Chemistry Set Toy History

Did you have a Chemistry set when you were younger? The original Chemistry set was released by the A.C. Gilbert Co. in 1923. Originally marketed solely to boys, the kit was designed to teach basic chemistry skills, but by today’s standards, it would likely be watered down to ensure it was safer and did not become as security risk.

They went on to sell millions of sets over the next 30 years. Eventually, even girls were acknowledged by the manufacturers — but only to assist… A Gilbert’s Lab Technician Set for Girls was released in the 1950s, cloaked in reassuring pink shades. It would be another 10 years until 1960’s when finally the gender barrier in kiddie chemistry was brought down and boys and girls were finally allowed to play scientist together.

museum of childhood Chemistry Set

The early sets included toxic ingredients along with chemicals now used in bomb or halagens likely to increase the risk of cancer. And even the dangerous sodium cyanide or uranium dust!!! Which was present in nuclear kits of the 1950’s!!

Todays sets may have a minor puff of smoke or color changing properties but no explosions or very dangerous chemicals which has to be a good thing.