Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Hello all,

I am new to the site and I am glad I found it! I got this lamp years ago and I have fond memories of it. It got me through late night study seasons in college. It got tipped over when it was running and I thought it was ruined and turned it off and it has sat on my shelf ever since. I turned it on again after awhile and once it started I remembered why I had not turned it on for years it didn't work or look right. More years past and I saw it again and thought it should be in the living room. So I cleaned off the layers of dust and plugged it in forgetting about the previous tries. The wax was a pinkish color at first and didn't really stick together. It sat at the top of the lamp. So I did some research about having to get the wax to melt again and it would separate out of the liquid. I got out the pressure cooker and set it in and let it heat up. It seemed to help it a ton and I am happy it works sort of.

The first picture is what the wax looked like when I first turned it on. The second is what it looks like in between the column state. The last is a glorious picture of the column.

The wax now flows and the color is what i remembered it to be. The water is very clear and does not cloud after it starts. however, it cycles were it forms a column and all the wax goes to the top. It then breaks and the wax falls and it starts over. It is not the end of the world but it's not as I remembered it working.

Now here are my questions.

1. What model is it? Think I got it in the 90's. it uses a 40 watt bulb and the sticker on the inside of the base notes E-42050 but I don't know what that means.

2. I also notice that the water level is low. Can I add distilled water and does anyone think this will help with the column issue and work better?

3. Looking at the cap, I think it is a screw cap but I am not sure as I know it could also be a plug. Does anyone know for sure and how do I remove it?

I am thinking that the loss of water has shorthand the water column allowing the wax to stay hotter and this is causing the column behavior and to gather at the top. I also think the loss of liquid has changed the surface tension of the water as well.

Any suggestions on how to fix the column issue and what would happen if I added distilled water or if I need to add water along with anything else or, since it has not been run, it will take care of itself with use.

Thanks all!

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For some reason the other pics did not upload.... Odd.

Nice lamp!!  That's a 52oz Century.  I have one w/ blue liquid/white wax from the mid 90s.  The 1st 2 pics didn't upload...can you re-post them? 


If the top decorative cap does not lift off exposing what looks like a beer bottle cap underneath, then it is a screw off cap.  I wouldn't add anything to it though if its flowing.  It may make things worse.  Make sure to run it for a good 8-10 hrs at a time for a few days and see if the flow improves.  Mine acted the same after it sat idle for years but after cycling it a few times its now going great again.

I don't know why it didn't upload all three at once. This is the lamp before heating it up.Thanks.
Here is a pic of the lava all at the top but dripping down. How much would this be worth today? Just curious.

It looks great to me !! enjoy !

I wish I could get my aristocrat to flow like that, it looks great! That looks like a screw cap to me.

most of my older lamps (90's) alternate between columnar and "blob" flow.  i actually love the columnar flow, so it looks great to me.  as for it being low, many older lamps are like that.  personally, i would not add DI water.

Thanks every one. Would a lower wattage bulb make things better or put it on a dimmer? If I were to get a new globe, would any 52oz globe work?

if you want more spheres and less columns, you need a higher wattage bulb.  if you were to add a dimmer or lower wattage bulb to the globe, it may not flow at all.  it would likely just dome at the bottom.

Flows great! i wouldnt add any water just because "if it aint broke then dont fix it" also a higher wattage may end up cooking up the wax and ruining it if it overheats, i would run it for about 8 hours at a time, more than that and youre risking cutting the life of the lamp short by cooking the wax too much. The color is great.

How can one tell if the goose err wax is cooked? How will it look? Act?Thanks. So glad I posted as being the constant tinkerer, sometimes it hard to leave stuff like this alone. Ha ha. Thanks again.

Usually wax that gets cooked wont nessesarily look a specific way and i wouldnt say it happens after overheating once but most likely after several years of abuse. Usually cooked wax doesnt flow as good, sometimes it has almost like texture to it, it would look like it has flakes floating within the wax, i also beleive foamy or bubbly wax could be from extended overheating, but nobody knows for sure. I would keep the original 40w and if you want get a table dimmer to control the temperature to a certain extent.

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