I have a white squiggle Aristocrat, which was purchased on Christmas day 1966 according to a note scribbled on its instruction booklet. This is the sort that can run for days on end. The liquid inside was cloudy, so I tried to filter it; this was a bad move. The filter absorbed liquid, leaving the lamp down about 4", AND didn't really filter it.
I've heard of people here refilling with water, salt and dish soap, and the results, such as two different Imperials I've seen, look incredible. The snaky serpentine flow is preserved beautifully. I have a feeling the Imperial may have used a slightly different lava formula to aid it in starting, but I could be wrong; I know it isn't the think oil lava used by Crestworth in their Princess and other giant models; Imperials have wax, and my Aristocrat seems to have similar wax, having a sort of petroleum smell. Also like the Imperial, there is visibly less wax than one used to later-made lamps would expect: a modern 52oz. has over 1 1/2" of lava in it, whereas this Aristocrat has barely 1".
Can anyone here who has done this successfully, maybe even on a 52oz., walk me through this process? I'm assuming distilled water is involved, but I don't really know what sort of salt and/or what brand of soap to use, in what amounts, and how to do the fill and testing/mixing without stirring the lava up into a cloudy mess. I'd love to see my lamp get flowin' again, it was beautiful when I got it.
If you look closely in my photos of my Lava Pyramid, this sad-looking, cloudy globe can be seen at bottom center on a Decorator base, with a Lava Lite hang tag hanging around the globe. If restored, this lamp bottle would go back onto its original Aristocrat base and be 'decorated' with an original box, the hang tag (though that's actually from the 70s, it fits nicely) and copies of the instruction booklet. I could almost use it as a centerpiece for a display - hopefully...