Our Story

Original Lava lamp

Mathmos is a British heritage brand founded in 1963 by the inventor of the lava lamp Edward Craven Walker. Mathmos lava lamps have been hand made in Britain ever since.  
 
Mathmos lava lamps are a twentieth century design classic, they are also the best quality lava lamps available worldwide. Mathmos also designs, manufactures and markets a range of other award winning ambient lights. 
 
The Mathmos story begins with the invention of the astro lava lamp by our founder Edward Craven Walker. Mr. Craven Walker was a great British inventor, entrepreneur and eccentric. Apart from inventing the lava lamp he also made underwater naturist films, flew helicopters, drove a fire engine, was a World War Two pilot, a talented accountant, entertained the cast of the 60s musical Hair and owned a naturist camp in Dorset.
 
Mr. Craven Walker originally developed the lava lamp from a design for an egg timer he saw in a Dorset pub. Taking years to develop the formula original models were made with orange squash bottles and the first lava lamp came to market in 1963.
 
The “Astro” and “Astro Baby” were the first two lava lamps launched in 1963 and 1964 respectively. They were an instant hit and became one of the defining products of the swinging ‘60s appearing in cult TV series ''The Prisoner" and "Dr.Who".  Edward and his wife Christine Craven Walker ran the business very successfully through the 1960s and ‘70s. Rights to several countries including the US were sold in the 1960s for the duration of the patents, these expired with the patents in the 1980s.
 
Edward and his wife Christine Craven Walker wanting to retire teamed up with young entrepreneurs Cressida Granger and David Mulley in 1989. Over a period of years Granger and Mulley bought the business from the Craven-Walkers and successfully launched the lava lamp to a new generation. Part of the relaunch included changing the company name from Crestworth to Mathmos in 1992. The word Mathmos is taken from the cult 1960s film Barbarella. Millions of lava lamps were manufactured in Dorset in the 1990s and sold throughout the world gaining a host of business and marketing awards including two Queens Awards for Export.
 
In recent years Mathmos under Cressida Granger’s ownership has designed and manufactured a wide range of new ambient lights. Developing new lighting technologies and coming up with new award winning designs. Mathmos has worked with established designers such as El Ultimo Grito and Ross Lovegrove and up and coming ones as well as developing their own in house designs. We have also innovated in our classic lava lamp range launching the patent pending Smart Astro chip controlled colour changing lava lamp.
 
Still based in Poole, Dorset, we are really proud of our long British manufacturing history and our heritage of invention. Please contact us for further information at press@mathmos.com
 


mathmos modern lights