Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Aristocrat base that garnered a sideways stare

Aristocrat base that garnered a sideways stare

A recent pick up. Based on the box it appears to be an earlier lamp, but not sure how old. On its own it just looked odd to me, so I grab two of my other Aristocrat bases to compare. Base on the left is from a screw top, base on the right is from a later lamp w/bottle cap. Oddball is in the middle.

In all, a taller base, but the proportions are all out of whack compared to what I am accustomed to. As you can see, a much shorter lower cone and much taller upper cone compared to more modern Aristocrats.

A couple more pics follow.

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Comment by Jonas Clark-Elliott on July 5, 2014 at 5:26am

The most interesting thing about these is that they're actually not the first Aristo design. The first Aristocrat, white squiggle with a gold cap, had the standard base shape we're used to. From 1966 on, it gained a matching cap, then was joined by a black squiggle version, then was joined by the Starlight Aristocrat with brass finish and perforations... Then the squiggles were discontinued... By 1969, we still had the short bases. Around 1970, we had these. By 1972, we were back to short bases. The best guess I have is that these were the first solution to fitting a 40-watt A-bulb into the Aristo base, and it was then decided, "Hey, wouldn't it be easier if we kept the same shape and just raised the socket?" (60s Aristocrats take a 30-watt reflector bulb, and an A-bulb won't fit in them due to the low socket).

Comment by Jim on July 1, 2014 at 7:18am

Jonas and Lamphead - many, many thanks for the additional info.  Very pleased I stumbled across this one.  Didn't think anything of it when I first saw it; was one of those can't go wrong with a vintage Aristocrat for little more than the price of a Big Mac and fries types of decisions.  It wasn't until I got home that I noticed something seemed a little "off" with the base.  Added bonus is that the base is 100% ding and dent free, not even a dimple anywhere on it.

Comment by LampHead on July 1, 2014 at 2:58am

 Jonas would have been my go to guy with this question. Like he said it is a early version so my only guess is its the first Aristo model. I have seen them called "talls" over the years and have seen a handful in peoples collections. Im thinking the top cone is taller due to it being the first base design where the bulb does not sit down inside the bottom cone like a Century. Maybe they were worried about overheating. I do have a white Squiggle that takes a 30 watt reflector bulb from the factory per the sticker on the base ( I think its a 1973 if I remember ). I have a "tall" and it runs like the regular based Aristo. Odd and cool to have.

Comment by Jonas Clark-Elliott on July 1, 2014 at 1:38am

What's the real story on these? I wish I knew! But I do have a page - sadly, not an official catalog - which pictures this, giving us a date of 1970. The next dated picture I have is 1972, which has the usual shape, as did earlier models. I'd assume there was a good reason they made them like this; as to what that reason is, anyone's guess is good. But I've seen photos of several of them, so if they were a mistake, a lot were made before they discovered it!

Comment by Blind on June 30, 2014 at 5:33pm
Jonas tAlked about this a while back.
Comment by Critter on June 30, 2014 at 8:27am
Jim. The folks who actually produced it are long gone. Lava Lite is just an old trademarked name that has been sold and resold so many times that there is basically no one there any more from their early "glory days".

Neat lamp though.
Comment by Erin on June 30, 2014 at 8:18am

Weird. I've never seen one like that. Definitely odd! Now I'm curious too! 

Comment by Jim on June 30, 2014 at 7:16am

I am dubious about it being a production error unless the assembly line workers were seriously impaired that day.  I could see having an oopsie daisy on either the lower cone or the upper cone, but both on the same lamp seems curious. 

The lower cone is especially puzzling - I can think of no other lamp that would have a pierced/starlight cone of that proportion.  Why would a cone with those proportions even be in Lava Lite's (likely Lava Simplex back then) possession?  Doesn't seem to be proper for any of the lamps in their line up.

Would love to learn more about this base... Jonas to the red courtesy phone.  If only Lava Lite embraced their past and had either a historical database of their production specs or, better yet, a US lava lamp museum on premises.  Sadly, I suspect I will make more traction finding details on this lamp here than I would talking to the folks who actually produced it.

Comment by Critter on June 29, 2014 at 8:22pm

Jim......production error?  Definitely weird proportions.

Comment by Jim on June 29, 2014 at 6:21pm

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