The early chemistry sets for children played on the idea of impressing school friends with a magic performance.
By the 1920s and 30s children had access to substances which would raise eyebrows in today’s more safety-conscious times.
There were toxic ingredients in pesticides, as well as chemicals now used in bombs or considered likely to increase the risk of cancer. And most parents will not need to be told of the dangers of the sodium cyanide found in the interwar kits or the uranium dust present in the “nuclear” kits of the 1950s.
Most will know cyanide as a deadly poison, but one of its main applications is in gold mining. It can make gold dissolve into water.
Some chemistry sets of bygone ages even offered instructions and materials to be able to blow glass at high temperatures.
“You are letting a 12-year-old blow glass, there was uranium dust with a spinthariscope where you could see the radiation waves,” says Rosie Cook, assistant curator at the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
All of the following images come from a random Google image search.
Dig the cuff links. http://jenzart.blogspot.ca/2010_10_01_archive.html