Glass bottle from a Victorian chemistry set containing a white chemical substance

- Image ID: D8FBAK
Tony Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: D8FBAK
Chemistry sets were educational toys allowing the user (typically a bored teenager) to perform simple chemistry experiments. In the United Kingdom, Thomas Salter Science produced a series of seven chemistry sets in the 1970s. mainstays in these sets were vials of chemicals, exotic labels, test tubes and cork stoppers, an instruction manual, litmus paper, safety goggles and a burner of some description. Amateur chemistry or home chemistry is the pursuit of chemistry as a private hobby. It should not be confused with clandestine chemistry, which involves the illicit production of controlled drugs. Throughout much of the 20th century, amateur chemistry was an unexceptional hobby, with high-quality chemistry sets readily available, and laboratory suppliers freely selling to hobbyists. For example, Linus Pauling had no difficulty in procuring potassium cyanide at the age of eleven. However, due to increasing concerns about terrorism, drugs and safety, suppliers became increasingly reluctant to sell to amateurs, and chemistry sets were steadily toned down.
Location: United Kingdom