They do not make toys like these anymore! Brought out nearly over half a century ago by the toy-making whiz, Alfred Carlton Gilbert, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab not only became a rage during its time but has now returned to charm collectors.
It is inventive, interesting and can get and keep anyone hooked to it for hours! Besides being all that fun, it is a hit with the parents for the sole reason that it also achieves the purpose of education. It is a set that revs up the thinking process of the mind, the inventiveness of a genius and the curiosity of a child.
Brought out in 1951, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was a highly intellectual toy set with a scholastic approach. But it was phased out in the year of 1952 because of, what its inventor justifies as, and its sophistication. The game plan was set with some help from the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology and had backing from the American Government who was keen to get the masses educated about the potential and booming research into the subject matter of atomic energy. This masterpiece was released after years of hard work and study and scientists as wells as bureaucrats alike deemed it the work of a genius!
When it was first released, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was priced at, what was considered to be expensive in those good ol’ days, $50. After inflation to 2005 US dollar, that rounds up to $379.92. Today, it circulates among the collectors’ circles at a price that is easily ten times over the original one! This is because the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was not only a toymaker’s masterwork, but also your backyard Manhattan Project! It is realistic, albeit at the level of a toy set, and it has all the key elements of fun that an inquisitive mind looks for.
Real radioactive particles, although of low-level radiation were used in the set. The list of things part of the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab included Alpha, Beta and Gamma particles, Uranium-bearing ore samples, and nuclear spheres necessary for making a molecular model. The contrast of science and fun is represented by the two books also enclosed in the carton- ‘Prospecting for Uranium’ and a comic titled, ‘Learn how Dagwood Split the Atom’. From being a sensation at the annual Toy Fair to a historic collectible, there is no denying how marvellous the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab is!