Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Several years ago I purchased a vintage 60s Century lamp.  The cap broke in shipping and the fluid all leaked out. The wax was still there, but there was no other fluid in the globe.  I found a recipe online for making replacement liquid using water and baking salts.  Well, the baking salt recipe didn't work.  I am fairly certain the globe is beyond salvaging, but that isn't my problem.

I have tried using several different globes on this Century base but none of them work properly.  I first tried the Century base and a standard appliance bulb.  The wax got warm quickly enough and began to flow, but never really got flowing properly.  I tried using a bulb that had a long next and put the bulb in contact with the base of the globe.  The lava flowed a bit better, but still never got moving properly.  Finally I tried a new normal appliance bulb.  Still no good flow.

Did the Century bases work better with a different bulb?  Are they known to to run cooler than Aristocrat bases?  

Thanks for any advice.

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What wattage bulb are you using?

Sorry- all bulbs have been 40 watt.  I should have included that in the original post.

My two Aristocrats work beautifully.

40w is correct for a Century base.  Are the globes you using fit well into the base?  It sounds like you might be mismatching pieces which may not be retaining enough heat into the globe.  I certainly wouldn't use a bulb that physically touches the bottom of the globe.

Some photos might help.

You are probably missing the heat ring.  The older ones had a removable ring that went in before the bulb and basically hugged the bulb so that the heat went upwards and didn't get lost in the base.

Jeff wins the prize!  My beat up old Century is indeed missing the heat ring.  Is this something that I can fabricate or purchase new?

I would try this bulb 1st...it might work well enough.  If not, add some foil around it. This is the bulb we used to get the new heritage ones going...those don' t have a heat ring. 


How old?  My original Century from 1975 never had a heat ring and I've had it since it was new and it pretty much has always flowed okay.

By the way, could someone post a photo of a heat ring or provide a link to such a photo?  I don't think I've ever seen one.

Jeff said:

You are probably missing the heat ring.  The older ones had a removable ring that went in before the bulb and basically hugged the bulb so that the heat went upwards and didn't get lost in the base.

Interesting the '75 didn't have it.  Mine was from '89 and still had it.  Maybe they only used them in the 80s and 90s?

I've no clue.  Maybe some had a base design that worked better than others and didn't need the ring?

This is what the inside of my 75 Century base looks like.

Century 1975 base labels, model 102

The long necked bulb I tried was like the one in that Home Depot link.  No luck with flow.

Looking at this page (http://oozinggoo.ning.com/page/century ), I believe my lamp is actually from the early 70s (faded gold finish, plastic feet on the base).  Here is what the inside and outside of my Century base look like:



It certainly looks like there COULD be a heat shield in the bottom of the top cup, there even seems to be a corrosion ring around the inner circumference.  The plastic base is cracked an the inside is rusty.  It is obvious that this lamp has had a hard 40 years so it is very possible the ring was there originally and has gone missing.

Just for kicks, here are some glamour shots of my two Aristocrats:

This one works beautifully:


This guy has to be run with a dimmer so he takes a while to wake up:


Any info on where I could find a heat ring for my Century and a new globe would be greatly appreciated.

Hmmm.  Looks like my photobucket links aren't working.  If you click on them the picture will pop up.  :(

I found some poached egg cups, stailess steel. Cut the bottoms out and fitted it, need to remove a little around the edges but they work fine.

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