Lava Lamps: 50 Years Old and Still Hilariously Tacky

lava lamp

One year for Christmas, all I wanted was a lava lamp. My seven-year-old mind truly believed that a lava lamp on the dresser would give my room that extra cool factor that it needed to rocket me to the top of the second-grade social rankings. Though I did receive the lava lamp of my dreams (purple, with large glitter chunks), my dreams of elementary school social domination were never realized.

Still, I watched with avid interest as the lava lamp celebrated its fiftieth birthday recently.

Happy Birthday, Lava Lamp!

The lava lamp, like all the coolest things during my childhood, was invented by a British person. Also called the Astro Lamp, the lava lamp consists of blobs of colored wax suspended in a clear liquid. An incandescent bulb in the base of the lamp heats the wax, which causes it to rise and fall with the temperature changes.

Even though the lava lamp is not as popular today as it once was, they are still sold around the world. And they are still as groovy as ever, if you ask me.

The Takeaway

Clearly, the lava lamp is a hilariously tacky home décor item. Still, it is a hilariously tacky home décor item that has staying power. When you contemplate the success of your product or brand, you should strive to make it as successful as the lava lamp, if maybe a little less kitsch. Even if people are only consuming it ironically, ironic consumers are better than no consumers at all.

Do you have a lava lamp? Do you know where I can get a lava lamp? I broke mine in a move.

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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