UK Caving

NEWS, NOTICES & THE FORUM => Caving Chat => Topic started by: langcliffe on January 13, 2020, 03:22:55 pm

Title: How times have changed...
Post by: langcliffe on January 13, 2020, 03:22:55 pm
As reported in the Manchester Evening News, 05 May 1948:

On the 2nd May 1948  a couple of young lads were exploring West Mine on Alderley Edge when one of them, 13-year old Leslie Hunt, fell down a 50' shaft and was killed.

At the subsequent inquest, the Coroner said: "Boys will still search for adventures even in these days. I think that it's a very good and proper thing that we still have adventurous types in the rising generation, and anything that makes for a free and open life I am in favour of."
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: paul on January 13, 2020, 05:25:24 pm
Another example after the death of Neil Moss in Peak Cavern in 1959,

Quote
"For the young man who died in Peak Cavern, there must be mourning,
but there can be a sense of pride in him too. Those who will risk
danger, whether in caves, on mountains or at sea must sometimes have to
pay the full price they have pledged. It could not be otherwise.

The adventurous cannot guard against all risks without reducing
adventure to make-believe. The death that came in the darkness at
Peak cavern is pitiful, but it is good that there are those who
for youth or adventure or a cause are willing to risk such an
end. It is in this that the honour of being Human exists."

"Manchester Guardian" 25th March 1959
Probably written by Patrick Monkhouse
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: langcliffe on January 13, 2020, 06:19:40 pm
Another example after the death of Neil Moss in Peak Cavern in 1959,

Quote
"For the young man who died in Peak Cavern, there must be mourning,
but there can be a sense of pride in him too. Those who will risk
danger, whether in caves, on mountains or at sea must sometimes have to
pay the full price they have pledged. It could not be otherwise.

The adventurous cannot guard against all risks without reducing
adventure to make-believe. The death that came in the darkness at
Peak cavern is pitiful, but it is good that there are those who
for youth or adventure or a cause are willing to risk such an
end. It is in this that the honour of being Human exists."

"Manchester Guardian" 25th March 1959
Probably written by Patrick Monkhouse

The Coroner also reflected those views:

(https://www.braemoor.co.uk/temp/moss.jpg)
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: grahams on January 13, 2020, 06:30:54 pm
It was a time when the Boy's Own Annual used to read like the Anarchist Cookbook.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 14, 2020, 08:45:25 am
It was a time when the Boy's Own Annual used to read like the Anarchist Cookbook.

You could buy all kinds of things over the counter in Boots, all you had to do was sign the poisons register. I remember buying bottles of hydrochloric acid when I was about twelve years old.

Sodium chlorate was readily available in 7lb tins, I used to buy mine from "Smiths Corn Stores" which was a garden supplies and pet shop.

 
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Jenny P on January 14, 2020, 07:16:41 pm
It was a time when the Boy's Own Annual used to read like the Anarchist Cookbook.

You could buy all kinds of things over the counter in Boots, all you had to do was sign the poisons register. I remember buying bottles of hydrochloric acid when I was about twelve years old.

Sodium chlorate was readily available in 7lb tins, I used to buy mine from "Smiths Corn Stores" which was a garden supplies and pet shop.

Reminds me that we used to buy carbide (now classed as an explosive apparently) as 7 lb. tins of "Bird Scarer" from agricultural stores in Derby.  Wonder if you can still do that?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: mikem on January 14, 2020, 07:56:37 pm
Can still get it delivered: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Calcium-Carbide-caving-acetylene-production/dp/B00BW9LLI8
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Cap'n Chris on January 14, 2020, 08:55:58 pm
Can still get it delivered: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Calcium-Carbide-caving-acetylene-production/dp/B00BW9LLI8

Does it get delivered by horse and cart, or something suitably of its era?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: 2xw on January 14, 2020, 10:32:30 pm
£30 a kilogram. So I know nothing of carbide, how much lamp time does that give you?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: nickwilliams on January 14, 2020, 11:58:21 pm
A kilo would give you upwards of 48 hours continuous light.

18 of us went to Belize for 3 months in 1988. We shipped 200kg of carbide (among several tons of other gear, food and two LandRovers). There was still around 30kg of carbide left at the end of the expedition.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: mikem on January 15, 2020, 10:32:31 am
I guess the postage is so much as it's not being delivered by Royal Mail...
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Subpopulus Hibernia on January 15, 2020, 01:02:21 pm
I remember buying bottles of hydrochloric acid when I was about twelve years old.

Might I ask why a twelve year old boy needed to buy several bottles of hydrochloric acid?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Subpopulus Hibernia on January 15, 2020, 01:03:14 pm
Reminds me that we used to buy carbide (now classed as an explosive apparently) as 7 lb. tins of "Bird Scarer" from agricultural stores in Derby.  Wonder if you can still do that?

How was cabride used to scare birds?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: mikem on January 15, 2020, 01:22:29 pm
How was cabride used to scare birds?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dkF0YFk20I
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Jenny P on January 15, 2020, 01:34:40 pm
"Bird Scarers" were a contraption used by farmers which had a metal container of carbide and a drip feed of water onto the carbide plus some kind of mechanism which made a spark at regular intervals - I think it would be every few minutes but you could change the setting yourself.  The spark ignited the acetylene, which went off with a loud bang and scared the birds off.  See the fascinating U-Tube video just posted by Mikem - many thanks for that - I'd never actually seen one in action before.

I never even actually saw one in an agricultural merchants (not that I frequented these other than to buy the tins of carbide).  Since I was buying carbide from agricultural merchants as late as the 1990s I assumed these Bird Scarers must still have been in use up to that time.  The video sounds as if something similar but powered by propane is still around now.

Incidentally, you got about 3 hours light from one of the old helmet-mounted small "stinkies" before you had to swap to a new fill of carbide.  We used to buy spare lamp bases with a screw lid and put a full charge in the spare with the lid on tight so it kept dry.  When you swapped, you simply changed the base of the lamp and re-lit it and screwed the lid onto the base with the used carbide so you didn't have to dump it or tip it out in a cave.  So a full carbide and 2 spare bases would get you 9 hours of light - better than most electric lamps at that time.

I stopped buying carbide after about 1990 because I switched to using electric lights when the batteries became more reliable.  Prior to the modern electric lights we all bought ex-Coal Board lamps - normally when a pit closed but occasionally they would acquire a new batch of lamps and sell off the old ones cheaply.  Living in Derbyshire with coalfields around people kept an eye out for these sales and would buy up a complete "lamp shop" (with all its charging racks if you were lucky) and could then sell on the surplus to other cavers.  So we had a never ending supply of relatively cheap lead-acid or NiCad lamps but many of them were dodgy and wouldn't hold a charge; plus the NiCads, in particular, were prone to leaking and some cavers suffered quite bad chemical burns through this.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: yrammy on January 15, 2020, 02:04:04 pm
Jenny - I remember Buster getting a horrible burn from a NiCad. We were underground (cant remember where) and he suddenly shouted out and took of his belt and battery . The battery was fizzing and popping . Very nasty. 
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: royfellows on January 15, 2020, 04:02:14 pm
I started with Oldham miners lamps from Caving Supplies, late 1980s. Regardless of what came out as a newer battery design I found that the best was the T2. This I believe had different design of cells, it was certainly slightly heavier than the T3. I used the higher amperage halogen bulbs that CS used to sell. I tapped the vent holes and fitted screws with rubber tap washers and used to carry a screw driver on long trips to vent my cells. It was quite a good light for time.

My Scorpion X16 is over 9000 lumens running off a high discharge helmet battery.

I wont even start on cameras or the car.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 16, 2020, 08:43:57 am
I remember buying bottles of hydrochloric acid when I was about twelve years old.

Might I ask why a twelve year old boy needed to buy several bottles of hydrochloric acid?

For chemistry experiments of course. In those days chemistry sets were often given as Christmas and Birthday presents and once you had used up the supplied reagents it was natural to want to save money by buying the most interesting substances in bulk.

A few years later I was buying KOH over the counter at Boots to refresh the electrolyte in NIFE cells.

https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/w/images/Lotts_Chemistry_(MM_1963-10).jpg (https://www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk/w/images/Lotts_Chemistry_(MM_1963-10).jpg)

.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Fulk on January 16, 2020, 08:47:09 am
I can remember buying as a kid sulphur, potassium nitrate and powdered charcoal . . . the ingredients of gunpowder.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 16, 2020, 09:03:06 am
I can remember buying as a kid sulphur, potassium nitrate and powdered charcoal . . . the ingredients of gunpowder.

You did not even need to sign the poisons register when buying sulphur. "Flowers of Sulphur" was the element in powder form sold in half pound cardboard boxes very cheaply, it was supposed to be a remedy for some sort of digestive disorder!

We made our own charcoal, very inefficiently. (Barbeque charcoal not being available then.)

Potassium nitrate was a bit more difficult and even Boots would question why this was wanted - it was obviously to make explosives. I can remember wheeling a visiting elderly aunt into Boots to vouch for my spirit of scientific investigation. It was easier to get Sodium nitrate to fulfill the same function, and strontium nitrate was useful when making fireworks. Eventually Sodium chlorate became the oxidant of choice as it was so cheap and available with no questions asked.

.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Roger W on January 16, 2020, 09:19:23 am
Careful, folks!  Times have indeed changed, and Badlad will be getting a call from the anti-terrorism squad if we aren't careful!
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: alanwsg on January 16, 2020, 09:20:23 am
I remember buying metallic Sodium & Potassium at my local chemist.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: 2xw on January 16, 2020, 09:34:24 am
Granted you can't buy stuff in the chemist anymore, but most of the stuff you've mentioned can be bought on Amazon or other supplier. I'd rather be a kid now, the chemistry sets are less explosive (but you can still buy kids sets that come with HCl etc) but come with other options like nano particles, PEM fuel cells and accessible lasers. I can't wait til my sister has a kid so I can buy it all this stuff (and try it first!)
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Dave Tyson on January 16, 2020, 02:04:35 pm
I remember buying chemicals at Oakes & Eddon in Liverpool when I was about 14.. They sold little tubs (~1oz) of various chemicals to the general public and you could buy dilute (5%) sulphuric, hydrochloric and nitric acid. Later I discovered a place in London which sold a wider range of stuff in bigger quantities and was able to purchase sodium, red phosphorous, bromine, phenol, aniline and concentrated acids.  You would probably be locked up for what we used to make in the late sixties. I remember making picric acid and the satisfying bang it made when mixed with lead oxide and struck with a hammer. As others have noted sodium chlorate was the oxidant of choice for low energy explosives. I never managed to make TNT, without fuming sulphuric acid its hard to get the extra NO2 group to attach to di-nitrotoluene :-(  Friends made nitroglycerin, but I really wanted to make sure I kept my hands and face and so avoided emulating them. Still have 10 fingers lol.

Dave
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: royfellows on January 16, 2020, 03:42:10 pm
I made nitroglycerine in a test tube and poured a spot of it onto concrete from a height expecting it to go bang. It didn't. So I then struck the spot with a hammer.
It was an hour before my ears stopped ringing, but brought home the dangers.

I was sensible enough to keep the nitration cool, brown fuming and it went down the sink.

Got as far as a home made ammonium nitrate - nitro mix, but the home made dets from shotgun primers would not make it go off.
Packed it in at that point and found a fresh interest.
I had found a more exciting discovery, - girls.

Some other lads made pipe bombs from sodium chlorate, but I never got into that.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: grahams on January 16, 2020, 03:42:40 pm
In the old covered market in Bradford in the 60s you could buy 2 oz tubs of various nitrates including barium, strontium and potassium along with many other compounds. The stall had hundreds of these tubs which were appropriately colour coded with a bit of info about each compound.

Our local chemist used to sell nitric and sulphuric acids in 'bring your own' bottles and would reluctantly provide potassium nitrate 'safely' wrapped in a paper bag. When the supply of potassium nitrate ran out we discovered that reacting nitric acid with cream of tartar (potassium tartrate) would yield instant gunpowder when carefully dried. The pharmacist used to wonder why we were always buying iodine crystals and ammonia solution - obviously he hadn't read a Boys Own annual.

These days Amazon sells tree stump remover and flash cotton so all is not lost - if you're into that sort of thing.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: blackshiver on January 16, 2020, 05:44:36 pm
I was happily making rocket propellants in the shed back in the early 1970's and got to the point where I needed concentrated acids which (as a 14 year old) the local chemist would not sell to me.

I used to help the chemistry teacher at school set up experiments over lunchtime, so I asked if it would be possible to............

After school that day I was called to his office and thought "here we go" the heads going to be there and its going to be painful.

I can see it in my minds eye even now. Opened the door, walked up to his big oak desk, sir takes his reading glasses off pushes a box full of sawdust towards me and there they were. Half a pint each of conc Nitric, Hydrochloric, Sulphuric and conc Ammonia all nicely fuming through the (loose) glass stoppers.

I did say thanks! and then put the box on the handlebars of my bike and cycled home (one handed) to the Little Green Shed at the bottom of the garden.

How times have changed.

Postcript, about a year later "Sir" also took me to see "somebody" to explain what I was doing in The Shed. I didn't know at the time but this was the head of R+D for ICI who immediately offered me a  job working for him as soon as I left school (I was sixteen).

I have a lifetime of well paid and interesting chemistry to thank "Sir" for and met him in a cafe a couple of years back - he also said "how times have changed".
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: pwhole on January 16, 2020, 06:08:18 pm
I once accidentally dropped a one-quart bottle of formaldehyde out of my cheap rucksack in the local hippy healthfood store. The floor was simple rustic wooden floorboards and the bottle landed on the corner of the base and bounced - whereupon I caught it, and swiftly put it back in my rucksack before leaving rather quickly. I didn't go back for years.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: nickwilliams on January 16, 2020, 06:17:55 pm
My mate and I made nitrogen tri-iodide when we should have been doing something else in an O-level chemistry class one day. We managed to drop some on the floor and got a mighty bollocking from the chemistry master when he trod on it. The effect of the bollocking was somewhat diminished by the same teacher admitting to one of our parents in a parents evening a couple of weeks later that he was actually quite impressed since he'd never been able to get it to go off whenever he had tried to make it.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 18, 2020, 10:28:30 am
You would probably be locked up for what we used to make in the late sixties. I remember making picric acid and the satisfying bang it made when mixed with lead oxide and struck with a hammer. ...

Dave

Picric acid! I am impressed. We made what we called guncotton (nitrocellulose), but as we did not have access to concentrated nitric acid the process was only partial and the product was of more use as a fast fuse than an explosive.

.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 18, 2020, 10:40:44 am
....

Got as far as a home made ammonium nitrate - nitro mix, but the home made dets from shotgun primers would not make it go off.



It is not long since commercial ammonium nitrate was freely and cheaply available. I suppose it would be easy to make ANFO by dissolving it in fuel oil to make a handy liquid explosive, widely used in the mining industry as a pattern of holes can be filled from a tanker. The problem controlling the availability of ammonium nitrate is that it is so useful as a fertiliser, with nitrogen available in two forms.

"Packed it in at that point and found a fresh interest. I had found a more exciting discovery, - girls."  Yes girls are an antidote to many interesting activities!
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: cavemanmike on January 18, 2020, 06:46:30 pm
Quote from: Graigwen link=topic

[/quote
Yes girls are an antidote to many interesting activities!

But just as explosive
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Robert Scott on January 18, 2020, 06:56:26 pm
In the old covered market in Bradford in the 60s you could buy 2 oz tubs of various nitrates including barium, strontium and potassium along with many other compounds. The stall had hundreds of these tubs which were appropriately colour coded with a bit of info about each compound.

Our local chemist used to sell nitric and sulphuric acids in 'bring your own' bottles and would reluctantly provide potassium nitrate 'safely' wrapped in a paper bag. When the supply of potassium nitrate ran out we discovered that reacting nitric acid with cream of tartar (potassium tartrate) would yield instant gunpowder when carefully dried. The pharmacist used to wonder why we were always buying iodine crystals and ammonia solution - obviously he hadn't read a Boys Own annual.

These days Amazon sells tree stump remover and flash cotton so all is not lost - if you're into that sort of thing.
Obviously, the regulations in Bradford were somewhat lax in the ‘60s. I lived in Heaton then. One day Ashwell Road was swarming with police plus an army truck. We were told that a lad from school but a year or two above us, Stephen Mason, had made some TNT. Whatever it was, it was taken to the allotments behind his home to be detonated by the Bomb Disposal men.
A big bang was heard.
Not sure how the allotment people with greenhouses felt about that.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 18, 2020, 07:50:06 pm
It is a surprise really that we have got so far into this thread without mentioning a certain well known author of books on Welsh metal mines (Roy knows who I mean) who blew up the  boys urinals at his school with carbide. When in 1969 he blew himself up at, I think, Hafan Mine, he was charged with some explosive offense. The great and good of the university town where he attended school came out in droves as defence witnesses. Academics, clergymen, senior council officers and others all attested to his spirit of scientific enquiry and good intentions. He escaped custody and in the light of his subsequent career their evidence was well justified.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: andybrooks on January 18, 2020, 10:37:53 pm
In school, those with an interest in chemistry were encouraged to pursue projects.  While I chose fluorescein and rhodamine, someone I know very well decided to make TNT.  Some years later, his product was still in the lab, under lock and key.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Scrufflepeck on January 19, 2020, 09:19:31 am
Sodium chlorate and sugar. When a teenager I used it to make bombs with empty aerosols and blast lead balls deep into logs.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Ian Ball on January 19, 2020, 10:52:24 am
I was always a little wary of the radiation warning signs on the physics lab store room door.  Although there were many serious things in there, apparently a rock from a beach in Cornwall was the most radioactive.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Roger W on January 19, 2020, 04:57:42 pm
I was always a little wary of the radiation warning signs on the physics lab store room door.  Although there were many serious things in there, apparently a rock from a beach in Cornwall was the most radioactive.

Did you have a luminous dial on your  wristwatch?  My old Rotary was the most radioactive thing we could find in the lab when we were doing radioactivity experiments at uni.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Wren on January 19, 2020, 06:08:26 pm
Too many years ago, my mate and I used to help out in the school labs.  As such, we were asked to provide a flash and bang for the school production of Hansel and Gretal.  This we duly did and everthing worked fine until the last night.  Having a considerable excess of flash powder we thought that a bit extra would provide a suitable finale. Too good! We set the stage curtains on fire!  A good time was had by all?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: kay on January 19, 2020, 09:30:21 pm
My mind is boggling. I used my chemistry kit to explore all the lovely colour changes. I had no idea all the boys were using theirs as a jumping off point for making explosives, Am I odd or is this a differences between the sexes?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Pegasus on January 19, 2020, 09:53:32 pm
My mind is boggling. I used my chemistry kit to explore all the lovely colour changes. I had no idea all the boys were using theirs as a jumping off point for making explosives, Am I odd or is this a differences between the sexes?

I used mine to make invisible ink which I sold at school, never crossed my mind to make anything that might explode  :o
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: JasonC on January 19, 2020, 11:12:56 pm
My mind is boggling. I used my chemistry kit to explore all the lovely colour changes. I had no idea all the boys were using theirs as a jumping off point for making explosives, Am I odd or is this a differences between the sexes?

Kay, I think you've put your finger on key sexual differentiator that has so far eluded neuroscientists - modern notions of gender fluidity notwithstanding - boys want to make a noise, girls want to control the decor!   :lol:
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: grahams on January 20, 2020, 08:55:34 am
We weren't always blowing things up. We used to get on the train in Nelson for the 15 min ride to Skipton. Can't do that now as they stupidly chopped an 11 mile stretch out of one of the main rail routes across the Pennines. The big attraction was the diving boards in Skipton baths, now removed because somebody somewhere did a belly flop and got a sore chest. Then it was off to Waterfall's bookshop to spend half an hour reading the Craven Pothole Club's Records (the Bumper Annuals of New Cave Explorations). Waterfall's is now a cluttered and unpleasant WH Smiths. A cup of tea at the railway station and a read of their great selection of smutty pulp fiction rounded the day off nicely.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Mike Hopley on January 20, 2020, 10:34:41 am
Kay, I think you've put your finger on key sexual differentiator that has so far eluded neuroscientists - modern notions of gender fluidity notwithstanding - boys want to make a noise, girls want to control the decor!

I feel excluded by your post. :chair:

I want to make an enormous bang, but I also want it to be pink and sparkly.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: grahams on January 20, 2020, 11:29:05 am
Kay, I think you've put your finger on key sexual differentiator that has so far eluded neuroscientists - modern notions of gender fluidity notwithstanding - boys want to make a noise, girls want to control the decor!

I feel excluded by your post. :chair:

I want to make an enormous bang, but I also want it to be pink and sparkly.

Add some strontium nitrate and a bit of magnesium powder to the mix - should do the trick.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: tony from suffolk on January 20, 2020, 01:49:05 pm
My mind is boggling. I used my chemistry kit to explore all the lovely colour changes. I had no idea all the boys were using theirs as a jumping off point for making explosives, Am I odd or is this a differences between the sexes?
A key difference - when a female says “Here, sniff this!” You know it's going to smell nice.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: kay on January 20, 2020, 04:15:58 pm

I want to make an enormous bang, but I also want it to be pink and sparkly.

Please don't get me started. It's bad enough when tool manufacturers think the way to expand into a female market is to paint the handles pink. No, we'd just like tools that balance well in the normally smaller female hand. We don't care what colour it is (unless it's for outdoor use in which case we'd like it to show up well against grass/dead leaves).

Quote
unless she's teaching you to recognise hedge woundwort ....
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: aricooperdavis on January 20, 2020, 04:43:18 pm
I never had a proper chemistry set, but I do remember electroplating a penny with zinc then putting it in a burner flame and turning it gold. I saw the same demonstration at a school open day recently and it's still a firm favourite - the transformation as the metal alloys to brass is like some alchemical magic, super satisfying, and you can take away the "gold" coin you've made  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: royfellows on January 20, 2020, 04:52:28 pm
You have just restored my faith in modern education!
 :lol:
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Jenny P on January 20, 2020, 07:10:08 pm

Please don't get me started. It's bad enough when tool manufacturers think the way to expand into a female market is to paint the handles pink. No, we'd just like tools that balance well in the normally smaller female hand. We don't care what colour it is (unless it's for outdoor use in which case we'd like it to show up well against grass/dead leaves).

YES !!!
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: maxb727 on January 20, 2020, 07:16:32 pm
I don’t mind what colour things are but the more “female” coloured items are less like to be appropriated by the other half which is useful


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 20, 2020, 11:04:51 pm
When I posted a link earlier in this thread to an advert for Lotts Chemistry sets, I was not surprised that it included the wording "For older boys". I was surprised that the cartoon like illustration contained what was clearly a girl.

I must admit that in the 50s and 60s I did not know any girl who played with a chemistry set, although that is probably distorted by the small number of girls I shared leisure activitiees with. Until the mid 60s there was a great deal of pressure on children to conform with stereotypes and any girl who strayed into male areas of interest was likely to be labelled a tomboy.

.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Tseralo on January 20, 2020, 11:47:49 pm
I do wonder how any of you lot survived the 60s?!
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Tripod on January 21, 2020, 07:23:59 am
I have often thought about the 60s (my generation) survival rate. Of course some did not survive intact, one local lad lost his arm to Sodium Chlorate and Sugar and some did not survive at all. Towards the end of school years there were motorbikes and then cars. Caving for me started in my teens with school friends. There were so many things to go wrong. Girls came as a possibly soft but not entirely safe option.   
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: kay on January 21, 2020, 09:35:50 am

I must admit that in the 50s and 60s I did not know any girl who played with a chemistry set, although that is probably distorted by the small number of girls I shared leisure activities with. Until the mid 60s there was a great deal of pressure on children to conform with stereotypes and any girl who strayed into male areas of interest was likely to be labelled a tomboy.

.

Growing up in the 50s/60s I had a toy garage, a train set, a chemistry set and a kit with various lenses and construction bits to make things like microscopes and slide projectors. Though the chemistry set box had an illustration of a small boy doing an experiment watched by his admiring sister :-(

My best friend was similarly equipped, I don't know how much that was my influence, though.

Does anyone remember Bayco? Construction kit for buildings which had panels of "brickwork" kept in place by thin steel rods, like cocktail sticks but up to twice the length and more lethal. Would not be allowed in toys nowadays, nor would the tin cars and lorries with their sharp edges, nor a chemistry set without eye protection and with a neat little meths burner.

Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Tripod on January 21, 2020, 10:43:36 am
Despite my parents not being at all well off I managed to build up a complete set of Bayco. These items come up for sale quite regularly now in general/collectors auctions.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Bob Smith on January 21, 2020, 12:50:00 pm
I don’t mind what colour things are but the more “female” coloured items are less like to be appropriated by the other half which is useful


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I'm not sure anyone else would want to appropriate these...

(http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/3003/2891/1600/women5.jpg)
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: PeteHall on January 21, 2020, 02:40:46 pm
I do wonder how any of you lot survived the 60s?!
One of my dads school mates was killed when a "chemistry experiment" went off unexpectedly.
I'm sure he wouldn't have been the only one...
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Graigwen on January 21, 2020, 11:30:54 pm
I had a Bayko set. Not a big one, but enough windows to build from the little booklet of plans a little TB sanitorum with all windows along one side to let fresh air in.

They were indeed different times.

.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: Fulk on January 22, 2020, 09:04:05 am
Hmmm . . . I've just seen on e-bay that someone wants £90 for a Bayko No. 1 set – and I had a number 4. I wonder what that would fetch?
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: kay on January 22, 2020, 09:58:26 am
Hmmm . . . I've just seen on e-bay that someone wants £90 for a Bayko No. 1 set – and I had a number 4. I wonder what that would fetch?

I don't think I had a 4, but we had a shop which sold Bayko bits separately - had a big counter full of compartments with all the different pieces, like the best Bayco set you could imagine, and I can well remember the excitement of spending pocket money in there.

The frustration was that, no matter how many new pieces you bought, you always ran out of something just short of completion. I believe the same law applies to Meccano and Lego too. Even to Duplo and Playmobil - which brings back a memory from new parenthood, of constructing a 6ft high "DNA" model from duplo.
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: mch on January 22, 2020, 11:20:48 am
I had a Bayko building set, can't remember which number it was. I seem to recall that you could buy a set to upgrade to the next level.

On the health & safety issue, as a child I had many toy soldiers made of lead. When a few had broken I would place them in an old pan with a long handle and melt them over the open coal fire. I then poured the molten lead into the inner part of an Englands Glory matchbox (soaked in water so that it didn't immediately go up in flames) and when it cooled I had a small perfectly formed lead ingot. Needless to say I did this when my parents were not around!
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: pwhole on January 22, 2020, 11:45:23 am
There were a few other interesting outcomes of boys (and girls) with chemistry sets in the 1960s, and these three definitely survived  :smartass:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsvElED0-O0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsvElED0-O0)
Title: Re: How times have changed...
Post by: AR on January 22, 2020, 11:47:46 am
I used to  melt bits of lead too, though I used the spirit lamp from my chemistry set and the lid of a tin of humbrol and was doing it in my bedroom! I also got given a baccy tin containing mercury by my older sister's boyfriend (it had apparently come out of a broken machine at work!) and I used to let that flow from hand to hand - some might say doing things like that in my teens explains a lot about me now.....