A.C. Gilbert, inventor of the dubious Gilbert Glass Blowing Set and the perennially popular Erector set, released in 1951 what he hoped would be another big hit: the U-238 Atomic Energy Lab.
The briefcase-size set included a Geiger counter (used to measure radiation), an electroscope and three different types of uranium ore. Budding atomic scientists could follow instructions in the included booklets, "Prospecting for Uranium" and the "Gilbert Atomic Energy Manual." The latter had a form at the back to request uranium ore refills.
Alas, this radioactive play set was only available for one year. The $50 price tag was given as the explanation for its demise, but we think a few adults also had second thoughts about letting their kids play with radioactive materials [source: Oak Ridge Associated Universities].