More old 1950's rad stuff

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Richard Hull
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More old 1950's rad stuff

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:31 pm

As most of you know I was into rad stuff since a kid. Part of growing up in the 50's. I found an old book and letter from a geiger counter kit I built in 1958 while rummaging through some ancient papers I had.

The "Library of Science" was a hands-on kit company back then and offered a nuclear sience kit with an "Experiments With Nuclearn Radiation" booklet and a geiger counter kit. The book had numerous experiments that involved your using some of the enclosed radio nuclides by feeding them to various insects and a mouse and then "etherizing" them (to death of course). You were then told to lay out the carcass on a supplied 5X7 photo film in a pouch to be developed at a local photo shop. The last experiment had you dissecting the animal and GM counting various organs that they suggested you remove and using smaller film pouches sent in the kit to create auto-radiographs of the distribution of the nuclides. What fun!

The cover letter was really cool and was dated Oct 8, 1958 and noted that you should do experiment #18 ASAP.

Experiment #18 involved collecting water in a pail from a home drain pipe after each rain over a period of weeks/months and keeping a log of the evaporant solids as you boiled the water off. It also suggested that your should also measure outside background over the same period. This was to show fallout changes from the Nevada tests. The book gleefully noted that,...." some boys had reported 500 percent increases in backgrounds!" (exclamation point theirs) The book was published in 1956.

The cover letter, after exhorting you to rush experiment #18, noted that you must do this quickly as nuclear testing in Nevada might come to an end at any time! (Exclamation point theirs, again). They were worried that the book might get dated and #18 would be disappointing to boys not bathed in future fallout events that would never happen.

Cool beans, huh? Such was my world when growing up.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Rich Feldman
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Re: More old 1950's rad stuff

Post by Rich Feldman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:50 pm

This contemporary news article came to my attention today via Slashdot.
http://www.techienews.co.uk/9723830/wor ... ay-museum/
The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab – dubbed as the world’s most dangerous toy – has gone on display at the Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. The toy has earned the title of most dangerous toy because it includes four types of uranium ore, three sources of radiation, and a Geiger counter that enables parents to measure just how contaminated their child had become.
Gilbert-Atomic-Energy-Lab-720x340.jpg
Talk about hysteria! I bet nobody was ever dangerously contaminated by those things. Better not go on about un-obviously dangerous toys that used to, and continue to, really injure and kill kids and people around them. But in the 21st century, if an educational toy is "scientific" it better contain no materials more dangerous than, say, dirt. Salt would hurt if you put it in your eye. Wood might break and you could get a splinter.
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Richard Hull
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Re: More old 1950's rad stuff

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:02 am

That lab was very expensive in the 50's (~$100.00) and very few were ever sold. I have a friend looking for one in complete and good condition and was willing to give up $2000.00 for one, but the last one he saw sold on e-bay went for a lot more. It is the ultimate science toy collectable, if in mint condition.

At one time, on e-bay, 10 or more years ago, we saw them go for under $700.00 but those times are over and those who bought them back then aren't letting them go.

Of course, there were functional PNC-1 neutron counters going for $100.00 back in 1998. OE technologies sold me 2 - 2 foot long BF3 tubes 2" in diameter and my 20" 3He Router and stokes tube all for $400.00 total back in 2001....Oh well.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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