Decent chemistry sets. Take heart, people, for one or two of us are thinking about collating and marketing one.

David Davi s

The chemistry set, the proper one which before World War 2, which you either assembled yourself from your hardware store plus the local pharmacists, or which (after the war) you could buy quite easily, which you could still add to, and with which you could burn things, blow stuff up excitingly and also learn chemistry, has disappeared.

“Health and Safety”, a socialist (which is to say, Nazi) concept, plus (in my view) a deliberate State Attempt to deny technical knowledge to “the masses”, which of course socialists and other such Nazis have always regarded as dangerous people – to be controlled, has done for all the useful sets.

A few days ago I posted a wish list of some of the right chemicals which ought to be included. I would welcome comments from interested readers. here is again;

No particular order of importance:-

Phosphoric acid, flakes.

A “Woods metal” ingot (Bi, Sn, Cd, Pb alloy, melts at 55C)

Potassium permanganate, solid.

Iron oxide powder 

Calcium carbide (so cheap once, you couldn’t giv it away.)

Potassium dichromate (or potassium chromate would do.)


Iodine crystals


Potassium iodide

Manganese (IV) dioxide

Sodium tetraborate

Nickel wire


Aluminium powder

Silver nitrate

Potassium or sodium nitrate

Mercury (II) Oxide

Aniline (cryptically referred to as “phenylamine” in the trans-planetarily-wierd and outlandish British A-level syllabus…did you know that they have to represent a benzene ring as a single hexagon with a circle inside it?)

Ammonium (V) vanadate or (VI) molybdate

Sulphur, flowers

Iron sulphide sticks

Magnesium metal, ribbon

Calcium metal in naphtha

Strontium nitrate

Bismuth, metal

Sodium nitrite

Starch powder

Iron (III) nitrate


A DECENT spirit burner, capable of running about 30 mins or more and with a big wick

Glass rods and tubes, for bending; capillary (1mm) and standard about 3mm bore

A good sharp cork-borer for same

Proper glass test tubes and corks/bungs to fit

Salicylic acid or benzoic acid crystals

Potassium bromide

Carbon charcoal powder (fine)

Glass wool

Of course, all the usual harmless gear such as Copper (II) sulphate, Copper (II) carbonate, Sodium bisulphate, potassium hydrogen tartrate, Magnesium sulphate (what was this for exactly except as a laxative?) Logwood chips, Sodium or Potassium carbonate, Litmus paper etc would be included.

I am not sure that any Western polity would allow us these days to sell you chlorates AND sulphur in the same set (as opposed to one or the other.) Or even Ammonium nitrate on its own. The “War on Terror” , which is of course the wrong war by definition since you can’t wage war against a tactic, but only against a logically-defined and ideologically-inimical enemy who has actual substance, has put paid to this combination.

It’s because your own “rulers” don’t trust you coz’ of what and who you are; but then that’s your problem, and not ours – for you were asleep and failed to not vote for them, while they were surreptitiously climbing the greasy pole of leftist politics in the West, for the past 40 years…

Still, I’d like to canvass the vies of readers on whether this enterprise might be viable.

8 responses to “Decent chemistry sets. Take heart, people, for one or two of us are thinking about collating and marketing one.

  1. Hi, Dave!

    I think it makes more sense to have the “Educational Chemistry Laboratory” kits assembled and drop-shipped from abroad. The reason is that Customs & Exise then have to deal with multitudes of separate packages addressed to individuals, amongst the multitude of packages that arrive daily, rather than some other gummint outfit having one or two people here to jump on and regulate, which could be a real bore.

    As well, it must be best to aim for a world-wide market, via (not, payment via PayPal, and spot ads placed precisely by Google.

    The product collators/drop-shippers could be anywhere “respectable”, and affordable.

    One can, of course, control a Webcentric business from anywhere, which is nice. Moving it around is easy, too. Market Research Consultancy trips (say) to (say) Madagascar or Taiwan or New Zealand become possible — desireable, even.

    Profits after transfer pricing can be reinvested in more advertizing to boost sales. All that good stuff… >:-}

    Do you have my phone number?

    Best Wishes,

    Tony (working from his Cybernet Elite II with Windoze 2000 Professional (ark!) while his 64-bit machine with Linux is being repaired and upgraded).

  2. Dave:

    Have a look at the facilities of:

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    This gives you good idea of what Small Machines Forum looks like in action.

    The Group Name (I’m a member) denotes intellectual warriors rather than gun-toting crazies… >:-} And there are guns… LOTS of guns… >:-}

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    Best Wishes,


  3. Many fun experiments to do at home don’t involve fancy chemicals. For example, with a red cabbage, blotting paper and kitchen utensils, you can make your own indicator paper as an alternative to Litmus paper.

    Incidentally, on your list of chemicals, I wouldn’t want any mercury compound due to their toxicity.

  4. I know about the red cabbage one. Obviously, any sensible collator would include instructions for doing all these easily available and quite harmless things.

    As to Mercury compounds:

    They are perfectly easy to deal with if handled sensibly, and there is no reason to exclude them in my opinion if we are trying to teach real science instead of sanitized British-GCSE-elf-n-safety-Nazi “science”, full of fear, warnings and terror of reality that it is.

    None of us from my generation ever came to any harm from handling baths of mercury metal with closed-end glass tubes in, so as for example to learn about barometers and how they operated. Moreover, i dread to tell you about the amount of the metal that was “liberated” from jars of the stuff by us boys, and often taken home loose in our pockets! We found that if it was dirty enough, most of it would survive inside the change-pocket in our school jackets, where we kept coins. The weft was fine enough to hold it. Not much was lost on the bus, or while cycling home, and we could tip it out onto a saucer when we got to our bedrooms.

    I still own about 700 grams of this haul, and I teach with it. Of course the container is screwed tight and I don’t let them handle it directly, but just regarding the surface of the stuff through the walls is awe-inspiring for them.

  5. Dave:

    I would seriously reccomend daily doses of selenium supplement to help the body get rid of toxic metal residues.

    I have a nice mercury barometer with thermometer in my hall. Alas, through repeated transport it has air bubbles in the column. Any ideas?



  6. Dear Dave, I agree 100% about the miserable little chemistry sets available today, and how much more fun they were before the ‘health and safety’ fascists and money-grubbing lawyers made any fun chemistry possible. Someone with a bit of entrepreneurial spirit should begin making such a set available from abroad as your correspondant above suggests. I’d certainly buy one for my 16-year old nephew. Chris

  7. And there was me thinking that ‘health and safety’ stupidity was a product of entities – both public and private – protecting their property; to stop them being sued.

    Thinking of it, it is – and not related to socialism in any way.

    Anyway this Trotskyist thanks you for the above list which I will try and partially use (provided the anti-terror cops don’t get me) to build a decent chemistry set.

  8. Yes, and a particular breed of ambulance chasing lawyers who now advertise on TV to get themselves millions in class actions with trivial payout to the proles. I think it started with microwaving small pets and sued manufacturers who did not specifically say not to. Other than hapless japanese fishermen when did you ever read of mercury poisoning.
    And it should be legal to buy an ounce try of nitrate. If I wanna blow orf the tip o’ me finger it shoiuld be my business. Actually it was sodium chlorate in a Clairol bottle with a Jetex fuse. Only lacerated my finger but it was very educational. Much more so than the science classes. I think most smart scientist these days spend their time making designer drugs. Inorganic chemistry seems boring by contrast. Maybe you should list an organic chemistry set and an online source for mice and monkeys.