Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Trust me: if you're nuts about lamps so rare, no model name is known, THIS IS YOUR THREAD!

Today's story: What do a trip to Lava World in 1998 and a weird-looking lamp have in common?

The time: summer, 1998. The place: Chicago, Illinois. The protagonist: Me.

I visited Lava World. I may have told about this before, but for those who haven't heard, this was what Lava World was like c. late-90s. Walking into the plain building's lobby, one saw a door on the left (offices), a staircase going straight ahead and up (offices) and, to the right of the stairs, a secretary's counter with a Magma Time clock on it. The secretary was answering phones non-stop. To the right was a sitting area, and a low shelf along the far right wall loaded with about 40 working Lava Lites, all new, with the newest colors down front. (I bought a red/blue!) Through double doors at the back, you could occasionally catch glimpses of a warehouse-like space, with forklifts carrying stacks of pallets full of Midnight bases.

They were VERY busy - so busy, in fact, that I had to make an appointment and return a few hours later - though that let me go on a lava hunt (hello, Coachlite!) When I returned, they pulled out all the old catalogs they had. They didn't have much; I was told that, whenever an exec retired, they'd take something with them. Among what they had, though, were three issues of the Lava Liter, which was an in-company newsletter begun in 1966 when 14 new models joined the one original Lava Lite. "We're sitting on top of the world!" touted the headline, beside which sat a cartoony man in an office chair atop a globe. The header even showed a b/w line drawing of a Century along with two more 52-oz lamps in oddball bases - prototypes, maybe? One had a base that had a rocket booster-like faceted design; the other was a wide bowl or tray speckled with maple leaves. Nifty stuff! They made photocopies for me, but they were very, very dark.

That leads to today: Thanks to Deb for the link. Has anybody seen this? Wondered if it's homemade? Either way, it's cool, no?


...well, wonder no more, and pull out your pocketbooks. The 52-oz pictured in the header of the Lava Liter, issue 1, 1966, which I've described as resembling a rocket booster? Never, EVER pictured in any known catalog? It certainly isn't in the 1965 leaflet, and it isn't among the 14 new models of 1966! Yeah? Yeah. You're lookin' at it. Ceramic. Yes, ceramic.

To whoever gets this, I bow to your awesomeness. And please ask the seller where/how they got it. You think the Executive is rare? This is as rare as a Menorah Prayer Lite or a Blues Magoos Psyche-De-Lite: "rare" doesn't begin to describe it!

Photo added by Erin:

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That is beyond awesome, Jonas.  Thanks for posting the bedtime story, now I'll dream about that lamp all night!   I'm afraid my pocketbook might not be large enough to go for it, but I hope a goo head gets it!    Reckon one of those retiring executives sort of snuck that one out of the building when he left?   If so, I can't say I blame him!   Great find on that link too, Deb! 

I was torn between posting or not... but as much as I really want the lamp (since I saw it so long ago in that catalog) I know that, even if I left it alone, people would bid it out of my price range. As much as I'd like to add something else rare to the collection, I can't afford top do so, what with so many deep pockets now.

Best solution: Post it here, get people interested, and help the seller make some money on it. Whoever gets it should put it in a place of honor. It is an unidentified model, from a nebulous neverwhen: after 1965, before 1966!

Wow, Jonas!  Makes me want to sell a few things to fund it, or at least try to fund it.   :>)

Thanks for sharing this.  NIce of you.

Thanks go to Deb for passing me the link!

I'm kinda torn about you posting about it, too. I mean, it could have slipped by most people's minds as some weird non-Lava Lite custom, but now, it'll go for more than any of us can afford. I already know the first bidder and the others that will join will place this lamp beyond many of our reaches. Saddest part is, those bidders aren't active members here, some not members at all. 

I *do* love the backstory on it - very cool! Thanks, as always, for sharing. I'll watch with both interest and sadness! 

I, too, was torn between posting it and not. In the end, I decided it would go high no matter what, so I might as well make it turn out well for the seller and let the buyers know what this really is.

Hopefully, one of us OGers will nab it. I doubt any non-members want it THAT bad, but I could be wrong.

I hear ya. I already have my predictions on who will get it. 

If you read, it is not homemade, it's a prototype. 

Critter said:

Homemade but kinda cool.

I am going to believe Jonas on this one since he has visited LL itself before the big change.  He is very knowledgeable on older lamps and rarities.

1998 was a good year for lava.  i was a junior in hs and had 3-4 lamps in my room.  thanks for the story, jonas.  you definitely have a TON of knowledge concerning lava lamps.  it is nice to have you here.

For the record...I was watching this lamp on eBay. I didn't recognize it but had a hunch it was special. I went to Jonas because I knew he would be able to ID it for me. I should have been honest and told him I wanted to keep it hush hush in hopes it would be overlooked as some strange off the wall lamp and be able to score it for low $$. (Does that make me bad?) But then I felt guilty and he was so excited to post the link and tell the back story on it.

For future reference...Mods here told me in the past it's an "unwritten law" that eBay links on active sales shouldn't be posted here to prevent bidding wars between OG members. Or in this case to benefit the seller.

I don't think you were bad to want the prototype overlooked if you wanted it, Deb.  Most everyone would feel the same if they found something they thought was special.  I also see why Jonas would want to tell that great story. It was kind of you to think about him. 

Thanks too, for mentioning that about active sales that are not BIN's----I hope it's alright to post BIN's like I did on the Purple glitter Wizard the other night! 

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