0

June 6, 2014 AT 5:41 am

Vintage chemistry sets show we used to be way more chill about chemicals

Chemcraft
Vintage Chemistry Sets Show We Used to Be Way More Chill About Chemicals @ WIRED.

In their mid-20th century heyday, chemistry sets inspired kids to grow up to be scientists. Intel founder Gordon Moore, for example, credits a chemistry set with sparking his lifelong interest in science (not to mention some pretty neat explosions along the way).

Chemistry sets seem to have fallen out of favor in recent years, but there’s a movement to bring them back—or at least recapture some of the unstructured experimentation the old sets encouraged. In this gallery, we take a look at some vintage sets from the collection of the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum in Philadelphia. They provide an interesting perspective on how public attitudes towards science shifted over the course of the 20th century, says Kristen Frederick-Frost, the museum’s curator of artifacts and collections manager.

In the early to mid 1900s, there was growing optimism that science could solve many of the important problems facing the world, Frederick-Frost says. Chemistry kits reflected this enthusiasm, featuring what was new and exciting at the time: Plastics! Atomic Energy! Outer Space! It was common for the box of a kit to feature both an image of a young boy playing with the kit and an image of a scientist in his lab—the man the boy would grow up to be. “It’s about much more than chemistry, it’s about creating the ideal citizen through play,” she said.

Learn more.


Check out all the Circuit Playground Episodes! Our new kid’s show and subscribe!

Have an amazing project to share? Join the SHOW-AND-TELL every Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET on Google+ Hangouts.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Learn resistor values with Mho’s Resistance or get the best electronics calculator for engineers “Circuit Playground”Adafruit’s Apps!


Maker Business — Undercover in an iPhone Factory (video)

Wearables — Go with silicone

Electronics — Shift away from basic arithmetic

Biohacking — Recording and Biohacking a 100 Mile Run

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



1 Comment

  1. Very true. "Everything" is declared dangerous, even carbon dioxide! Classical reagents are hard to come by for the hobby microscopist also. But innovation has provided replaceemts (refer to Micscape if interested)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.