Edward Craven Walker, a Royal Air Force pilot in World War II turned nudist filmmaker, came up with the idea for his iconic Lava Lamp while "drunkenly transfixed by a strange gadget at a pub."
On a presumably rainy day in the mid-1950s, Craven Walker paid a visit to Queen’s Head, a small pub southwest of London. When he sat at the bar to order his first pint of Guinness, he noticed something strange perched beside liquor bottles on a shelf.
A glass cocktail shaker full of water and oil blobs sat on a hot plate; upon being heated, the oil would rise to the top of the shaker. When Craven Walker inquired what this strange device was, the barkeep told him it was an egg timer: in just the amount of time it took the oil to rise, an egg could be fully cooked. Years earlier, a regular at the pub, Alfred Dunnett, had built the contraption, Craven Walker was told -- but it was only a one-off, and Dunnett had since passed away.
Determined to pursue the idea further, Craven Walker contacted Dunnett’s widow and purchased the man’s patent for a sum of less than £20 (about $30 USD). For the next decade, between his nudist philandering and cinematic pursuits, Craven Walker set out to craft this rudimentary egg timer into an interior decoration.
Pricenomics has the full story, with lots of cool photos: The Lava Lamp Just Won't Quit
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]