Even imagining an alternate history where the recent earthquake and resultant nuclear disaster in Japan didn’t happen, or Chernobyl or even Three Mile Island, or that the term WMD post-9/11 wasn’t scorched into our brains, most reasonable parents of today would probably shy away from this 1950s era radioactive science kit.

Apparently it was okay in the 1950s though, even with the US Government, for parents to buy radiactive uranium ore for their kids as part of Gilbert’s U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. I imagine Doc Brown and Marty McFly would have had a field day.

The kit included four different types of uranium ore, a geiger counter(!!!), a miniature cloud chamber, an electroscope, a spinthariscope and an educational comic book called “Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom!” The kit taught kids about atomic power and how to create “clean and safe atomic energy.” It even featured a US Government manual titled, “Prospecting for Uranium,” which claimed to help kids find new sources of uranium and allow them to collect a $10,000 bounty. Just what responsible parents always wanted, some glow-in-the-dark budding scientists.

The kits had additional information for ordering more uranium ore once the original samples decayed past their half-life. Unfortunately, the kits were only available for about a year before being taken off the market. Perhaps it was the $50 selling price, which in the 1950s meant that your parents had to be fairly affluent to be able to afford to buy it. In modern terms, that would be worth about $465 with inflation, enough for an iPad or two iPhones on contract.

However, the kits still have one thing going for them. They are so rare that a complete set can net you over 100x the original asking price as a collector’s item.

Source: Gajitz

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