How-To Geek

The History of Children’s Chemistry Kits

If you recall your childhood chemistry kit fondly, you’ll certainly find this overview of how the kits have changed over the decades an interesting stroll down memory lane. Depending on your age, you can be thankful you missed the radioactive kits.

The BBC reports:

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.

Hit up the link below for colorful trip through the history of chemistry kits.

Whatever Happened to Kids’ Chemistry Kits? [BBC via Boing Boing]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/8/12

Comments (6)

  1. GaGator

    Christmas, 1952, my big present was a deluxe chemistry kit containing several acids and many poisons. Lesson 2 (rapid oxidation) was to mix potassium permanganate with glycerine oil. The intense flames nearly destroyed my dad’s workbench, resulting in the oxidation of my butt when he got home from work. True story.

  2. r

    lots of these chemicals appear in common processed foods we eat….fun, fun

  3. Spartan4085

    Yeah, I remember my chemistry kit. My brother spilled all the chemicals on the floor while I was in the bathroom. We were never able to get the stains out.

  4. BD

    My mother will never let me forget that I turned my pink curtains and my bedroom floor blue with my chemistry set. She laughs about it now but at the time…

  5. Subbrilliant

    @Spartan4085 I’ll go ahead and assume that the unremovable stains were from the chemicals and not the other thing. Lol

  6. Jer


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