colored liquid models) are cloudyness.  The issue is, they don't seem like it's the type of cloudyness people refer to as looking dirty, or distorted.  This type is more like the liquid is really thick, the wax flows normally, and for the most part is the right color.

Also the ColorMax model mentioned above has always come much clearer..

Since I've wanted the larger lamps, I've also gone to Spencer's, and those lamps have come perfectly.  With the exception of the first one which had a distorted based from the factory, so exchanged it and the replacement was fine, and all others after as well.  After the experience, they have really been good about checking the lamps in store before I buy (just in case).  Walmart not so much unless i buy the lamp first then open it and return it if it's not good.

Anyway with all this out of the way, why do the two models i mention here seem more translucent vs transparent?  They don't seem to have been shaken as the fluid and wax are in good order, they just seem like the chemical mix is thicker.

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These  are the lamps from Walmart vs Spencer's Lamps.

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From what I have read on the internet and here...all of the lamps sold in the US are made in China. They are using an inferior liquid and wax. It seems to be pot luck in buying a good one. Everyone suggests inspecting them before you buy.

Most of the lava lamps today, like mention in previous post are made in China, Chinese crap!  Substandard materials, shortcuts, just crap bro.  Save yourself frustration, money, time on returns, refunds or whatever you are exhausting here and buy pre 2003 USA made lamps.  Chances of getting a decent lamp today from china are slim, like playing the lottery.  Use FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Offer Up for your resources for buying decent lamps.  Just scored and Nightmare lava lamp from a collector for 125 bones and a 97 Alien Icon for 20 bucks  and a Lava lamp Star Ship lamp for 10 bucks, all off Offer Up.

    All of those easy over 100 bucks start auction price on EBAY.   I won't knock EBAY either as I have obtained great deals from there as well on Super Rare lamps and fiber optic lamps.  Just have to educate yourself on how to evaluate these lamps for value, and quality.  Ask questions! 

    If I see a lamp on ebay or offer up will question sellers with problems I see with the lamps as a potential buyer, as to give them an idea I know what I am talking about and they trying to sell a piece of crap to an unsuspecting, uninformed buyer. Seeing sticking, cracks, dents, any of those problems and getting a description of "Is in great condition" or "It works great" and can see obviously that is has problems chaps my ass!  Just be aware that this goes on and for arm yourself with knowledge of these potential problems and again, ask questions.  Very rarely will you come across the "It's too good to be true" deal.  But, it does happen from time to time.

    The guys and gals here are so nice, and full of information and so willing to help, just reach out and ask questions.  We have posters here that are vendors as well, ClaudeJ, Marcel, Kirk and Joe Penny, are a few that dabble in their own favorite lamps and accessories to make our lamps better or put you on track with a great working lamp!  (Just a plug for you guys, hehe)   We are all here for each other to further the hobby and perpetuate these beautiful, intriguing lamps!  Good luck with your quest and welcome aboard to your "new" again to you, addiction!

MaGoo!



Mr MaGoo said:

Most of the lava lamps today, like mention in previous post are made in China, Chinese crap!  Substandard materials, shortcuts, just crap bro.  Save yourself frustration, money, time on returns, refunds or whatever you are exhausting here and buy pre 2003 USA made lamps.  Chances of getting a decent lamp today from china are slim, like playing the lottery.  Use FB Marketplace, Craigslist, Offer Up for your resources for buying decent lamps.  Just scored and Nightmare lava lamp from a collector for 125 bones and a 97 Alien Icon for 20 bucks  and a Lava lamp Star Ship lamp for 10 bucks, all off Offer Up.

    All of those easy over 100 bucks start auction price on EBAY.   I won't knock EBAY either as I have obtained great deals from there as well on Super Rare lamps and fiber optic lamps.  Just have to educate yourself on how to evaluate these lamps for value, and quality.  Ask questions! 

    If I see a lamp on ebay or offer up will question sellers with problems I see with the lamps as a potential buyer, as to give them an idea I know what I am talking about and they trying to sell a piece of crap to an unsuspecting, uninformed buyer. Seeing sticking, cracks, dents, any of those problems and getting a description of "Is in great condition" or "It works great" and can see obviously that is has problems chaps my ass!  Just be aware that this goes on and for arm yourself with knowledge of these potential problems and again, ask questions.  Very rarely will you come across the "It's too good to be true" deal.  But, it does happen from time to time.

    The guys and gals here are so nice, and full of information and so willing to help, just reach out and ask questions.  We have posters here that are vendors as well, ClaudeJ, Marcel, Kirk and Joe Penny, are a few that dabble in their own favorite lamps and accessories to make our lamps better or put you on track with a great working lamp!  (Just a plug for you guys, hehe)   We are all here for each other to further the hobby and perpetuate these beautiful, intriguing lamps!  Good luck with your quest and welcome aboard to your "new" again to you, addiction!

MaGoo!

Thanks so much, I can tell you that buying Lava lamps from Spencer's has been a complete success of a good lamp.  I did have one bad one, but they exchanged it, and now I check them each time before buying.  So I know I'm taking home a good lamp.  I will avoid places like Walmart now for Lava lamps, they got upset when  checking  lamps before  buying.  Also the lamps from Spencer's seem to be made by a different company, and because they specialize in stuff like Lava lamps over a big box store such as Walmart, I think their quality control is better.

The other thing is, I prefer to buy locally because of everything that can go wrong in shipping.  But there are people here with more experience than me on this forum, and which is why I wanted to join a lava  lamp community so I could learn from those who have had more than just 1 24 year old lamp.

Out of 15 Lava Lamps I have in my collection now, only 3 have questionable quality.  Not a bad ratio.  The problem with my really old lamp is I think it's run it's days and needs a new bottle as the wax really flakes apart now once it's been on a while.

It was a 1996 model, and it's a 17 inch.  What I was thinking about doing was, buying a 17 inch lava lamp I really don't care for the base for, but the bottle is a similar color to it's original.  Since the bottles are the same size, would making a new custom lamp work?  As far as the cheap quality, goes, I've only run into that problem buying lava lamps from my local Walmart.  Buying them from places such as Spencer's Gifts have usually yielded perfectly clear working lamps.

Originally I was going to buy form Mathmos as they are the main company, however they don't seem to sell to the US and Canada yet.  They have a page though that let's you ask to be notified when you can buy directly.

Another question I have, when it comes to collecting, or buying older lamps, is a flea market a good place?  I would much rather  buy things of this nature used from people in person so i can see it for real instead of just pictures.

You can still buy Mathmos if you want too. Read this on reddit...

https://www.reddit.com/r/Lavalamps/comments/izo6ai/okay_so_you_are_...

It is posted here on oozinggoo somewhere. I just do not remember where.


Clinton W Salvato said:

Out of 15 Lava Lamps I have in my collection now, only 3 have questionable quality.  Not a bad ratio.  The problem with my really old lamp is I think it's run it's days and needs a new bottle as the wax really flakes apart now once it's been on a while.

It was a 1996 model, and it's a 17 inch.  What I was thinking about doing was, buying a 17 inch lava lamp I really don't care for the base for, but the bottle is a similar color to it's original.  Since the bottles are the same size, would making a new custom lamp work?  As far as the cheap quality, goes, I've only run into that problem buying lava lamps from my local Walmart.  Buying them from places such as Spencer's Gifts have usually yielded perfectly clear working lamps.

Originally I was going to buy form Mathmos as they are the main company, however they don't seem to sell to the US and Canada yet.  They have a page though that let's you ask to be notified when you can buy directly.

Another question I have, when it comes to collecting, or buying older lamps, is a flea market a good place?  I would much rather  buy things of this nature used from people in person so i can see it for real instead of just pictures.

@LukyDuck

Thank you very much for the information.  I'll keep it handy, if I decide to go through all that at some point.  It sounds to me based on the information I've gotten in reply, is that like anything else. Lava Lamps in the US today, aren't the same as they used to be years ago because of manufacturing changes.  However, it also sounds like that in addition to the used market, as long as I'm able to check the Lamp prior to buying and leaving the store, and find it to be in the condition it should be, then I'll be OK and save a lot of headache.  As I mentioned  in previous posts, I have already found that where I purchase the lamps seems to also make a big difference as well.  The two retailers I've compared are Walmart, and Spencer's Gifts.

My experience so far as shown me, that I'm more likely to get a lamp in perfect condition from Spencer's Gifts, vs a retailer such as Walmart.  I also think the lamps each sells may be made by different companies.  The packaging is different, and the quality and cost are different.  There has also been another main factor I've noticed.  The 16, 16.3, and 17 inch lamps all seem to be in 100% good condition over the smaller lamps such as the 14.5, and 11.5 inch lamps that I've purchased.

As I've mentioned, I only had one damaged lamp from Spencer's out of everything I've purchased, and it was a defective base that got bent out of shape in manufacturing as it was warped and couldn't be bent back into the right shape.  The liquid and the bottle were perfect. After exchanging it and since, all the lamps have checked out 100%.  I was told by the employee who has been helping me get my lamps, that if they catch any bad / damaged  lamps in shipments they won't even put them out for sale.  They also make a good practice  of showing the customer what the lamp looks like before purchase, especially if there is no display model to see.  So at least for me, I've had good experience there.  Anyway, I've pretty much gotten all the lamps I've wanted for now.  Initially I just wanted maybe 1 to 3 others to go with my old one, but now I ended up going a little overboard out of excitement seeing lava lamps are still for sale.  So I got a bunch to fill in empty places in the apartment because the ones I prefer are slim and compact and easy to put just about anywhere to make a display from.  I thought I wanted a Grande at some point, but to be honest, I'm happier with the smaller lamps when it comes to space, and the fact I don't want to deal with 100 watt bulbs.  I was hoping for a smart lava lamp one day  with an LCD as the globe part and even maybe had a speaker and could either sync to music,  or display an actual volcano with sound.  With today's tech I'm really surprised that's not a reality at this point.

I was just curious, this is the smallest Lava Lamp I have, it's an 11.5 inch.  Are the smaller sizes below 17 inch, or 16.x inch more of a modern thing, or  have there always been really tiny lava lamps available from the very beginning ?

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