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
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
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