A Video Look At The 1950s Atomic Energy Lab Toy. Yes, the One With The Live Uranium In It

The old Atomic Energy Lab has come up once or twice here in a couple of posts that aren’t really worth my trouble to dig up. Basically if one of us ever linked out to somebody’s list of toys that weren’t a good idea, it’s most likely going to be on it. But what none of those lists had was a really good explanation of everything that was actually included in the box. This video from Atlas Obscura fixes that by taking a few minutes to show one off.

If you momentarily ignore the fact that the damn thing has multiple sources of radiation in it that your kids are supposed to play with, it actually sounds like a pretty cool toy. I guarantee you that were I alive in the early 50s I’d have totally pestered my folks for one.

By the way, an under-rated aspect of this whole thing is when they reveal the reason that the company ultimately discontinued it. Spoiler alert: It has nothing to do with either radioactivity or corporate responsibility. Well, maybe corporate responsibility did play a part in it, just not in the way one would hope.

We took a look at one of the world’s most dangerous toys – the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, an atomic energy lab kit that contained a book on how to prospect uranium. This retro “toy” from the 1950s enabled children to dive deep into the world of atomic chemistry. This retro toy is literally radioactive.

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