Porter’s Chemcraft Master Laboratory

2019 Atomic Advent Calendar Gift Ideas Day 1

Porter Chemical Company produced the Chemcraft Master Laboratory with Atomic Energy throughout the 1950s. The kit included radioactive Uranium ore and was the most expensive and elaborate model available in 1951. At $27.50 (about $265 in today’s dollars), this was quite an investment for a family Christmas gift.

The popularity of chemistry sets peaked during the 1940s and 1950s, coinciding with the nuclear arms race. After the Atomic Energy Act was passed in 1947, the Atomic Energy kits were added to the Chemcraft chemistry sets. This model contains not only chemicals, but an educational manual on atomic energy, radiation test strips, and the sample of true uranium ore.

The set in the pictures, above, was found at the Great Basin Museum in Delta, UT. Other museums have tested these sets with Geiger counters and found the radiation from the Uranium core to be negligible and safe for handling.