I had a couple of chemistry sets when I was young and also had great fun with them (though as they involved a naked flame my mother always supervised).
One set allowed me to manufacture a foul-smelling, green-coloured gas – which the guide asserted had been used as a weapon during the Great War.
I bought my eldest daughter a kit a few years ago and it was so boring and lacking in excitement that we both gave up on it after an hour. It was not used a second time.
The BBC report that our experience is not a solitary one and that safety concerns have more or less destroyed the market for kids’ chemistry sets. It’s quite hard to justify selling anyone a set that allows them to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, never mind give it to children. But without the magic, what’s the point?
- Whatever happened to kids’ chemistry sets? (bbc.co.uk)
- Whatever happened to chemistry sets? (guardian.co.uk)
- Whatever Happened to Kids’ Chemistry Sets? (happolatismiscellany.wordpress.com)
- The history (and future) of kid’s chemistry sets (boingboing.net)
- Children’s chemistry sets used to contain cyanide [Holy Crap Wtf] (io9.com)
- 3D printers as universal chemistry sets for nanotechnology (foresight.org)
- 9 of the scariest toys of all time (holykaw.alltop.com)