5 fun science kits from the last century

You simply wouldn’t believe what they let Joe public play with in the early-mid 20th century! We’ve come a long way from letting school children play with deadly poison and radioactive rocks in their chemistry sets. Here’s 5 science kits from across the last 100 years – see for yourself how much things have changed.

Atomic Energy Lab

This is exactly what it sounds like: in 1950s USA, while the atomic era was being embraced and the dangers of radiation were being ignored, Gilbert launched the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. It came complete with radioactive Uranium ore and a Geiger counter, presumably to gauge how irradiated your children were after they’d finished their experiments. Fortunately it was priced far out of the pocket of the blissfully ignorant American public, so it wasn’t very popular.

Facial Reconstruction Kit

The CSI Facial Reconstruction Kit provided children with anatomical model of a the human skull and face, which split in pieces and could be reassembled again. It was a novel licensed product from the popular TV series that doesn’t seem to be in production any more – which is a shame. As macabre a learning toy as this seems, we can imagine this helped inspire the career of many a budding forensic scientist today.

Heirloom Chemistry Set

Believe it or not, some people want to recreate the heady days of old-school chemistry sets: not the cheap plastic modern things with a vial of baking soda and some household vinegar, nor the early 19th century sets that contained deadly cyanide and chemical explosives. In 2014, a chemist ran a successful kickstarter campaign for an ‘Heirloom Chemistry Set’ containing several dozen chemical compounds, glass laboratory ware and a case finished in wood.

Chem Crafter

This app isn’t so much a science kit than a guide to making one and some experiments. It shows you how to craft some chemical compounds from household items and how to build your own lab at home. Inspirational stuff for digitally-savvy generation z kids, but we can see their parents getting nervous about their children playing with drain cleaner and lighter fluid.

How It Works gift box

How It Works finally has its own science kit, complete with a microscope, wildlife guide, bookazine, books and of course, a years subscription to the mag for a saving of nearly 50% on the individual items. You can pick one up here.

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