Discovering the curious history of radioactivity in everyday life

How to throw a Radium Party (1912)

How to throw a Radium Party (1912) In the Book of Parties and Pastimes, published in 1912 and written by two women - Mary Dawson and Emma Paddock Telford - we are given an example of "A Radium Party" which, we are told, is the way that a "New York entertainer of...

Radium Fireworks

Radium Fireworks The first reference that links radium to fireworks is in 1903 with a report of a firework display at Alexandra Palace on the 19th September. This display, a benefit carried out by the firework makers' Messrs Pain & Sons, included displays such...

Liquid Sunshine and The Sunshine Dinner

Liquid Sunshine and The Sunshine Dinner In early 1904 one particular society event captured public attention all around the world helping to propel radium’s status as an emerging medical panacea as well as establishing many of the motifs that became synonymous with...

Alfred Curie and Tho Radia

Alfred Curie and Tho Radia In 1933 a new brand of radioactive cosmetics – Tho Radia – was launched in Paris with a striking poster campaign by Tony Burnand. Prominent on this poster was the name Docteur Alfred Curie who, we were told, was the originator of the formula...

Cabaret du Neant

Cabaret du Neant Although Curie-osities is primarily about radium in popular culture, I often come across references to other things that are quite closely linked to this. One of the most recent of these was a small advert in the New York Times dated 28th...

X Ray Christmas Crackers

"Science too has gone crackers. And X-rays help in this factory where half a million boxes pass through a machine which shows at a glance whether the crackers are filled or not. It’s the first such installation in the country. A foot pedal operates the rays. And there...

Radium Discovered in Norfolk Spring

Over the last one thousand years this church, St Walstan, has been the goal of pilgrims who visit to see the final resting place of the man it was named after – Walstan – and hopefully to experience the miraculous healing power of the well that stands next to it. The...