boiler". Stevemo, do you see your friend's lamp on my list?
Boilers, the basic variety, slowly fill bottom to top, "boil" violently, drain, then repeat - mine takes around 20 minutes to fill. A few types, such as nos. 12, 13 and 14, fill up and then bubble constantly.
Glitterboilers encase one of these types, usually the latter, inside a glitter lamp.
Lavaboilers throw up explosions of oil-covered air bubbles, which pop at the top, the oil coating reforming into falling globules. As the top is hidden by a foil ring, the viewer sees only big clear bubbles going up, and small colored ones coming down. The non-bead types often have indents in the glass to cause the bubbles to bounce around. The beads in other types are there to break up the bubbles to make them smaller and more numerous, so they collide constantly with the falling globules.
Fountainboilers use the rising vapors to push liquid up a pipe into a nozzle, spraying it out, and the lava geyser type has colored oil forced up in spurts into clear liquid.
The bubblers work on the same principle as a bubble-tube Christmas light: bubbles form in the "bumpers" (here, either glass beads or gravel) and then float constantly to the top.
The handboilers are operrated by picking them up and holding them.
I believe they were made in the early to mid 1970s in France, and I know at least two makers' names: F. Vaudan in Paris, and S. Vera in Cleremont-Ferrand. The glassblowing is first-rate, by someone who knows serious scientific glassblowing techniques, and they may have used a glass lathe. I believe the standard models, fountainboilers and bubblers, and inner chambers on glitterboilers contain Methylene Chloride, Freon-11 or similar. I'm not sure what's the oil or the clear liquid in the lavaboilers. The glitterboilers' glitter part probably contains a solvent like perc (perchloroethylene, a chlorinated solvent) and I'd hate to see what results when one gets broken and both solvents mix!…
l. The heat from the electric light warms the liquid, causing it to evaporate. Vapor collecting in the space above the liquid in the reservoir forces the liquid up the central tube, until it forms a pool in the upper globe. Some boilers begin full or nearly full, and the liquid level rises only enough to start the "boiling". When the liquid level in the reservoir drops below the lower end of the fill tube, vapor rushes up the pipe, with the bubbles bounced around in interesting ways by the variously shaped center sections, before reaching the top where they percolate through the pool, giving the appearance of violent boiling. The liquid then swiftly empties to the normal low point, and the process begins again.
Fountainboilers form vapor bubbles in the reservoir, which rise up the central tube, forcing liquid up and out of the jet(s) into the upper pool. Holes around the edge of the tube allow liquid from the pool to return to the reservoir, but this area is conical so that rising bubbles always go up the central tube. One rare form of fountain has a second, higher fountain which operates intermittently when liquid and vapor build up in the lower fountain, and it has a long drain pipe leading back to the reservoir.
Lavaboilers have a clear liquid and a colored oil. Vapor bubbles form in the oil, and rise swiftly to the top, surrounded by an invisible film of oil. Reaching the top, they pop and the oil reforms into little globules which float back down and are bounced about by the rising bubbles. Most but not all of these share two traits: a ring of foil at the top which hides the liquid level (and the conversion from clear bubble to colored globule) and various sorts of indentations in the glass which serve to bounce the bubbles around. A few lack one, the other, or both. Lavaboilers with beads do not have indentations but, rather, have a layer of glass beads in the oil which break up the rising bubbles, making for smaller bubbles in larger numbers.
Glitterboilers put a boiler inside a glitter lamp, wherein mylar glitter floats around on the convection currents formed in the liquid. Some of these have normal fill-boil-drain boilers, while others simply percolate continuously.
Lava fountains use clear liquid and colored oil like a lavaboiler, but use the vapor bubble principle of a fountain to push geysers of oil upward or force tiny steams of oil bubbles out of little jets into the clear liquid.
Bubblers operate on the principle of a Christmas or jukebox bubble tube: vapor bubbles form and rise to the top. These have lots and lots of bubbles due to the use of "bumpers" (usually beads, in one lamp porous lava gravel) which give lots of surface area on which the bubbles form.
Handboilers are just that: operated by holding them in your hand. The love meter has a graduated scale with things like "boring", "exciting", "on fire", "passionate" etc. in French. One model can raise the liquid in three successive stages if one's hand is placed around each bulb in succession. Many of these were made in Taiwan, Japan etc. but here are only French models.
I include French liquid hourglasses because they were likely created by artists who also made boilers. One must be upended to fill, while the other has twin hourglasses attached at the center and metal end caps and can simply be flipped upside-down.
New copies of this list will be uploaded every so often as more lamps are added. Note that some lamps hide the bulb with a wrap of silver foil, some use a frosted surface inside the bulb compartment, while a few use both and a few others have neither. Those with metal bases can be lifted out of or off the base to change the bulb, while entirely-glass ones are lifted off the table and the socket slid out of the open bottom.…