Toys Of The Atomic Age

Oak Ridge Associated Universities has a groovy collection of vintage “atomic toys” and games for children which referenced and/or promoted nuclear technology. Included are board games such as “Uranium Rush” and “Nuclear War” and, below, 1952’s Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, which came with four pieces of real uranium:

Today, it is so highly prized by collectors that a complete set can go for more than 100 times the original price. The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own alpha source, an electroscope, a geiger counter, and a comic book (Dagwood Splits the Atom).

GilbertAtomicOpentrimmed

12 Comments on "Toys Of The Atomic Age"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Jan 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm |

    Did these things cause as much cancer as those fluoroscope shoe fitting machines?

    • Good question..lol I had an old chemistry set with uranium in it…I didnt like the results so I took up smoking 😛

  2. Nunzio X, amused observer | Jan 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

    Iran got ahold of one of these kits; hence the mass pants-shitting of everyone “concerned” about Iran’s “nuclear capability.”

  3. A gamma source??? Yikes!

  4. Liam_McGonagle | Jan 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm |

    “The set came with four types of uranium ore . . . ”

    This explains why the Curie kids down the block all have loose teeth and are missing great patches of hair . . .

  5. I like how at the bottom it says” Exciting! Safe!”

    Sounds like what the Nuclear industry keeps telling us!

    • Nuclear industry’s held back by paranoia which would have been apropos when this kit came out, but is now, like this kit, obsolete. It’s a shame. Cheap, clean energy seems like a good thing, but the pop-culture nuclear boogeyman has us sucking the teat of coal and other fossil fuels and it seems like a cruddy deal. But hey, you go, girl.

      • Anarchy Pony | Feb 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm |

        Except it’s not cheap, not to build or maintain the plants, nor to find a way to deal with the waste. 

  6. Skush123456 | Feb 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm |

    Holy crap! I have never wanted anything in my life as much as this….I’m off to ebay right now bitches.

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