Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

I've been contacted by someone who found what they believed was a pre-Lava Wave device, possibly a product made by the patent owners. Having seen the patent and the photos, I think they're correct: this may be one of the, if not THE, earliest produced Wave displays!

The patent is no. 3,613,264, filed Oct. 63, 1969 and granted Oct. 19, 1971, to Mssrs. Joseph A. Vitka and James D. Murphy, assignors to Motionetics, Inc. of Endicott, NY. The patent details the Wave cell with which we're familiar, and places it in a long rectangular base. The motion is created in a different way that we're used to: there's the usual offset pivot, but a motor drives a rotaing wedge, and the alternating high and low of its edge raises and lowers the vessel. I suspect this was a friction-heavy arrangement that put a lot of wear on the motor, hence the produced version using the revolving eccentric cam we're used to seeing. The patent also includes the bubble trap in one end cap, and says that this is some sort of safe-expansion device for changes in pressure.

The actual unit seems to have been produced by Motionetics, it carries that label. The base is a rectangular routed piece of wood, open straight through top-to-bottom, with a chunk removed where the motor mounts with a bent segment of steel plate. There is also a metal crossbar which acts as the pivot, and the vessel has a rider to rest on this, which is glued to the bottom surface. The Wave vessel's caps are larger and more square than later versions, and the wave liquid is nearly clear, probably from age and/or sun exposure. One cap has a notch which fits around the fill plug. The 8-RPM motor is dated 1969 and the label says, "Patent Pending," so I suspect this was manufactured before 1971. Who knows how long these were produced, or how and when Lava ended up taking over.

Some photos would probably help. Here is the complete "The Wave" by Motionetics, Inc.

Base from the top. This side has a U-shaped cross-section, since the ends of the Wave vessel dip below its upper edge. The pivot rod has plastic washers at either end to keep the vessel centered so it doesn't rub the wood sides and derail itself.

Base from the bottom. Quite the complex piece of woodwork, but with a really simple exterior.

Here's a close-up of the cover on the back of the motor.

And a shot of the plastic pivot rider.

This is the fill plug, with the cap notched to fit around it, presumably to hide it from view when seen from the front, very clever.

Aaand, last but not least, that wonderful vintage label! Dare you to find another of these.

In my opinion, this device is one of the coolest recent finds; an item so rare, no one even knew they existed!

The owner found this at an estate sale. They're interested in selling it, but I don't believe they're thinking "gold mine"; they're interested in seeing it go to someone who understands what it is and who values it as a rare historical beginning to a much-loved Lava Brand product. They'll be creating an account very soon and adding their comments here.

I hope you enjoy the eye candy as much as I did. If I could pay a good price, I'd love to own this thing, but I think there are several people here on OG who probably deserve it more and can give it the place of honor it deserves.

~ Jonas

Views: 3653

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hughes, right now TRC doesn't have a price. Best thing to do would be a PM - or you can email me an offer and I'll ask them. I'm sure they'd be willing to at least hear offers!

Here's the video. The extra air in the vessel necessitates the pivot block being placed next to, rather than onto, its bar. If I owned this, even if I could refill it, I'm not sure if I would want to.

http://youtu.be/vHczcI53glg

Looks like we are going to put this on eBay soon. Before I do I wanted everyone here to have the chance to see the pictures of what appears to be a surface crack or seam along one edge that doesn't leak so you'll have a last chance to offer before it goes on.

I would love to make you an offer TRC, but I do sense you can do way better on eBay than what I could offer.  Its so hard to peg a value on something like this as not many of us have ever seen one.  Its truly a fantastic find you have there and I do pray it winds up in a home where it will be appreciated for what its worth. 

It would be great if Mr. Hughes created a wave machine timeline as the vessel on this wave looks identical to the vessel on my vintage wave.  It would be neat to see the progression of the wave. 

I think, also, that many collectors would love a limited edition special Wave like this once Mr. Hughes gets his biz really going!

I'm working at it.  I actually had the idea for high end wood bases a few years ago.  I'm still in development for my vessel and funding has put a damper on my prototyping.  That's why I am selling the WaveChains to supplement the income I put into my work.  The are on Ebay now and will be in my store soon.

The timeline idea is pretty cool.  I am friendly with Anthony from the Hippielight site and he has a very nice layout for Lava lamps.  Maybe I could get some advice from him.  I hate to toot my own horn, but I know pretty much everything there is to know about the Waves at this point other than the pre-70's history like this.

Ooo.  K

Be careful.  If you use anything of his, make sure you get his permission in writing.  He has been known to come unglued in regard to his precious images.  Just sayin...

HughesWaveMachines said:

I am friendly with Anthony from the Hippielight site and he has a very nice layout for Lava lamps.  Maybe I could get some advice from him. 

Technically, Anthony "came unglued" because Lava stole his hand-crafted content to make their own history page, and when asked about it, told him he could either shut up or get sued. They actually made the claim that they own copyrights on the lamp shapes which extend to any photographs taken of Lava Lites.

I would agree.  Anthony got his images from collectors and their permission to use the images.  Lava lite copied Anthony's work wholesale without any notification, much less asking for permission.  That being said, Anthony may not have any desire to help add content to OozingGoo.

Jonas Clark-Elliott said:

Technically, Anthony "came unglued" because Lava stole his hand-crafted content to make their own history page, and when asked about it, told him he could either shut up or get sued. They actually made the claim that they own copyrights on the lamp shapes which extend to any photographs taken of Lava Lites.

TRC, I added your video to my YouTube channel and linked to the auction. I have a good size database of people, so maybe it will get some traffic to your auction..

Reply to Discussion

RSS

About

Mark Goo created this Ning Network.

Support Oozing Goo

By using the eBay button above, you support OG if you purchase anything. Thanks for thinking of us. Mark Goo

© 2021   Created by Mark Goo.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service