Englishman Edward Craven Walker invented the original and best-known lava lamp in the 1960s, calling it the 'Astrolight' or 'Astro Lamp'. He presented it at a Hamburg trade show in 1965, where entrepreneur Adolph Wertheimer noticed it.
In the 1960s, the lava lamp became an icon, and the constantly changing, bright colours have been compared to the psychedelic hallucinations of certain popular drugs.
Lava lamps have made an appearance on the Discovery Channel hit show, 'Myth Busters', where the myth was that a man was killed when his lava lamp violently exploded, causing a shard of glass to impale his heart. The myth was disproved on the show.
Lava lamps are used for decoration rather than illumination. Lava Lamps are available in different styles and colurs of wax and liquid.
Edward Craven Walker passed away on 15 August 2000, after battling bouts of cancer. He was 82 years old.