Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Got this off eBay, but it took the lady about 3 weeks to ship it. It was really cloudy when I first got it, but it's cleared up some after two runs. The base is not the typical gold, it's more of a muted copper or something. The base also has two pieces that come apart and there's a cone inside the base. Any additional info anyone might have on this lamp would be appreciated. Model 104 on box - blue/yellow (how did it end up green?). Also, very little wax in this globe.

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Albums: 60s Lamps


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Comment by Erin on August 13, 2011 at 9:36am
It depends. I've only run it a handful of times and it's got weird flow to it. I put in a 40w bulb and it overheated, so it definitely just takes a 30w. Would love to see yours someday Kyle.
Comment by VintageK on August 13, 2011 at 9:34am
I will try to get some up! Many of my lamps are up at my parent's place which is about 3 hours away, but I will!  The lava seems to be flowing nicely in that photo. Is it not usually like that?
Comment by Erin on August 13, 2011 at 9:17am
This one definitely has weird flow issues. I like it though. Would love to see a pic of yours Kyle.
Comment by VintageK on August 13, 2011 at 9:02am
SUCH a great score!  I have a similar one, tho mine must be a year or so after yours. Mine also has the two-part base, small amount of lava (orange lava in acid yellow liquid.)  My base is more polished than yours tho, so I would say mine falls right between yours and the regular gold based century.  I also have a 1972 model century with the regular base but still the more serpentine lava, orange in a lighter yellow liquid tho there is the regular amount of lava in that one. The oddity is that when cool, the orange lava is quite pale, but once heated turns bright orange.
Comment by Jonas Clark-Elliott on May 8, 2011 at 2:53pm

Can you post photos and info on the 2nd? What's the matter with it, and is it, too, a 104?


Put a standard 40w in this. Same bulb you'd put in any other Century. 60s squiggle Aristocrats, squiggle Decorator Aristocrats and the very early gold Aristocrats are the only 52oz. lamps that don't take a 40w appliance bulb, they take a 30w R20 reflector bulb. And I suggest - just once, for the fun of it - running it for about a half a day and marveling at the fact that it didn't overheat after eight or nine hours. This thing SHOULD have almost Mathmos-like flow, what's usually called "serpentine" flow - long twisty snakes and really neat shapes, far more mesmerizing than any new lamp.


I highly recommend putting this in its own spot, away from sunlight, drafts or heat registers, and running it as a focus lamp. Watch it to relax before bed. Put it on a side table when guests come over. This lamp should display the kind of action that made Lava Lite famous, and it's an (I think gorgeous) rare color, a lamp many of us would love to find - I know I would! I have one of these copper two-part bases, but mine was found without a globe.

Comment by matt01165 on May 8, 2011 at 9:35am
Comment by Erin on May 8, 2011 at 8:38am

Jonas, again, thank you for all the information about this lamp. Where would we be without your knowledge? The inner part of the base is cylindrical. I'll get more pics up of this lamp soon. I am so delighted to have it and even more excited now that it's cleared up. I do have one question though. This lamp came with a 50W flood in it, which I promptly took out. I put a 30W in. The lava does its initial spike (but doesn't reach the top since there's not enough lava!), but then it liquefies, but never really rises. If it does anything at all, it just sends up a lava "thumb" and never does much else. Thoughts? 


And this is a third lamp. This is not the one that I had inquired about a month or so ago. That one is still sitting in the basement, all goofed up. 

Comment by Jonas Clark-Elliott on May 8, 2011 at 4:58am

Excuse me - I didn't see it was yours, Erin! I assumed this was a third that had turned up!


Looks great. Gonna use this photo as my representative glamour shot of this model/color.

Comment by Jonas Clark-Elliott on May 8, 2011 at 4:56am

1966-67. Just barely after first-year and, yes, the bases are a soft satin copper - satin, but not brushed like the brass on later lamps. Early models had a smaller amount of lava, and the two-part base is normal in these. Oh yeah, and... the 104 is hyper-rare, only three known to exist!! Technically the liquid is called "blue-green" in catalogs. Now, 1965 (first year) models are so far unknown - they have a softly polished copper base, and photos in catalogs show caps varying with highly-polished or satin copper or polished black finishes (the caps are all black plastic underneath). The base has no seam at the pinch, and there is a rotary switch on the side. Last, 1965 models have wax that's actually a thick oil, it won't solidify when cold and it's easily shaken and clouded. 60s models have another peculiarity - they can run for a few days at a time without overheating. They were intended to do this. I don't necessarily recommend this be done today, but it can be done. When the lamp finally overheats, it only needs a few hours' rest and you turn it back on.


Is the inner part of your base conical, or cylindrical? Also, is there a date sticker? Tilt the bottle and look up inside the cap in the air space.

Comment by Erin on May 7, 2011 at 7:35am
The flow is pretty wonky in this lamp. When were lava lamps available commercially? I'm just happy this one is clearing up! :D Thanks for the compliment Jim!

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