Unreleased and Prototype Lamps

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Graffix Prototypes
Grande Starship and Colossus Starship
Early Ceramic Base
8oz Prototypes, 32oz Americana, and University of Illinois lamps
Concept Lamps
Resin Prototypes


The name “Expo” has been given to this lamp via the collectors community. It has also been referred to as the “Apollo”. I have seen no evidence that this model was ever released to the public or given a model name or number. This lamp was likely only produced for promotional purposes and never sold directly by Lava Lite. It came with a textured base and cap. One is known to exist has a non textured black cap and no printing on the globe. The one pictured in this article was customized for the Montreal Expo in 1967. So far these are the only two that have been photographed, but one other is rumored to belong to a secretive collector. This may have never been released as a Lava Lite branded lamp because it was sold by the band Blues Magoos as the Psyche De Lite without any Lava Lite branding. It’s possible due to the way that deal was written that this model could never have been released officially.

Graffix Prototypes

Around the time of the Icon Series Haggerty Enterprises was considering a collaboration with South Park Studios. For whatever reason that deal didn’t work out. During prototyping some lamps were kept and eventually made their way in to collectors hands. These prototypes are at various levels of completion. Some can’t hold anything, others are completely finished. Some were either repurposed into water pipes or were bongs that ICON was producing that were being converted into lava lamp bases.

One seller on eBay who had one of these for sale provided some background on these lamps.

“The Kenny has an interesting background. In 1995 I was the GM for ICON Ceramics which was the largest manufacturer of ceramic bong bases in the world. In 1996, we got a contract to produce 10,000 lava lamp bases for world. In 1996, we got a contract to produce 10,000 lava lamp bases for Haggerty enterprises. We retooled our molds to produce our pieces in a way that would accomodate the lava lamps. There were jesters and clowns and a few other pieces. In 1997, Haggerty gave us the contract to produce SouthPark characters. The one you have is a prototype that never went to Haggerty.

Scott Johnson was the artist that sculpted all of ICONS pieces. He is the son of the late Snellen Johnson who was a famous bronze artist here in the southwest. There were only about 6 or 7 of the one that you have that were even poured (with the stitches and bullet holes). I called the guys that I worked with at the time and we think that yours is the only one left. I haven’t talked to Scott but if there is another one left he would have it. I’ve asked the other guys I worked with if they have any more of the bases or the molds and I’m waiting to hear back from them. If I come across any more bases I will let you know. Thanks for the feedback and have a great day.”

There are two versions of the Kenny prototype lamp. The type with the stitches and bullet holes can not hold a globe. The other kenny prototype was fitted to handle the same electrical equipment as other icon lamps. Jim was able to take the electrical equipment from an icon lamp and turn his kenny prototype lamp into a finished working lamp.

eBay seller

These are likely some early bases made by Graffix using existing some molds for their bongs.

Grande Starship and Colossus Starship

The Grande Starship is arguably the most desired prototype ever to be produced by Lava Lite only rivaled by the Colossus Starship. Both models were cancelled due to safety concerns. As their names suggest the Grande Starship uses a 250oz Grande globe and the Colossus Starship uses a 10 gallon Colossus globe. The Grande Starship got a lot closer to producted and went through more iterations before being cancelled. It had a brochure released and a more refined shape.

Only 1 Grande Starship was knowingly gifted to a collector. Any other ones made their way out of the various Lava Lite offices without company approval. The one gifted was signed and numbered by the current CEO Dale Zalusky.

To my friend,

I admire your lava passion + knowledge.


Dale Zalusky President + CEO Lava Lite LLC

#1 of 6


Dale Zalusky

Colossus Starship

The Colossus Starship was only produced as a proof of concept and production was quickly cancelled. Only a single one of these were made one of which sat in a Chinese warehouse before being shipped to the Lava Lite entryway lobby in their Chicago headquarters. A lamp of this size could have disastrous results if it were knocked over for any reason. A 100 lb globe is enough to kill a small child or pet. The current location of the one known Colossus starship is unconfirmed, but it is likely in the possession of the current Lava Lite parent company Schylling.

Early Ceramic Base

This rare lamp showed up on eBay sometime in 2013 and was bought by a private collector. OozingGoo member Jonas Clark-Elliott shared his own personal experience with this lamp when visiting the Lava World offices in Chicago.

Trust me: if you’re nuts about lamps so rare, no model name is known, THIS IS YOUR THREAD!

Today’s story: What do a trip to Lava World in 1998 and a weird-looking lamp have in common?

The time: summer, 1998. The place: Chicago, Illinois. The protagonist: Me.

I visited Lava World. I may have told about this before, but for those who haven’t heard, this was what Lava World was like c. late-90s. Walking into the plain building’s lobby, one saw a door on the left (offices), a staircase going straight ahead and up (offices) and, to the right of the stairs, a secretary’s counter with a Magma Time clock on it. The secretary was answering phones non-stop. To the right was a sitting area, and a low shelf along the far right wall loaded with about 40 working Lava Lites, all new, with the newest colors down front. (I bought a red/blue!) Through double doors at the back, you could occasionally catch glimpses of a warehouse-like space, with forklifts carrying stacks of pallets full of Midnight bases.

They were VERY busy – so busy, in fact, that I had to make an appointment and return a few hours later – though that let me go on a lava hunt (hello, Coachlite!) When I returned, they pulled out all the old catalogs they had. They didn’t have much; I was told that, whenever an exec retired, they’d take something with them. Among what they had, though, were three issues of the Lava Liter, which was an in-company newsletter begun in 1966 when 14 new models joined the one original Lava Lite. “We’re sitting on top of the world!” touted the headline, beside which sat a cartoony man in an office chair atop a globe. The header even showed a b/w line drawing of a Century along with two more 52-oz lamps in oddball bases – prototypes, maybe? One had a base that had a rocket booster-like faceted design; the other was a wide bowl or tray speckled with maple leaves. Nifty stuff! They made photocopies for me, but they were very, very dark.

That leads to today: Thanks to Deb for the link. Has anybody seen this? Wondered if it’s homemade? Either way, it’s cool, no?

<<defunct eBay link>>

…well, wonder no more, and pull out your pocketbooks. The 52-oz pictured in the header of the Lava Liter, issue 1, 1966, which I’ve described as resembling a rocket booster? Never, EVER pictured in any known catalog? It certainly isn’t in the 1965 leaflet, and it isn’t among the 14 new models of 1966! Yeah? Yeah. You’re lookin’ at it. Ceramic. Yes, ceramic.

To whoever gets this, I bow to your awesomeness. And please ask the seller where/how they got it. You think the Executive is rare? This is as rare as a Menorah Prayer Lite or a Blues Magoos Psyche-De-Lite: “rare” doesn’t begin to describe it!


8oz Prototypes, 32oz Americana, and University of Illinois lamps

In the pictures below you can see what looks to be an 8oz wizard base, a 32oz Americana, a wizard cap with an Americana print, some USA made 8oz globes, and some early USA made 8oz bases. There are some University of Illinois bases and caps and the blue appears to be a darker blue than what we released in the Electric series. The smaller globes were potentially prototypes created to be sent to China for manufacturing examples.

Concept Lamps

These lamps were discovered through patent searches. Some of them like the color changing model and the squared off version look to have been an attempt to develop a real product. Some of the other ones look like they may have been submitted to prevent other manufacturers from selling off brand products in the United States.

Color changing lamp.

Lava lamp with squared off edges.

Likely just patenting other shapes outside of the typical lava lamp shape.

Prototypes that eventually lead to the Clearview line.

Resin Prototypes

Most of these lamps were shown in catalogs, but were never released.

Western Saloon



Boob lamp

This one may have been released, but limited to some smaller markets or perhaps just in very small amounts.

Les Paul

4 Gibson lamps were made. They were just prototypes and nothing more. One was a flying V, another was an SG.

Wine Deco

Unreleased Wine Deco lamp featuring a burgundy master fluid that has only ever been released with this model.


The MERV is a concept lamp that is a one off creation that never made it into production. Through the WaybackMachine this comment was found describing its origins.

Dr Pinball was one of our New Product guys and I still work with him to this day.

The lamp in question is in fact a ONE OF A KIND proto we did for SPENCER. I thought it was a winner. I wanted to name it MERV after the coldwar nuke thing. We showed it to Spencer and they thought it was to WARLIKE etc.

All I can say is it is in fact a RARE piece. The lava inside was a custom one time color. It was hand made by our lead NPD designer TEX. All the facts in the auction are correct.

Dr Lava


I don’t know anything about these, but they are known to be prototypes.


Mistaken for Prototypes

This was thought to be a prototype, but after further research it appears to be made by the Florence Art company. The mettle bases and switches are the same ones used in other models.