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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I think it's ugly in the way that I love. I wonder why he's not a member...?

A local antiques dealer who just moved his shop into my suburb tells me he knows a guy in a suburb about ten miles away who specifically collects lava lamps. He's going to pass the guy my contact info. We got anyone in Burien, WA, that we know of? Nobody I know of who's that close to me. (Burien is south of Seattle, on the water).

Another never-before-seen rarity by Lava, though much newer (90s) is up right now. It's beautiful.

Jonas, please check your Inbox - I've sent you a few messages about being a Lava Library editor. :)

If the winner of that prototype *IS* a member here, he's silent and doesn't post, let's put it that way. 

Jonas Clark-Elliott said:

I think it's ugly in the way that I love. I wonder why he's not a member...?

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