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5 Banned Toys and Games



Popular Mechanics has assembled a list of five popular toys that were eventually banned in the US. Among the toys on the list is the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, marketed between 1950-51, which contained actual radioactive materials:

Called "the most elaborate Atomic Energy educational set ever produced" by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, this sophisticated science kit contained four types of uranium ore, its very own Geiger counter and a comic book called Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom. A form on the back of the instruction manual allowed a burgeoning Ernest Rutherford to send a note to New Haven, Conn., bearing the message, "Gentlemen: I need replacements for the following radioactive sources, (check which): ALPHA____, BETA _____, GAMMA ______ or CLOUD CHAMBER SOURCE____."

Mechanical engineer and inveterate tinkerer Bill Gurstelle fondly recalls the Atomic Energy Lab, saying, "everybody wanted that kit." Nowadays, he adds, "science kits are just sugar and salt." This kit appeared 21 years too soon—the as-yet-nonexistent CPSC never got a chance to ban it. In the meantime, here are the results of our recent experiments with eight new, and decidedly less radioactive, science kits.


http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/reviews/4347051.html via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Sorry about the dual post, but...

There's a house just up the road who have a ridiculously long slip'n'slide down their ridiculously long front law every summer. It stops a few short feet short of a dry stone wall. Apparently nobody has had a serious intefrace with the wall, yet...

I don't think the lawn darts were every actually banned here in the UK, until quite recently I have seen them in use.

The exploding park flyer was not unique, it's probably down to a lithium ion battery. They don't like shocks and I've seen a few plane's apparently spontaneously combust after a hard landing. The tech has improved in that respect in the last few years. Having said that I've seen worse conflagrations with methanol fueled planes.
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Dad used to work with radioactive sources in his lab. He had us kids shooting off rockets and making beer. Mom, on the other hand, brought home radioactive mutagens to create beautiful, if overly aggressive, guppies.

Things such as these bring a smile to my face. As children, my grandfathers jumped trains, owned firearms or ran from the Nazis. These days we worry about our children eating lead paint or choking on small parts. What will the next generation think is too dangerous?
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when I was 11-12 years old, my dad brought home 3 or 4 old chemistry sets that were barely touched. He renovated houses and the owner had these in the basement and said my dad could have them. They had all the good stuff in them. One of them even had an experiment for making gunpowder! I was constatly wrapping thing in magnesium and making the house stink like rotten eggs by making stinkbombs with sulfur.
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@swissonian good reference.
@Edward I don't think the issue is what will the next generation think is too dangerous, it's more about on how a 1950 really was dangerous, I don't think anyone would want their kids being exposed to radiation.
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We should wonder if we are being overly over-protective of our children. Fear can be an educational deterrent to kids, and puts them in a worse situation then properly understanding the things we keep them from.
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It's unfortunate that the particular kit was only available for a half-life of 2 years. I wonder if even after sales they continued to honor the material replacement policy.
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