What’s Hot in Education–Heirloom Chemistry Set

We are always excited when we see our resellers being inventive for education. John Farrell Kuhns, owner of H.M.S. Beagle, has created a chemistry set you always wanted as a kid but either didn’t get it or you got stuck with some cheap plastic wannabe. Below is an excerpt from John on Kickstarter.com, debuting his invention to create this project, Heirloom Chemistry Set. Enjoy the excerpt below! 

Heirloom Chemistry Set

by John Farrell Kuhns

To tell our story for this Kickstarter project, we really have to start in Christmas of 1959. Like many young scientists of the time, I received a Gilbert Chemistry set. This chemistry set provided me hours of great fun and learning as well as laying the foundation for my future as a research chemist. As I became an adult I wanted to share these types of experiences with my daughter, my nephews and nieces, and friends. But soon I became aware real chemistry sets were no longer available. Without real chemistry sets and opportunities for students to learn and explore, where would our future chemists come from? So …. I set out on a mission. Nine years ago, my wife and I acted on that mission and opened our science store, H.M.S. Beagle to provide young scientists (and adults!) an opportunity to explore real science. At H.M.S. Beagle, a young scientist can buy chemicals, professional quality lab supplies and equipment to explore chemistry, physics, astronomy, and more!

H.M.S. Beagle Storefront

Our primary customers are families with children who have an interest in science and technology. We give the kids and their parents (and grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings and friends) a place where they can find things to help build and keep their interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but being an artist myself, we also included the “A” for “art”, especially as it relates to the other four areas, or “STEAM.” At The Beagle, we especially enjoy our kids’ science club for students form kindergarten to eighth grade. 

At our Saturday morning meetings, club members explore a full range of science topics, from paleontology and astronomy to chemistry and robotics. We have watched our science club members move on to higher studies and careers in science and engineering we believe, in part, because of their Science Club experiences. We also are the main sponsor for Make: KC the family oriented maker/hacker organization in the Kansas City. . We also hold monthly star parties April through October, and we have an adult science club, the Beagle Society. Our numerous workshops cover robotics, rockets, astronomy, chemistry, perfumery, precious metal recovery and refining, fossil preparation, field trips to dig dinosaurs, and so much more. Before opening H.M.S. Beagle, I built custom-made chemistry sets, combining chemistry with my woodworking skills. Ever since opening The Beagle, I have wanted to be able to offer these custom-made, heirloom sets. Every week we get calls and questions about real chemistry sets, and even the people who bought my early sets have asked if they are still available. I have been able to build a few, but not enough to satisfy the demand and meet our mission to provide the sets to a larger audience. 

So, enter the Kickstarter opportunity: I have designed a new set that can be cut out on a CNC router and quickly hand assembled and finished (complete with the shiny brass hardware and the exotic wood inlays of my original sets). In addition to building the beautiful, custom heirloom box for the chemistry set, I synthesize, purify, and/or formulate and package all of the chemicals. 

BenchMark (our brand) Chemicals

Please go here for more information and get your very own Heirloom Chemistry Set!