Hard-core toy: this ring not only looks like an atomic bomb, but also really contains polonium.
Hard-core toy: this ring not only looks like an atomic bomb, but also really contains polonium.
The hard-core childhood of American children in the 1950s.

how hard can it be to be an American child in the 1950s? Cut out the cereal breakfast box and add 15 cents to buy an atomic bomb-shaped toy ring that contains real polonium as a source of radiation.

this toy was launched by cereal brand Kix and was only available from 1947 to the early 1950s. The selling point of the ring is that it can be seen glowing in the dark: opening the lid of the red part in the dark, you can see the alpha particles produced by polonium-210 hitting the tiny zinc sulfide screen in the ring. This experiment is quite instructive. Rutherford's classic scattering experiment uses a zinc sulfide screen to detect alpha particles.

Ring object:

the way you open the red tail:

anyway, it's too hard to give the child a source of radiation to play with. The penetration of α-rays produced by polonium-210 is so weak that it is not very dangerous when encapsulated in a ring, but if polonium is inhaled, ingested or entered through the wound, the internal exposure is still very frightening, no matter how you think about it.

looking at the Gizmodo report, it was mentioned that a person who had played at that time recalled that he even took the ring apart and observed it in the cloud room. It was really an amazing childhood experience.

there are still some people who hold this toy ring as a collection (as expected, hard-core uncle Theodore Gray has one), but because polonium-210 has a half-life of only about 138 days, so now the radioactive sources in the ring have decayed to nothing, and will no longer see the flash of zinc sulphide screen.

Source and picture source:

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