Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Nuclear Culture 2: Radioactive Brand Names

When radium was first discovered, the element was considered to be a health booster. Due to this, radium and other radioactive materials were and have been added to many products from the late nineteenth century up to today. These elements were believed to improve vitality, cure impotence, and lately have even been labeled 'eco-friendly environmental products.' Because of the health-giving connotations initially associated with radioactivity, the terms 'X-ray,' 'radium,' 'atomic' and even 'uranium' or 'plutonium' were added to brands that had no such additives.  Here are some products that had no radioactive ingredients.  The early ones come from the high period of unstable elements, when radioactivity was used as a brand name and selling point, promising vitality and energy.  More recent products cryptically refer to these elements' originally-assumed health-giving properties (either through use on sports equipment or with promises of invigoration); new products also use radioactive elements' names to indicate very intense, glow-in-the-dark colours.  Finally, in some cases, atomic names have been used ironically by anti-nuclear activists. Regardless, the way these brand names were used tell us something about the qualities we have ascribed to radioactivity.

X-Ray Soap (c. 1910).

"Takes off everything but the skin." Radium Hand Cleanser (c. 1910-1920).

Atomic Brand coffee maker, made Milan, Italy (1946).

Atomic Razor Blades (c. 1946-1950).

Organic Plutonium Soup (c. 2000s). Produced by anti-nuclear activist Ed Grothus (see here). Sold out of Grothus's store Black Hole Surplus, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA (see photo gallery).

Available today:

Uranium Energy Powder (Yellow cake flavour) (2010).

Plutonium Energy Powder (Pear flavour) (2010).

Radium Energy Powder (Raspberry Lemonade flavour) (2010).

Black Plutonium, it's the Bomb t-shirts (this one for toddlers, also available for children and adults) (2010-2011).

Toxic Waste Nuclear Sludge Blue Raspberry Chew Bar. This product, originating in Pakistan and marketed through the United States, was recalled in Canada because it contained concentrations of lead, hence somewhat living up to its name (2010-2011).

Uranium Glass Pink Copper Earrings (topaz glass not made with uranium, although the merchant shows the earrings glowing in black light) (2011).

"The best in etheogens this world has to offer." The Plutonium Level Salvia product above is called Sage Goddess Emerald Essence (2011).

The above product is advertised on a bizarre Website with a great soundtrack; the site promises the product will cure everything from depression, to schizophrenia, to Alzheimers. The product above is derived from "Salvia Divinorum [which] is a ... herb in the mint family native to the Sierra Mazateca region of Mexico. It is one of several vision-inducing plants employed by the Mazatec shamans over centuries as part of divination and healing rituals."

Atomic Skis (2011).

Except where indicated, the historic pictures are taken directly from the online ORAU radiation exhibition site, where you can see other historical atomic-branded products. Links to, and depiction of, formerly and presently available products on this post in no way indicates my endorsement of them.

See all my posts on nuclear topics.

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