This kids’ toy had real radioactive components! The Gilbert U-238 Energy Laboratory was not a hot seller, and was only on shelves in 1950 and 1951.
The set originally sold for $49.50 (equivalent to $520 in 2018) and contained the following:
- Battery-powered Geiger–Müller counter
- Wilson cloud chamber
- Four glass jars containing uranium-bearing ore samples (autunite, torbernite, uraninite, and carnotite from the “Colorado plateau region”), serving as low-level radiation sources of:
- Alpha particles (Pb-210 and Po-210)
- Beta particles (Ru-106)
- Gamma rays (possibly Zn-65)
- “Nuclear spheres” for making a model of an alpha particle
- Gilbert Atomic Energy Manual — a 60-page instruction book
- Learn How Dagwood Split the Atom — comic book introduction to radioactivity
- Prospecting for Uranium — a book
- Three C batteries
- 1951 Gilbert Toys catalog
Wait what…the batteries were included? That can’t possibly be true!