Here is a question for our readers of a certain age, say born before 1950.
Gilbert was the 1908 Olympic Pole Vault Champ who went on to found the A.C. Gilbert company which probably sold your dads a chemistry set, an American Flyer train set, an Atomic Energy set, or most likely an Erector set. All you geniuses who became engineers, chemists, or nuclear physicists, or train brakemen, may have an olympic champion to thank for pigeon holing you into your careers. None of this worked on me except perhaps in a negative way. I had the Erector set, a chemistry set, and maybe even the Atomic Energy set and I became a mediator. How I found out about this story is almost as interesting. My colleague Roy Mason just bought me a subscription to the newspaper 'Funny Times' and in perusing my first copy in the chapter News of the Weird, I found the following:
"For a brief period in 1951 and 1952 , an educational kit called the Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab, was for sale in the US even though i came with testable sample of four types of uranium ore and three different radiation sources (alpha, beta, gamma) . A surviving copy of the kit has been on display recently at the Ulster Museum in Belfast , Northern Ireland, but the radioactive materials had to be removed before the kit cold be shipped to Belfast. (The kit had failed to sell well; kids apparently prefered the company's erector set). So , Roy, your kindness was repaid in spades with this new posting.
Further below is an article I found in the Old Yale website talking about Gilbert's storied past. I think the only thing we made with the chemistry set were stink bombs and maybe a little gunpowder. Saw a few titrations go from blue to red or visa versa. I do remember peering into the spinthariscope in the atomic energy lab and seeing flashes of radiation as I lay in bed at night.
Gave me other things to ponder besides girls.
The spinthariscope was invented by William Crookes in 1903. While observing the apparently uniform fluorescence on a zinc sulfide screen created by the radioactive emissions (mostly alpha radiation) of a sample of radium bromide, he spilled some of the sample, and, owing to its extreme rarity and cost, he was eager to find and recover it.Upon inspecting the zinc sulfide screen under a microscope, he noticed separate flashes of light created by individual alpha particle collisions with the screen. Crookes took his discovery a step further and invented a device specifically intended to view these scintillations. It consisted of a small screen coated with zinc sulfide affixed to the end of a tube, with a tiny amount of radium salt suspended a short distance from the screen and a lens on the other end of the tube for viewing the screen. Crookes named his device from Greek σπινθήρ (spinth´ēr) "spark".
all round stud
Sports Reference wrote the following account of the event.
Five competitors broke the Olympic record, and two more equalled the former
record. The Americans, Alfred "A. C." Gilbert and Ed Cook shared first place at
12-2 (3.71) with Archibald and Söderström tieing with Charles Jacobs (USA) for
third. The closing stages of thecompetition were considerably delayed as they coincided
with the dramatic happenings at the finish of the marathon. Because of the time factor, the
officials decided against holding jump-offs for first and third places and, in an unusual decision
, two gold and three bronze medals were awarded.
For the last time in Olympic competition, the "climbing" technique was permitted
although it remained legal in England until 1920. Among their numerous protests,
the Americans argued about the fact that there was no pit or hole in which to plant
the pole and also that there was no sandpit or bales of straw to break the
competitors falls. This protest was understandable as the organizers were
definitely behind the times in these matters as these facilities had been provided
at the two previous Olympic Games.
Edward Cook was a fine all-around jumper and hurdler. He won the IC4A long
jump in 1908 and 1909, the AAU pole vault in 1907 and tied for first in the AAU
pole vault in 1911. Gilbert spread his athletic talents even farther, winning the
1905 Yale gymnastics championship and was intercollegiate wrestling champion
in 1906. Gilbert earned an M.D. degree from Yale but never practiced medicine. He
later made a fortune as president of the toy company that bore his name and
manufactured Erector Sets, American Flyer electric trains, and other popular
Our friend Phil Scott knows more about Ed Cook and will probably fill us in with
more detail after he sees this post. Cook coached for a long time in Oakwood,
Ohio, a Dayton suburb aswell as spending part of his life in Chillocothe , Ohio,
where farmed and was a banker. His gold medal was stolen in a burglarly
from his home in Oakwood. This contradicts the report in the Yale site
that states Cook refused to accept the medal.
P.S. Phil says to add a 22' 11" broad jump to the performances on one day for Mr. Cook
in his comments below.