Vintage chemistry sets

 Articles Wp-Content Uploads 2011 07 Science-4

We've posted before about the amazing Atomic Energy Lab kids science kit of 1951, complete with radioactive sources. Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix looks at the Atomic Energy Lab and other fine science and chemistry sets from before the dark times, before the Nanny State. From Collectors Weekly:

 Articles Wp-Content Uploads 2011 07 Science3

In 1914, American chemist John J. Porter produced the first line of chemistry sets for boys called Chemcraft, which was purchased by Lionel Toy Corporation in 1961. His toy was such a smash, that a few years later, science fanatic A.C. Gilbert, maker of Erector Sets and, later, American Flyer model trains, put out his own. At the time, it was understood these kits were not just fun toys full of magic tricks but tools to groom young men for careers in science.

World War II revealed the endless, life-altering possibilities of chemistry, from the life-saving potential of new plastics to the apocalyptic power of the nuclear bomb. By the end of the 1950s, even young women were getting in on the act. While girls had been allowed sets like Chemcraft's Sachetcraft that let them make their own perfumes and cosmetics, Gilbert put out its first "Laboratory Technician" set for girls in the late '50s, which contained mostly a microscope and prepared slides.

"Cyanide, Uranium, and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun With Science"