Display of samples of radioactive and luminescent substances

Description of display of samples of radioactive and luminescent substances, Object ID 1994.0125.20
A framed display panel to illustrate the appearance of ores and compounds of uranium and thorium and phosphorescent media used for luminous paint. At the top of the panel is a printed heading: "Hammer RADIOACTIVITY and LUMINESCENCE Demonstrator", and in the upper right corner, "Hammer Laboratories, / Denver, Colorado"
(One of the accompanying] photographs provided by donor, Prof. Herbert Clark, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.)
The display consists of a cardboard panel, 8 ¾” wide x 4 ¼” high, carrying nine 1” squares of various radioactive and luminescent minerals with names and 50-word printed texts, plus one small (1/4” diam. spot of “Radium Luminous Material” and one spinthariscope-like 3/8” diam. well with a pin protruding horizontally into it. The pin is alleged to carry radium sulfate on its head. The panel is mounted under glass in a crude ¾”wooden frame, painted dark green, held in place by surely acidic cardboard and eight miscellaneous brads and nails in the back of the frame. The panel is slightly browned all over.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1920s
Hammer Laboratories
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
wood (overall material)
various radioactive and luminescent minerals (overall material)
cardboard (overall material)
panel: 10.5 cm x 22.5 cm; 4 1/8 in x 8 27/32 in
wooden frame: 2 cm; 25/32 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Department of Chemistry
Science & Scientific Instruments
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Modern Physics
Science & Mathematics
Modern Physics
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Minor point: this is probably from the 1940s rather the 1920s. In the 20s, the business was known as the Hammer Radium Company and they sold what might be called radioactive quack cures.. It wasn't until the 40s that the Hammer Laboratories made educational items like this. To the best of my knowledge anyway.

Add a comment about this object