Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chemistry Sets

I'm sorry that it has been so long since I have posted.  I have been meaning to do a review of the book Cloud Atlas (by David Mitchell), which I loved, but I missed my chance at seeing the movie in the theater and I have been waiting on the DVD so I could watch the film before I do my review.

Anyway, on to the purpose of this post.  I just read an article in the NY Times about the history and and current status of my favorite toy growing up, The Chemistry Set.  After spending some time scouring the internet, I found a picture my first chemistry set.

I was 8 years old when my parents finally gave in to all my incessant nagging, and bought me the only toy I had wanted for for the entire previous year.  I fondly remember the years of joy that it brought to me, and the terror that it brought to my parents. It had fun and dangerous chemicals like Sodium FerroCyanide, Cobalt Chloride and Ferric Ammonium Sulfate, that, if you followed the directions, you could mix up and get blue and green stuff in your test tubes, or you could just mix stuff together and get weird (probably toxic) smells and you could give your parents nightmares about exploding houses.  It even had a dried up frog that you could dissect with the razor sharp scalpel that came in the kit (Yeah, I was a bit of a scary little girl).

Well, anyway, go to a toy store today and try to find a chemistry set to give to your precocious daughter or son.

While I have to admit, that making slime sounds like fun, the modern-day attitude that puts safety (really liability) ahead of everything else has produced a pretty watered down version of what I got to play with then I was a girl.  I just find it hard to believe that the scientific minds of the next generation will be inspired to greatness by "Spa-Science".  

But fear-not, real chemistry sets do still exist, they are just expensive and generally need to be bought on-line.

I am actually tempted to buy one of these and save it until the offspring is old enough, just in-case it is not available anymore when I am certainly hoping an interest in science is expressed.

If anybody actually reads these posts, please let me know in the comments what kind of dangerous toys you got to play with when you were growing up.