Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chemistry sets...back?

Dangerous Book for Boys

A new British book and related science kits are on the market and proving to be very popular. Will it work? Well, it can't mirror the old chemistry sets of A. C. Gilbert or Porter. Furthermore, one wonders if this isn't a nostalgia trip for dad and it is undermining the gender issue. Back in my father's day there was The Boy Mechanic.

The Boy Mechanic Volume 1

The Boy Mechanic Volume 2

The Boy Mechanic Volume 3
"Chemistry sets could become best-selling toys"

Chemistry sets inspired by the best-selling Dangerous Book for Boys are expected to become one of the hits of the year with children, as the toy industry goes "back to basics" to fight the recession.


Harry Wallop

January 28th, 2009

A British company has signed a deal with authors Conn and Hal Iggulden to produce a selection of science kits, costing £4.99, and packaged within boxes that look like the book.

The book, which sold more than half a million copies, tried to inject a few more scrapes, a bit more mud and explosions into the spare time of young boys. The science kits allow young children to make their own battery, or manufacture a rubber ball, or test out gravity, all with the help of some cheap materials and simple instructions.

The battery kit, for instance, contains some tin foil, a piece of wire, some copper coins and vinegar and instructions.

They were just one example of the toy industry moving away from high-tech robots and battery-operated gizmos towards more traditional and nostalgic games. Industry figures said the collapse of Woolworths, the country's third biggest toy retailer, has shaken the market, forcing toy makers to "go back to basics" after toy sales fell by 2 per cent last year. The increasing success of video games has also caused problems for some toy manufacturers.

The kits were unveiled at Wednesday's Toy Fair in London, which showcases the gadgets, toys and games that will be on the shelves later this year.

Role playing kitchens for toddlers, a new Playmobil range and a Sylvanian Families Caravan were all highlighted as some of the top new toys for 2009 by the British Toy & Hobby Association, which organises the fair. One of the likely stars is also expected to be Lego's innovative move into the board game market with its range of construct-your-own board games.

Bob Paton, the product manager of Interplay, the Buckinghamshire-based company, which has signed the license deal with the Iggulden brothers, said: "These science kits will be wonderful for boys to bond with their fathers."

"There is a real feel-good factor about them and a world away from video games. It is our job to distract children away from video games into real toys."

The Dangerous Book for Boys


Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden

ISBN-10: 0061243582
ISBN-13: 978-0061243585

A. C. Gilbert "U-238 Atomic Energy Lab"

The home chemist...long gone

Mr. Wizard...missed mentor

Mr. Wizard--more

New Book..."Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments..."

Some fun...some science toys

"Watch Mr. Wizard"--1954 episode

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