Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Atomic Energy Lab -- For Children!

Oh, to have lived in the early 50's! When Father Knows Best was the ideal for households everywhere. When racial discrimination was still a simmering norm. And when the secrets of the atom seemed to promise both everlasting energy and weaponized domination, not to mention fodder for so many titillating "B" sci-fi monster movies.

In 1950, the year America's Federal Civil Defense Administration released its movie, Duck and Cover, and even the atomic scientists still thought atomic radiation was no more harmful than sunlight, Gilbert Toys released the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab:

http://www.orau.org/PTP/collection/atomictoys/GilbertU238Lab.htm

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_U-238_Atomic_Energy_Laboratory

Yes, toy inventor (and record-breaking, Gold Medal Olympic athlete) Alfred Carlton Gilbert, the maker of the famous Erector Set, microscope sets, chemistry sets, and American Flyer toy train sets, released the most complete atomic energy detection set for children ever made.

Wait. For children?

Yes, this kit came complete with radioactive energy sources, including uranium ore, as well as detection devices, including a Geiger counter, cloud chamber (where atomic particles created shooting clouds of vapor), and the tongue-twisting-named spinthariscope (which showed alpha radiation particles using sparks of fluorescence). There was also a little nuclear model set and some manuals. For the not-so-low price of $50, little Johnie could examine simple nuclear phenomena and go search for new sources of uranium in the back yard.

Most humorous of all, though, was a comic book, entitled Dagwood Splits The Atom, featuring everyone's favorite deli-sandwich-eating, hollow-eyed comic couch potato, Dagwood's wife, Blondie, Mandrake the Magician, and even Popeye!

For one year, between 1950 and 1951, this kit was on the market, selling radioactive uranium ore to be marveled over by geeky young teens and preteens everywhere. And to think, today, the tiniest speck of nearly harmless radioactive dust used by scientists in biological fields has to be closely monitored, accounted for, and discarded according to strict Federal guidelines.

This was still several years before folks realized that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had done more than kill with heat. The radiation eating away at the victims of those bombs, and numerous guinea pig American soldiers in Nevada ground zero sites, had yet to be understood. Heck, why not let little kids handle radiation?

Look at the cool sparks in your spinthariscope, Billy! That's American scientific eminence wavin' back at ya!


Image taken from HERE.

11 comments:

Lauso said...

Darwin's 199th birthday is coming! I know it's black history month, but you can't miss this one :)

Buy Generic Viagra said...

oh yeah sure, after the terrible accident in Japan, the best way to teach our children about the danger of the radioactivity, is give them this.

Invertir en oro said...

hello, i think that this post is the best that i have read because has useful information.

Anonymous said...

I am really happy to read this blog posts which contains plenty of
useful data, thanks for providing these kinds of data.


Also visit my web-site; e-cigaret med nikotin

Anonymous said...

It sold out!!! The company informed me that far more is going to be
in stock subsequent thirty day period. many thanks

My webpage ... six pack shortcuts videos free download

Anonymous said...

am 22 and began using this solution and that i heard that cancer could arise in future.
so is this accurate, shall i continue it or not
and to decrease
10 to twelve kg how several times i need to use
this,
whether i've to make use of that multivitamin tabelats

my web page: are there any weight loss supplements that actually work

Anonymous said...

Les, anyone who knows comics knows that Superman has as well a lot of weaknesses to contends
with Hulk. He demands a yellow sunshine, he is vulnerable to
magic, which can be why Shazam takes him out, he has the krytonite concern, that is
a large a single. Hulk only has Betty Ross and she won't be about. The Hulk is just also strong and he gets stronger. It will be a nice battle however, the planet will likely be in shambles. Also, if Doomsday can kill Superman what do you believe the Hulk will do to him?

my webpage :: superman stamina revealed

Anonymous said...

Wen u attempt it did it function

Also visit my blog ... zoom teeth Whitening reviews 2012

Anonymous said...

Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Very useful information specifically the last part
:) I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time.

Thank you and best of luck.

my site: damp cigaret

Anonymous said...

I start getting this tablets a week in the past and I have gained three pounds which
tablets make me feel quite anxious and ill so I do not believe
this coffe bean is great

Check out my blog post: christian weight loss programs

Anonymous said...

I'd acquire your cookbook.

Feel free to visit my homepage ... how to eat healthy cheap