We now live in an age where health and safety laws are often seen as having become so all-pervading that they are totally oppressive. But wind back the years and you will soon find out what life was like when nobody gave two hoots for such niceties as product safety and non-toxic ingredients. Take a trip down memory lane and see some of the ludicrously dangerous things that our close ancestors considered perfectly okay.
20. Keep the kids radioactive
Yes, this was a real thing: an atomic energy kit for children that included small amounts of uranium ore. The A.C. Gilbert Company’s U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was launched to an unsuspecting public in 1950 and was priced at $49.50. It’s worth remembering that this was a princely sum for a child’s toy back then, but can you put a price on fun like this? One suggested game was to use the Geiger counter supplied to hunt for previously hidden radioactive material, samples of which were also generously included in the kit. Astonishing.
19. Things went better with coke
To be fair, these tasty cocaine toothache drops were meant for sufferers of all ages. But as can plainly be seen in this subtle 1885 advertisement, the makers definitely included children as potential users. And while the cocaine no doubt did wonders for toothache, it may also have turned the patient into a raddled drug fiend if they took enough of the stuff. Which would have been easy enough to do given that these moreish cocaine drops cost a mere 15 cents a unit.