Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Lava Lite Identification

USA Screw Caps

Lamps with screw on caps were manufactured with a sticker inside the cap that had the date printed on them. You may also find the date of the lamp printed on the bottom of the base. Screw top caps were used from 1965 until 1995 on 52 oz. models and until 1993 on 32 oz. models, after that they switched to bottlecap-type tops. Not every lamp will have the tag as they tend to fall out if the cap has been unscrewed.

 

52 oz. model... Nov.1974

32 oz. model... Sept. 1980, Model 205

 

Base Identification

Some older lamps have dated bases as well. Some of them will have stickers on the inside ring on the top of the lamp like this Century model.

Sept. 1973

Some will have a date printed on the bottom.

Nov. 1971

USA Cap Codes

Lamps that are capped with bottle caps have a date printed on them. On 32 oz. globes there are two big numbers printed on the left side of the cap that have the model number on them.

 

An example:

03010609P

      061801A

This would mean this lamp is model number: 03 (a white/blue).

 

Color code # 29

Color code # 13


On 52 oz. globes the numbers also have some characters with the big numbers such as "D" and sometimes an extra number in front of the color code, so you might see something like 103D. The code for this would be 03.

 

Color code # 21

 

Picture made by Dr. WHAT?!

 

Noteworthy globes:

  • 01 Clear / white -
    • Probably the rarest color combo on this chart that you can actually get a stamped cap for. The wax is not actually white, but undyed wax. Every formula tested originally starts out as a clear/white to ensure the formula flows properly before dying. There were some prototype models made using this color and some employees were able to take some home and then they entered the secondary market. This color is actually very common on eBay, but only because other model lamps get faded over time due to various reasons and lose all dye in the water resulting in a clear/white. Purple/White is especially easy to fade into a clear/white.
  • 06 Clear / red
    • Same color as #18, but sold as red. It was eventually replaced replaced with the # 10 color which was a more true red, but later came back as a # 18 clear/cranberry
  • 07 Clear / peach
    • Very rare combo that likely never left the factory. It was intended to be used for the Elek-Trick line, but due to shelf space availability in stores it was cancelled for and altered to be the #14 clear/pink that made it to the market. 
  • 11 Clear / neon yellow
    • Very rare combo only seen in the first runs of Elec-Trick models and was later swapped for the regular # 08 clear/yellow since Lava Lite thought that it was too neon of a yellow to be considered a true yellow.
  • 16A Clear / chocolate
    • There is no official "16A". The A was added by the author of the graphic to notate that there was a deviation in color significant enough to be noteworthy. A "chocolate" globe is just a variation of a 16 clear/black and therefor will have a "16" stamped on the cap. It is so different that it actually does resemble molten chocolate. This makes the globe uniquely desired by collectors because it could have very well been marketed as a completely different color. The story behind this color is that it was a bad batch of #16 clear/black with an estimated production run of 2500 units. They were released with snake skin and chocolate swirl bases.
  • 23 Blue / green
    • Never left color testing due to it being dropped in favor of #24 blue/yellow which Lava Lite determined looked better.
  • 36 Green glitter
    • Limited quantities were made due to space available on vendor shelves.
  • 37 Yellow glitter
    • Limited quantities were made due to space available on vendor shelves.
  • 38 Orange glitter
    • Limited quantities were made due to space available on vendor shelves.

 

See liquid swapping section regarding how to create rare or unreleased colors.

Chinese Cap Codes

Another unfortunate decision made by Lava Lite with their move to Chin was the loss of cap codes used to identify color combos. The numbers on the lamps now only denote the production run and the date. There is a lot of inconsistencies with how the caps are printed as well. This could be due to when the lamps were produced or possibly what factory in China produced the lamps. There are several different manufacturers at any given time producing lamps for Lava Lite. Really the only information you can gain from these is the manufacture date. You can also be certain if you see any of the caps below the lamp was made in China.

May 14th, 2008

December 12th, 2018

September 19th, 2010

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