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Mathmos at Southbank Centre Shop, Royal Festival Hall 11th-30th September

14 Sep 2013 to 22 Sep 2013
12pm-8pm Monday-Sunday
0844 875 0073
Free Event
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Mathmos unveil the biggest lava lamp in the world. They will also be showing 1960s vintage photography a company timeline celebrating 50 years of Mathmos lava lamps. The full classic Mathmos lava lamp range is on show and available to buy.

Partner information

Mathmos the inventors of the lava lamp are celebrating their 50th birthday this September. In celebration, Mathmos will be launching a limited edition Astro with commemorative certificate signed by Christine Craven-Walker, the wife and business partner of Mathmos founder and lava lamp, Edward Craven-Walker. Alongside the limited edition will be the new Heritage collection inspired by vintage colours and finishes in celebration of Mathmos’ long history.

Mathmos have devised a season of commemorative events in celebration of the 50th birthday during this Septembers London Design Festival: Join Mathmos at the Shop, Royal Festival Hall to see the Mathmos world’s largest lava lamp. Celebrate the unveiling of the limited edition Astro at Aria Islington and be absorbed by its unique manufacturing story at Designjunction.

The Mathmos story began with the invention of the Astro lava lamp by company founder and eccentric inventor Edward Craven-Walker. 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, 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.

Mathmos lava lamps have been in continuous production for 50 years and have been handmade in Britain since 1963. The aluminum bases are spun in the Devon countryside, bottles are manufactured in Yorkshire and every Mathmos lava lamp is hand filled in Poole, Dorset with the unique formulation perfected by Edward Craven Walker.

Not many British inventions dating back as far as 1963 continue to be made solely in the UK, however the lava lamp is one of them. Mathmos are committed to keeping the manufacturing of their classic on home turf and much like the lava lamp, the company continues to be entirely British owned and run to this day.  

Brief Company History:

September 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 travelling the country selling from the back of an ex-postal van, also known as ‘Smokey’.

The astro was taken on by Selfridges and Habitat. The Astro is followed by the Astro Mini (astro baby).

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

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

Mathmos lava lamps appear in "Are you being served', 'The Sweeney', 'Carry on Laughing', 'The Good Life'.

Late 1980s
Throughout the 80's lava lamps fell 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 were Marc Almond was a regular buyer.

Early 1990’s
The range was restyled and presented to a new generation. Crestworth, the original company name is replaced by Mathmos. The name Mathmos is taken from the bubbling force in the cult 1960s sci-fi film, Barbarella.

Late 1990s
Mathmos is included in the Fast Track 100 list as third fastest growing manufacturer. Mathmos wins two Queens Awards for Export. Cressida buys out David and is a finalist for Verve Cliquot business woman of the year.

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.

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