It’s been a bit since the last post in this little corner of the World-Wide-Web – life can be quite the journey here in time and space – but some time must be taken to share this bit of interesting info. Nothing Earth shattering, but quite worthy of note for those who hold a curiosity for that which we have all come to know as the Atomic Age.
Hake’s Americana & Collectables is in the final days of bidding for their Auction #221 and do they have a classic up for grabs – Item 1066. It’s the GILBERT NUCLEAR PHYSICS NO. U-238 ATOMIC ENERGY LAB” BOXED 1952 SET in pristine condition. Folks have shown a bit of interest in this item at the Atomic Flash Tumblr site since it was first posted in September 2016.
Today it could be yours – for a pretty fancy price. We give the floor to Hake’s:
The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab cover Graphics
16.5×25.25×4.75″ deep textured paper-covered case contains A.C. Gilbert Co. set No. U-238 (a clever reference to Uranium-238, the most common isotope of uranium found in nature). This infamous lab’s intention was to allow children to create and watch chemical reactions using radioactive material.
GILBERT NUCLEAR PHYSICS NO. U-238 ATOMIC ENERGY LAB” BOXED 1952 SET
The lab contains a cloud chamber that allowed the viewer to watch alpha particles travel at 12,500 miles per second, a spinthariscope (a device for observing individual nuclear disintegrations caused by the interaction of ionizing radiation w/a phosphor or scintillator) that showed the results of radioactive disintegration on a fluorescent screen and an electroscope that measured the radioactivity of different substances included in the set. Looked upon as being dangerous because of the radioactive material in the set, Gilbert claimed that none of the materials could conceivably prove dangerous.
The lab contains a cloud chamber, a spinthariscope, and an electroscope.
In addition to items mentioned above, lab also includes – Geiger-Mueller Counter, nuclear spheres, Alpha, Beta and Gamma radioactive sources, radioactive ores, three illustrated books – “Prospecting For Uranium, How Dagwood Splits The Atom” and “Gilbert Atomic Energy Instruction Book” – Deionizer, three cardboard encased Winchester batteries. Underside of lid features great illustration of boy using lab w/atomic imagery and content listing as well as promotional text including US Government’s $10,000 reward for anyone finding uranium ore deposits.
The Gilbert Atomic Energy Manual and Prospecting for Uranium. The later was published by the United States Atomic Energy Commission and the United States Geological Survey – it was sold to those citizens who had an interest in hitting it rich in the Atomic Age ‘gold rush’ for Uranium ore.
The cover of Learn How Dagwood Splits the Atom – it’s all very scientific, you know. (The image is not on the item page but this book is also available with the set.)
Case shows little to no wear and displays Exc. Contents are complete and unused w/original packing material and show some scattered aging/dust soiling and are VF overall. Books/manuals show more moderate aging w/some pinch creases to spines. Fine overall. Unlike other chemistry sets released by Gilbert, the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab never gained popularity and the toy was taken off shelves, selling only from 1950 through 1952. Old store stock, choice condition example of this later 1952 version, as nice as they come. Special shipping required due to contents. This is the second example from this collection, the previous example selling for $8,696 w/o Dagwood books and added Prospecting book. Barry Lutsky Collection.
So there ya’ have it!
A set in this condition is extremely hard to find. The current bid is $4,500 – if you’re a serious collector you have a shot at getting this on a real deal. Go for it now if you’ve ever wanted a marvelous piece of Atomic Age Americana.