Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab (1950-1951)


Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab/Alfred Carlton Gilbert


Atomic Energy Lab


Once assembled and put to use, the toy will over power and explode, going off like a small nuclear bomb.




Assembling the toy and using it.







Date of Collection




The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab is a toy lab set that was produced by Alfred Carlton Gilbert and sold between 1950 and 1951. A product catalogue
Atomic energyopened

What is contained inside the case

describes it as follows: "Produces awe-inspiring sights! Enables you to actually SEE the paths of electrons and alpha particles traveling at speeds of more than 10,000 miles per SECOND! Electrons racing at fantastic velocities produce delicate, intricate paths of electrical condensation--beautiful to watch. Viewing Cloud Chamber action is closest man has come to watching the Atom! Assembly kit (Chamber can be put together in a few minutes) includes Dri-Electric Power Pack, Deionizer, Compression Bulb, Glass Viewing Chamber, Tubings, power leads, Stand and Legs."

The set originally sold for $49.50 ($461.43 in 2014 US dollars) and contained the following:

  • Geiger-Müller counter
  • Electroscope
  • Spinthariscope
  • Wilson cloud chamber
  • Low-level radiation sources:
    • Alpha particles (Pb-210 and Po-210)
    • Beta particles (Ru-106)
    • Gamma particles (possibly Zn-65)
  • Four Uranium-bearing ore samples
  • Nuclear spheres for making a molecular model of an alpha particle.
  • Prospecting for Uranium — a book
  • Gilbert Atomic Energy Manual
  • "Learn How Dagwood Split the Atom" comic book
  • Three C batteries
  • 1951 Gilbert Toys catalog

The lab was pulled from the shelves after less than a year due to concerns that children could ingest the radiation sources.


This artifact was actually pulled from the shelves because it was known that when built, the device may actually explode, setting off a small nuclear explosion. All versions of the toy were collected, but the Warehouse did release copies out into the public that would not cause harm to anyone, and those are the ones that are now collected by collectors.

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