Lava Lamps Essay

927 words - 4 pages

A lava lamp is a decorative novelty item that contains blobs of coloured wax inside a glass vessel filled with clear liquid; the wax rises and falls as its density changes due to heating from an incandescent light bulb underneath the vessel. The appearance of the wax is suggestive of pāhoehoe lava, hence the name. The lamps are available in a variety of styles and colours of wax and liquid.

A classic lamp contains a standard incandescent bulb or halogen lamp which heats a tall (often tapered) glass bottle containing water and a transparent, translucent or opaque mix of mineral oil, paraffin wax and carbon tetrachloride.[1] The water and/or mineral oil can be coloured with dyes. The ...view middle of the document...

Wertheimer and his business partner William M. Rubinstein bought the U.S. rights to manufacture and sell it as the Lava Lite via Lava Corporation or Lava Manufacturing Corporation. Wertheimer sold his shares to Hy Spector who took the product into production, manufacturing and marketing the Lava Lite in his Chicago factory at 1650 W. Irving Park Rd in the mid-1960s. Rubinstein stayed on as a vice president. The lamps were a success throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Lava Corporation's name changed to Lava-Simplex-Scribe International in the early 1970s, and made instant-loading camera-film cartridges, as well as postage-stamp vending machines. In the late seventies Spector sold Lava Simplex International to Michael Eddie and Lawrence Haggerty of Haggerty Enterprises. Haggerty Enterprises continues to sell the Lava Lamp in the US. "Lava lamp" has been used as a generic term but Lavaworld has claimed violation of trademarks.[5] In the 1990s, Craven-Walker, who had retained the rights for the rest of the world, took on a business partner called Cressida Granger. They changed the company name to Mathmos in 1992. Mathmos continues to make Lava Lamps and related products. Mathmos lava lamps are still made in the original factory in Poole, Dorset, UK.

In 2004, Phillip Quinn, a 24-year-old of Kent, Washington, was killed during an attempt to heat up a lava lamp on his kitchen stove while closely observing it from only a few feet away. The heat from the stove built up pressure in the lamp until it exploded, spraying shards of glass with enough force to pierce his chest, with one shard piercing his heart and causing fatal injuries.[6] The...

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