#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 10°C Monday 21 June 2021

World's most dangerous toy measured how much it contaminated children

This 1950s science set contained four types of uranium ore.

Source: Wikimedia commons

THIS CHILDREN’S SCIENCE set from the 1950s was once described as the world’s most dangerous toy.

It could perform over 150 experiments and came with four types of uranium ore and three different radiation sources (alpha, beta and gamma). There was even a Geiger counter that could be used to detect how contaminated the young scientists had become.

A spinthariscope and a cloud chamber would reveal the speeding particles produced by atomic disintegration and there was a government manual and a form for ordering replacement radioactive sources. It was only available between 1951 and 1952 and was the most elaborate atomic energy educational set ever produced.

The set, which would have been sold at the high price, at the time, of $50, is on display in the Elements exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

Source: National Museums Northern Ireland

National Museums Northern Ireland’s Curator of Palaeontology Dr Mike Simms said it was a real coup for the Ulster Museum to add such a rare and highly prized piece to its collection.

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.

Read: 84-year-old nun among three jailed in US for breaking into ‘Fort Knox of uranium’>

Read: 13 toys every eighties Irish kid coveted for Christmas>

Read next: