The lava lamp turns 50 this year! The product's inventor, Edward Craven Walker, was inspired by a Christmas ornament containing oil and water. This month in 1963, he launched his company, now called Mathmos, named after the lava lake in Barbarella. Check out an early prototype below.
From BBC News:
In the mid 1960s, they made their first TV appearance on the set of Doctor Who. Another sci-fi series, The Prisoner, followed and in 1980 Hollywood called – the Craven Walkers were asked to deliver bespoke models to the set of Superman III.
"When did we realise things were going really well? The day a store in Birkenhead phoned to say that Ringo Starr had just been in and bought a lava lamp," said (Craven Walker's widow Christine) Baehr.
"Suddenly we thought, 'Wow, we have hit it.'"