Just before New Years, I tossed up this subject to those in my Facebook circle, just to see if anyone noticed. Many did. So whilst preparing my list of beautifully overlooked subjects I need to cover (I'll wait until my nausea is over before I get around to "twerking" and "The Harlem Shake"), I put this on top.
They're called Rain Lamps. Some called them "swag lamps", but swags are these:
...and they weren't "oil lamps" Which look like these:
Rain lamps were popular in the late '60s and early '70s. They were kind of a lava light for your parents.
They almost always had some kind of Venus sculpture in them, surrounded by plastic foliage (although some had a clock or even a cabin in them.) They worked by using a pump that ran rain lamp oil (which was pretty much mineral oil - any other kind of oil will gum up the pump) over several strands of taut 30-40 lb fishing line to create a slow motion effect of rain. The oil also had to be changed and the lamp and pump cleaned every year or the oil gets rancid. For lighting, you used low wattage soft light of any colour.
You can find them on eBay. But prepare to fork out a lot of money for one in really nice condition. However restoring one takes time and work, but it isn't rocket science.