The mineral oil rain lamp is among the truly quintessential oddities of the 1970's. The earliest rain lamp I can find appeared in a 1973 newspaper advertisement, retailing at a cost of $149.99 . Rain lamp ads came with tag lines like, "To see it is to love it", "A real conversation piece", "Fascinating to watch it work", "A fresh new idea that dramatizes any room", and "One of the most unique designer lamps ever seen". This amazing motion lamp electrically pumps mineral oil from the hidden well in the base up to the top of the lamp, where it cascades down a series of thin nylon filament strands. The result is a beautiful display of continuous dripping and shimmering cross-patterns of tropical rain.
A classic Grecian statue, typically a nude Venus, is usually located in the center of the lamp to "add to the elegance and luxury". A spotlight located in the top shines down on the statue and illuminates the dripping strands.
By the early-1980's, the fascination diminished, and larger models retailed for only around $50 dollars. Much like the Lava Lite and many truly inspired ideas, the rain lamp has made a comeback.
Genuine replacement Rain Lamp Mineral Oil!
There are companies that sell the Drakeol #35 mineral oil that was originally used in these lamps in the 1970's, complete with packaging with an illustration of a rain lamp.
The bottles are available in 32oz and 16 oz bottles. The 32 oz bottle fills a large 30" lamp, and the 16 oz bottles fill the smaller 20-something inch lamps.