Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Lava Lite called me today!!! They plan on bringing back production to the USA :D

Caught me totally off guard but I spoke to a very nice guy, Asher.  He was calling in response to one my e-mails I had sent them a few moths ago about how much I dislike their current product line.  We spoke for about 20 minutes before he had to go.  I thoroughly voiced my opinions on why I haven't bought a lava product since 2005.  First thing I said was, you guys sold so many lamps in the 90s for a reason.  He agreed and said they have plans to re-launch the Midnight, Silver Streak, Elek-trick, and Safari Series in 2013.  He said he has been trying very hard to get production back to the USA since last year.  He said things are looking good and hopefully they will begin production here in the first half of 2013.

I told him that myself and MANY OTHERS would gladly pay the $50 price for a premium product again. I also mentioned that they need to bring back more color combinations and give their customers more choices.  He said he they are working on that again.  They have plans to bring back MOST of the 90s product line  I told him that its a shame I can't go into a store and buy a lava lamp that flows properly.  He said the current (2012) China lamps can ALMOST match the USA ones.  I said by no means will I ever buy one of those again and I buy from eBay.  He begged me not to buy from eBay, and I said then you know what you guys need to do.

Finally, he asked me to send him pictures of what I'd like to see.  I sent him pictures of all the 90s boxes I have (Midnight, Elek-trik, Lava Classics, Silver Streak, Midnight Centurues)  

He offered to make me a 90s Enchantress with yellow liquid and red lava to prove they can still replicate the 90s formula.  I said sure, but we'll see.  

He also said that he was fired back in 2002 when production began overseas and was just recently hired back.  Said he worked in the Chicago factory in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  

I'm taking all of this with a huge grain of salt but it means progress.  Perhaps all of us unhappy lava collectors finally got through to them throughout the years.  I sure hope so.  I'll update this thread if I hear back from him.

PLEASE EVERYONE - E-MAIL THEM AND SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!!!  Perhaps next year we'll have a quality product again.  

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This is where you and I differ.  I completely care where they are made.  Maybe its being a lifelong Chicagoan and knowing that this was a US made, Chicago made funky, cool product made in my own backyard - to me that's awesome!  That makes me willing to pay a premium just to support a great local business. 

Erin said:

Here's the thread I think you're talking about: http://oozinggoo.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?b-gb/m-1195315797/

It's from 2007. 


The formula is the #1 thing that needs to be fixed. I don't care where they make them (great, if it's in the US), or what the new ideas are (bases, colors), but if the formula is crap, then I won't touch a new Lava Lite, ever.

I would PREFER they make them here, sure. I'd pay MORE for them to make them here, but I would still buy them if they were made in China. Most of the stuff I buy isn't made in America. I wish that wasn't the case, and though my preference is for jobs and products to be HERE, it's not reality for most items. My #1 priority is quality, not country of origin. If they are made in Chicago and they're still crap, I'm not buying one. 

Jim said:

This is where you and I differ.  I completely care where they are made.  Maybe its being a lifelong Chicagoan and knowing that this was a US made, Chicago made funky, cool product made in my own backyard - to me that's awesome!  That makes me willing to pay a premium just to support a great local business. 

Erin said:

Here's the thread I think you're talking about: http://oozinggoo.com/cgi-bin/forum/Blah.pl?b-gb/m-1195315797/

It's from 2007. 


The formula is the #1 thing that needs to be fixed. I don't care where they make them (great, if it's in the US), or what the new ideas are (bases, colors), but if the formula is crap, then I won't touch a new Lava Lite, ever.

Mathmos isn't made in the US and they ooze quality.

This is where Lava Lite needs to compete.

Quality with a preference to the American Icon and made in USA. 

What I have gathered from reading nearly all of the OG discussions is that the formula was changed to satisfy legal RECOMMENDATIONS, not to comply with any specific law.  But that still doesn't address why early China production was equivalent in quality to USA production.  Quality has certainly degraded over the past 10 years, but I think the low point is behind us.  And yes, we've been told over the past year and a half that production quality would be improved, with control checks in the China production facilities.  We all hoped (with the exception of confirmed Lava Lamp haters) that problems would be solved.  That didn't come to pass as we had hoped, but that doesn't mean that LL isn't trying.  We don't see what goes on behind closed doors.  Moving production back to Chicago is evidence that they are serious about quality so we wait hopefully.  Once again though the proof is in the pudding.

Charles said:

I did a search today to find that original Haggerty interview and it didn't come up. I remember the dates on it were either 2004 or 2003. The thing that stuck out for me was the statement that they HAD to change the formula by law.

Something else I would not expect is more Grandes - aren't they supposed to be banned from making those 100 watt lightbulbs this year?

I agree with you Erin - I would love for Lava Lite lamps to be made in the USA and yes I would pay more for it. I know where its coming (i feel that knowing the sourse of the things your buying is very important) from and its supporting this messed up economic times both for the USA and UK.

However if the formula isn't fixed then forget it there is just no point where its made. I am not a die hard Mathmos or LL fan. If either of them messed up there formula completely and failed to get it right then I just wouldn't buy from them - no matter where they were made.

I think that part of the issue with the china formula vs the previous one and early China was as i believe LL was getting screwed over by the factory and / or the boss messing them around by changing the formula to save costs. - I think that they may have tried to do something about it but couldn't. Realising this Dale decided enough was enough and the ONLY way to sort things out was to bring it back to there HQ. They could have a handle on there formula - what's going on exactly, who knows it, the process and even the quality of each lamp (if desired to know by the CEO).

Think about this - look at Mathmos they have there LED's and some lamp components made in China (probably out soursed to a company contracted by Mathmos). This is ok as its relatively simple and cheap to make there LED lights and components, the company probably does this for other brands so no problem. They have probably thought about making there lamps out there but have decided against it as being hear and with there HQ they can keep there secret formula safe, there manufacture and filling process monitored etc. - This means that the quality is consistaint (i know that there have been issues) and control is maintained.

This is what LL are doing now as they know this is not only the best option but the only option if they want to make quality items.

this really sounds great! LL has made some fantastic lamps back in the days, if they come back as strong as that we finally have some competition and not just mathmos...And maybe I will start buying new lamps again as current mathmos formula doesnt satisfy me at all...some competition is the best that can happen to us collectors! I hope LL makes a great comeback and that people apreciate it and buy high quality lamps! I would buy one even though I once said : No LL will enter my house!

2013 is quickly approaching, so let's hope this pans out.  i would love to see the return of the aristocrat with a mid 90's formula.  the new neons are a start, but it still isn't a 90's lamp made in the USA.

Things are still improving. Last time I checked with Dale (which wasn't too long ago) he is still optimistic about meeting the 2013 deadline.

thanks for the update, autumn.

I just got a clear/red cheetah at spencers and I'm very pleased. Color is much better than the clearview clear/red, and flow doesn't seem to be the one china blob!

Anyone know if things are still on track for 2013 or are we looking at 2014?

NOVEMBER 2013 is creeping up on us all, so this appears to be the latest in over ten years of broken promises.

Sure, the names of the spokespeople have changed (and I guess a few company names), but with the same result. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Kinda funny.. I was having a discussion with my unofficial foster son (long story, but a good kid) last night and he was calling me a "hoarder"  because of all the globes and lamp parts I have. Most of my collection (still under 100) is tucked away, and I just swap out globes from time to time in my official High End Audio Man Cave.

I told him I am a COLLECTOR, not a hoarder because a hoarder would still be snatching up lamps. I did some calculating and it looks like a full YEAR has passed since I bought any lava lite product, save a dozen 100 watt Grande bulbs (three were broken on arrival, btw) ...and I don't see that pattern changing anytime soon.

Also, whatever happened with that semi-official announcement that Mathmos would be selling their lamps to the USA? That talk started probably 18 months ago ( or maybe longer), and still nothing. I wonder if some lawyers kiboshed it.

Dejected, rejected, disgusted,

Chuck

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