Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

How to buy Mathmos in the USA

You may not realize it with Lava Lamps being an American icon the lava lamp was actually invented in Great Britain by Edward Craven Walker in the early 1960's. The rights to produce and sell the lamps in the USA were sold to some businessmen who then sold it to Larry Haggerty who formed Haggerty Enterprises. This agreement stated that Mathmos could not sell Lava Lamps in the USA. Unfortunately many years later this is still in place. Fortunately for those Americans who want a Mathmos lava lamp there is a way around this. Nothing stops individuals from shipping Mathmos lamps to the USA after purchase. Here is how you do it.

Before buying be aware that once the lamps leave the UK their warranty is voided. If you have any problems with your lamps Mathmos will not help you no matter the cause of the defect.

You will need a shipping forwarder and an understanding of currency conversion. First you need to set up your forwarder. In this example Forward2Me will be used. You should get a shipping address that is tied to your account. For example if you sign up for Forward2Me you will get an address with your name and a generated number. You will need this later.

Now create your account on the Mathmos site or update your account with your forwarding address. Buy your lamps and pay however you can. Note that a lot of bank accounts have restrictions on international payments. Sometimes it is easier to pay with PayPal, but be aware they charge a small fee and hide it in the currency exchange. Another thing to note is you may be able to avoid the VAT if you use the UK Tax Free warehouse offered by Forward2Me. I didn't use that in this case, but it might work.

Here is where things get painful. £231 may not seem like a lot, but the exchange rate has historically not been in our favor. That means this order is costing me $331. This does not include international shipping.

Once you put in your order your forwarder should notify you once the order has been received by them. Once they are ready to ship your lamps to you they will provide you with a shipping rate. In this case it was £116 or $162 bringing me up to a combined total cost of $493 for 1 lamp and 5 extra globes. It took 5 business days from the time of the order to the lamps being delivered when DHL was chosen for the international carrier. Breaking that down I will provide estimated costs for those interested in going through with the hassle.

Estimated costs:

$140 for an Astro with globe.

$31 for an Astro globe with the "accessory discount".

$41 for an Astro globe without the "accessory discount".

$50-$100 for shipping.


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