Top 25 "It" products of all time: #19 -- The Lava Lite


You maybe owned one once. Maybe you spent a few nights transfixed by that torpedo-shaped vertical glass tube full of slowly churning goo. We call it a Lava Lamp, but its real name is Lava Lite, and it may be the most famous lamp in the world, excepting Aladdin's.

The first Lava-Brand Motion Lamps lamps came out in 1965, just in time to help a generation of psychedelic dropouts take a hit, tune in, and drop out as they stared into the gloopy miasma within. That was a high concept for the period (literally), but the added counter-culture value of owning a lamp that you couldn't even read by was just rebellious enough to spark a fad. But by the time the hippie culture crashed in the '70s, just 200 Lites a week were being sold.

When the Lava's popularity was at low ebb, Haggerty Enterprises was savvy enough to snap up the rights, and by the time the '90s rolled around, the lamps had lost their druggie stigma and, well, erupted into a benign decorating staple. Ironically, while Lava Lites are thought of as an echo from the Swinging '60s, they actually sold the most units annually some 30 years after its birth: more than a million a year.