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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 in continuous British production for over 55 years. Recognised as twentieth-century design classics, Mathmos make the best quality lava lamps available. 
The Mathmos story begins with the invention of the Astro lava lamp by our founder Edward Craven Walker. Craven Walker was a great British inventor, entrepreneur and eccentric. Aside from inventing the lava lamp and various other patented inventions he also made underwater naturist films, owned helicopters and fire engines, was a World War Two pilot, entertained the cast of the 60s musical Hair and owned a naturist camp in Dorset.
In the early 1960s, Craven Walker led a team to develop the lava lamp from an invention for an egg timer he saw in a Dorset pub patented by one Donald Dunnet in 1950. Taking years to develop the formulation and design a number of patents were registered in the UK and abroad by the company building on Dunnets invention. The Astro came to market in 1963 and was an instant hit becoming one of the defining products of the swinging ‘60s appearing in cult TV series ''The Prisoner" and "Dr Who".  Craven Walker and his wife Christine ran the business very successfully throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. See here for Christine's blog on The Early Days of the Astro Lava Lamp.
The Craven Walkers wanting to retire teamed up with young entrepreneurs Cressida Granger and David Mulley in 1989 who 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 have been manufactured in Dorset and sold throughout the world gaining a host of business and marketing awards including two Queens Awards for Export.
We are still based in Poole, Dorset where our lamps have been in continuous production since their invention in 1963. We are proud of our long British manufacturing history, our high quality and our heritage of invention. See our Timeline here.