Mathmos Timeline - 1963 to date

 
Mathmos lava lamps - History
 

Introduction

Edward Craven Walker spots a British invention for an egg timer. He spends years developing this concept leading to the invention of the world’s first lava lamp.

1963

With offices in London and a workshop on a boating yard in Poole, Edward and his wife Christine launch the ‘Astro’ lava lamp to the UK market. They travel the country selling from the back of an ex-postal van, also known as ‘Smokey’.

1964

The Astro is taken on by Selfridges and Habitat and is then followed by the Astro Mini (Astro Baby).

"If you buy my lamp, you won't need drugs... I think it will always be popular. It's like the cycle of life. It grows, breaks up, falls down and then starts all over again".  Edward Craven-Walker

1965 - 7

Lava lamps make their screen debut, appearing in two episodes of Doctor Who and The Prisoner, (a cult BBC spy fiction series).

1968

Lava lamps appear on stage with Linda and Paul McCartney’s band, Wings. Linda McCartney loved lava lamps and often likened them to "A pet goldfish that never dies". Sir Paul McCartney is often seen with lava lamps on stage in memory of Linda.

1969

During the height of Beatlemania, Ringo Starr buys an Astro from a store in Birkenhead near Liverpool.

1970

The Princess lava lamp is launched: a large floor standing lamp with a wooden tripod base.

1971

David Bowie is photographed with an Astro Mini lava lamp in his recording studio.

1970's

Mathmos lava lamps appear in Are You Being Served, The Sweeney, Carry on Laughing, and The Good Life.

1980

A bespoke lava lamp is designed for the hotel suite scene in Superman II.

Late 1980's

Throughout the 80's lava lamps are falling out of fashion until the Craven-Walkers teamed up with young entrepreneurs, Cressida Granger and David Mulley.

Cressida had realised their potential after selling them on her vintage stall in Camden Market where Marc Almond was a regular buyer.

1990's

The range was restyled and presented to a new generation with the original company name Crestworth being replaced by Mathmos (referring to the bubbling force in the cult1960s sci-fi film, Barbarella). This led to a second era of extreme popularity, with millions being sold worldwide.

Early 1990's

Mathmos open their Drury Lane shop and offices visitors include Sir Paul Smith, and Yasmin and Simon le Bon.

Giant Mathmos Lava lamps appear on the set of Channel 4’s The Word. Lava lamps are also shown on Chris Evans’ TFI Friday and The Big Breakfast.

The Lunar is launched. This floor-standing model appears in Absolutely Fabulous and The Graham Norton Show.

Late 1990's

Mathmos is included in the Fast Track 100 list as the UK’s third fastest growing manufacturer and wins two Queens Awards for Export.

Mathmos’ in-house graphic design team win Best Commercial Website at the Yell awards and Best Multi-Media prize at the Design Week awards.

Mathmos move into their Old Street Headquarters.

2000

Mathmos set up the Mathmos London Design Studio and begin to design and manufacture a range of award-winning LED products which compliment the lava lamp range.

Fluidium is launched: a new lava lamp designed by Ross Lovegrove. The Design Council describe the Astro lava lamp as a “Design classic’.

Edward Craven-Walker sadly dies having remained a consultant on mix and formulation at Mathmos up until his death.

2001 - 6

Industrial Facility design the interior of the Mathmos’ Old Street showroom. Mathmos then open a boutique store in Covent Garden designed by Carl Turner Architects.

Two icons of the swinging sixties, the Mathmos Lava Lamp and The Beatles join forces to create a limited edition in celebration of the release of The Beatles' Love album.

Mathmos Lava lamps feature in the video for the Stereophonics hit Handbags and Gladrags.

2008 - 10

Mathmos Astro is included in Harrods’ Design Icons exhibition, which then travels onward to the Design Museum.

Mathmos introduce Fireflow: a candle powered mini lava lamp shaped as a rocket and powered by a single tea-light.

Mathmos introduce both the giant Monster lava lamp and the Smart Astro. Mathmos has a patent pending on this new way of operating a lava lamp that allows for colour changing, touch control and heat regulation.

2013

Mathmos celebrate their 50th Birthday and fifty years of the original lava lamp. To this day the wax formula remains a strict trade secret.

Mathmos launch a limited edition 50th Birthday gold Astro lava lamp signed by Christine Craven Walker, wife and business partner of the inventor, alongside a new Heritage collection which is inspired by 1960’s colours and finishes.

Mathmos also installs the largest lava lamp in the world in London's Festival Hall in the South Bank Center together with a display marking their 50th anniversary.

2016

Mathmos launch Neo a new generation lava lamp designed by Jonathan Coles Design. Suitable for all ages Neo becomes an instant best seller appealing to a wide range of people with its retro yet contemporary styling and its safety and quality features.

Astro Metallics range is launched. An all metallised version of the 1963 classic astro lava lamp design.

Mathmos lava lamps return to Selfridges, our first major stockist in the 1960s as a giant lava lamp is installed as part of the Anya Hindmarch display in the new David Chipperfield accessories hall. 

The Discovery Channel make a film of Mathmos lava lamp production for the "How Does it Work" series.

2017

Mathmos launch Neo Wall the only wall mounted lava lamp.

Mathmos launch their first limited edition collaboration with the fashion brand Pretty Green during London Design Week in the Carnaby Street windows of Pretty Green's store.

2018

The centenary of the Birth of Edward Craven Walker (ECW) the founder of Mathmos and inventor of lava lamps. Mathmos celebrate by giving away 100 lava lamps (#ECW100).

Mathmos lava lamps continue to appear in film, recent appearances include: Made in Chelsea, Big Brother, Jamies Food Revolution, Top Gear, The Gadget Show etc. To this day, global sales of Mathmos lava lamps have exceeded four million.


Press Enquiries:

Please contact pr@mathmos.com or 01202 620114 for all press enquiries.

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