`The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab sold for $50 in 1951/52. It came with four types of uranium ore, a Geiger counter to gauge how contaminated with radiation the child had become during the experiments, and three different radiation sources – gamma, beta and alpha.
Described as world’s most dangerous toy, which at the time was the most elaborate atomic energy educational set ever produced, it is on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the Elements exhibition.
The toy was aimed at “the junior scientist” and included in its manual more than 150 experiments. It had a spinthariscope (shows the incidence of alpha particles by flashes on a fluorescent screen) and a cloud chamber that would reveal the speeding particles produced by atomic disintegration – the particles traveled at 12,000 miles per second.
An advert for the Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab, which only sold for one year. Apparently, not many parents were keen on buying one for their kids. (Image: Wikipedia)
Dr. Simms said:
“Since opening last year, the Elements exhibition has proved most popular with our visitors. I came across the opportunity to purchase this fabulous and unusual set and am delighted it will now be displayed in the exhibition.”
The Gilbert Cloud Chamber, when assembled. (Image: Wikipedia)
“I think visitors will find it amazing and amusing that this set allowed budding young scientists to measure radioactivity of Uranium in the comfort of their own homes!”
“Perhaps it wouldn’t pass today’s health and safety standards but it is a perfect fit for the Elements exhibition. And, on the eve of the Northern Ireland Science Festival, timing for this new addition couldn’t be better.”
Dr. Simms with the most dangerous toy ever made at the Elements exhibition, Ulster Museum. (Image: Ulster Museum)